Hi Reddit--Christopher Tin here. I write concert music, film scores, and video game music. In fact, I'm probably best known for a song I wrote called 'Baba Yetu', which is the theme song for the game Civilization IV. That song won me my first Grammy, and became the first ever piece of video game music to ever win that award.

I have a new album coming out today called 'The Drop That Contained the Sea', and to celebrate, I figured I'd loaf around with you lot. :) It's the sequel to my album 'Calling All Dawns', and is another world-music/classical crossover album, with performances by the Soweto Gospel Choir, Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares, Dulce Pontes, Anonymous 4, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Nominjin, Schola Cantorum, Kardes Türküler, Roopa Mahadevan, and the Angel City Chorale.

Here's my verification. My favorite color is orange. My favorite fish is salmon. My favorite sport is hockey. I like long walks on the beach. Ask Me Anything!

Comments: 947 • Responses: 98  • Date: 

Freeslugs476 karma

christopher tin, baba yetu is amazing. your style of music is revolutionary. why did you decide to write in so many different languages?

christophertin364 karma

Thanks! It actually has more to do with styles of singing than languages (although language is a part of it). I just really like the different ways that people sing. I just love the wide variety of sounds that different cultures make with their voices, from throat singing to opera. I think it's beautiful!

Freeslugs12 karma


christophertin38 karma

Maybe next time I do a concert in NY!

Curlysnail254 karma

Will you be composing any music for Civilisation- Beyond earth?

christophertin370 karma

I haven't been asked to, but I'd love to for sure.

EliQuince226 karma

What's your process when composing? Do you start off with a melody in your head, or do you play a bit and have it come to you? Do you compose straight to the staff, or do you even use a staff/lead sheet at all?

christophertin363 karma

It happens any number of different ways. Sometimes things just pop in my head, sometimes I noodle around on a piano until something comes to me. Sometimes I sit at a piano with staff paper, and sometimes I'm in front of a computer.

I don't like to do things the same way every time. You always want to be evolving as a composer, and if your creative process is exactly the same each time, then how do you expect today's work to be any different from yesterday's?

Elepvant174 karma

Although your best known song is Baba Yetu, is there another song that you have written that you think should have got more attention, or you just think is a better song?

christophertin251 karma

I think the finale of my new album, a song called 'Waloyo Yamoni', is sort of the best thing I've ever written. :)

JimDeLaHunt149 karma

Waloyo Yamoni, track #10 of The Drop That Contained the Sea, is listed as being in the "Lango" language. Sorry, I'm terribly interested in which language this is exactly. Do you mean "Lango", which is spoken in Uganda and is related to Luo but not the same language. Or, do you mean the Lango language of South Sudan)? How did you come across this text? Thanks for satiating the language geeks!

christophertin174 karma

Spoken in Uganda, yes! And I found it via an English translation, then reached out to a friend who works at the Google Nairobi office, who helped me track down a native Lango speaker.

benihanna111117 karma

Mr. Tin,

I emailed you 6 years ago when I was in highschool asking for permission to use Baba Yetu for a choral performance. You sent me an incredible email and the sheet music.

Thank you so much.

christophertin85 karma

Awesome! And you're welcome!

Jonnyc9870115 karma

I have no question here, but Baba Yetu is one of the best songs in a game of all time.

christophertin63 karma


JimDeLaHunt113 karma

Congratulations on the release! Where did you find a native speaker of Proto-Indo-European to advise you on pronunciation for the first track?

christophertin192 karma

Actually, believe it or not, Reddit. I think I hopped on to a linguistics sub after searching for Proto-Indo-European, and came across Professor Andrew Byrd's work.

rockymountainoysters64 karma

/r/linguistics is an amazing place to learn about language.

christophertin79 karma

That's where I went!

JimDeLaHunt101 karma

(Inside linguist humour: the last native speaker of Proto-Indo-European died some 4-5,000 years ago. However, the reconstruction of the language is serious and well-grounded work, and writing a song in the reconstructed language is valid.)

christophertin84 karma

I missed your joke. Well played, sir.

MrAlphaX93 karma

Hi Christopher, love your music especially your work on Civilization IV. One of my all time favorite video game composers is Nobuo Uematsu. I was wondering, are you familiar with his work and if so what do you think of him as a composer? Also, favorite pieces?

christophertin141 karma

Easy. Liberi Fatali! Conducted that one on the Video Games Live tour and absolutely loved it.

NinjaNorris11082 karma

What video games, other than games you worked with, have amazing soundtracks in your opinion?

christophertin318 karma

Katamari Damacy. Duh.

DarthBo81 karma

I can't find your music on the Google Play Store, why is that? :(

christophertin128 karma

I didn't know people used it, actually. Going to have to look into that...


How do you feel about video game music winning grammys? Do you think they should get them as often as "normal" music? I love your work btw! EDIT: Do you they EDIT 2:I love you work

christophertin138 karma

It's great if game music would win more Grammys, but I don't think the Grammys need to make any special concessions, like making their own Video Game Score category. That's unlikely to ever happen, and frankly, I'd rather see video game music just become so mainstream that on one would blink if a game score won Best Instrumental Composition, or a song written for a game won Best Country Song or something.

Hilarious username, BTW.

gandhirahman59 karma

Compared to Calling All Dawns, your new album seems pretty complex. Do you think you've grown as a composer? What was the hardest song to write on The Drop That Contained the Sea?

And what's with all the Mezzo-Soprano favoritism? Seriously, they get all the interesting harmonies and great solos. Not that I'm complaining - I'm a mezzo myself!

christophertin57 karma

I love my mezzos! :) And yes, I feel like Drop is way deeper than Calling All Dawns, especially in my instrumental writing.

bconnors1444 karma

I was one of the high school performers that sang in The Drop at Carnegie, and I was wondering, how old were you when you decided to major in music?

christophertin115 karma

I decided to do the music major when I was a sophomore. I was already taking all the classes, so I decided to declare a double major with English. I also tacked on a minor in art history. Given the fact that this was Stanford in the midst of the late-90s tech boom, and I was probably considered the least employable person on campus at the time.

diatessaron17 karma

What has the role of minor in art history been in the processes behind the Dawns and the Drop? I'd imagine it's of some use -- of course depending on whether your art history concerned itself with global or only western history...

christophertin18 karma

Very little, but maybe someday in the future I can put that minor to good use in my music!

Skeepis42 karma

Have you any advice for aspiring composers/musicians?

christophertin69 karma

Write lots and lots of music! Just keep writing, keep writing… just get the stuff out there.

Magnesium3840 karma

As someone who picked up the full score to Calling All Dawns as soon as it was available, are there plans to sell a full score to The Drop That Contained the Sea? As a music student that's doing composition, studying your work in that form was quite helpful!

I just want to say that Waloyo Yamoni is such a good song. I love the length and I've listened to it 4-5 times at work this morning alone.

christophertin37 karma

Thanks! I feel great about that one. And yes, there will be scores available to Drop too. The orchestration is way more intricate in this one.

ShinyBlueUnicorn29 karma

Hi Mr. Tin. It's great to have you here. I remember having Baba Yetu on loop back in middle school, and was one the reasons why I got into the Civ series, which is why I miss hearing the song every time I boot up Civ5. It's a beautiful song.

Have you been approached by other video game developers to compose, or would you be interested in working on a game? I would love to hear more of your work elsewhere.

christophertin54 karma

Always looking to work with game developers, as I'm a gamer myself. And I do have some more video game work coming out soon… next week it will be announced, in fact. ;)

Peter_the_Great48 karma

Hello from r/civ!

If you miss hearing Baba Yetu when you boot up Civ 5, there's actually a relatively easy process to putting it in. It's a matter of replacing the OpeningMenu_Exp.wav file in your Brave New World, Gods and Kings, or Civ 5 folder (depending on the latest expansion you have) located in C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\sid meier's civilization v\assets\DLC. If you have Civ 4, you can copy the Baba Yetu file from there, otherwise, make sure to support Mr. Tin by purchasing the Mp3 and then converting it to .wav format. If you need more help, feel free to message me (don't want to hijack this thread with a long tutorial).

Happy Civving! And thank you Mr. Tin for your beautiful theme. Grammy well-earned!

christophertin43 karma

Thanks Peter_the_Great! One of the first things I'm going to do once I get some spare time is fire up Civ IV again. It's been over two years… FAR too long.

Impe9827 karma

Hello Christopher! I'm a big fan of your work!

I have a question, though: I know Baba Yetu (probably) is your best known piece, but wich one do you think is the best?

Keep on creating amazing music!

christophertin36 karma

Probably 'Waloyo Yamoni' from my new album! I feel really good about that one.

NeoOzymandias27 karma

How do you see the relationship between video games and music maturing?

Does the video game lead the music, or vice versa?

christophertin54 karma

Video games definitely lead the music, yes! When you're writing for a game, your number one job is to make the game better through music.

MethylOrange4226 karma

So, the first album was the night-day cycle, the second one is the water cycle, so what will the third one be? The cycle of life and death? The cycle of seasons? The cycle of rise and fall of empires?

christophertin40 karma

I'm thinking about something to do with birds, or flight. Still working on the concept!

letdogsvote26 karma

So, what does a guy end up getting paid for writing a Grammy winning game score?

christophertin61 karma

The same as for writing a non-Grammy winning score. :) (Okay, maybe a bit more these days.)

DboneD22 karma

You're my favorite composer of all times. How do you decide in what language you want your songs to be in and do you write the lyrics in english first? Who was one of your favorite artists to work with? :)

christophertin40 karma

Generally, I actually track down pre-existing lyrics with some sort of cultural meaning in the language. But usually language follows the singers… if I hear a great singer that I really want to work with, then whatever language they sing in, I'll write in!

I love all my singers, and they're all amazing musicians. I think one of the most memorable sessions for me was working with the great Frederica von Stade. She was the opposite of everything you'd ever heard about opera divas. She was so warm, so kind, and humble. And an absolutely amazing singer!

sc4rr422 karma

I just love your music. Baba Yetu is such a beautiful piece, and the entire 'Calling All Dawns' is one of the most amazing albums I have ever listened to. I just love your expansive world-music approach, with the combination of languages, melodies, and ideas. (Also, the recurring oboe melody in that album is one of my favorite musical themes of all time, mostly because I play oboe.)

Anyway, to stop fanboying and get to my question... Whelp. It looks like everyone's asked all the relevant ones, so I'll just hit ya with a silly one. What is your spirit animal? Who are your influences and what would you say their spirit animals are?

christophertin30 karma

Sea otter! No, monkey. No wait… quokka?

And I'd say Ennio Morricone, Hans Zimmer and Johannes Brahms were big influences. Maybe they're quokkas too?

bconnors1420 karma

You mentioned at Carnegie Hall that you had an idea of a new piece, has there been any progress made?

christophertin26 karma

Not much… been busy trying to get the new album out there! Thanks for coming to the concert, by the way!

bconnors1420 karma

Actually, I am from Badger High School and I was an alto for The Drop. Thanks for the opportunity, pal! It was incredible!

christophertin25 karma

Thanks for being a part of it! Give my best to the rest of Badger High.

generalzee15 karma

Do you find "Work" (as in the promoting of albums, administrative stuff, and other non-songwriting activities) as a roadblock in your creative process, or do you enjoy that part as well?

christophertin22 karma

Yeah, it's definitely distracting. Some of it isn't bad though. Interacting with people at concerts and such is a lot of fun. Reddit AMAs are fun too. :)

luis2895620 karma

To what extent has your masters in humanities helped you in the composing process?

christophertin27 karma

It's helped me be a better, more aware person of all the aesthetic, historical, and cultural traditions out there. That all comes back and feeds into my composing process in one way or another.

Alerie19 karma

Will we hear again the voice of Ron Ragin in one of your works? He has an amazing voice, loved it in Baba Yetu :D

christophertin25 karma

Ron's amazing! And yes, I'd love to work with him again on something.

luis2895616 karma

Where was Iza Ngomso recorded? I LOVE how you made those violins work at the end of the piece! Beautiful!

christophertin21 karma

Abbey Road with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and then SABC Studios in Johannesburg with the Soweto Gospel Choir!

suefink15 karma

We at Angel City Chorale are thrilled that today is your CD release.... How are all the ways people can get it?

JimDeLaHunt18 karma

We who love "Drop" are thrilled that the Angel City Chorale sings so well on it!

In case Chris is too bashful, I'll link to the ChristopherTin.com store, where you can buy the CD by mail order, and MP3s, FLACs, and HD FLACs (24-bit, 96kHz sampling) for electronic delivery. (Fan tip: I expect that buying from the artist's store is the way to get the biggest share of the money back to the artist.) I see that Amazon.com has the CD on back-order. Amazon.com and iTunes have MP3s for download. I imagine local CD stores would order it as well.

christophertin14 karma

Thanks for chiming in, Jim!

Bat_turd15 karma

Does composing pay well/very well?

How much can a composer earn?

How did you get started composing?

What is your tech setup?

christophertin33 karma

If you want to get rich, stay away from the music business! It's crumbling all around. Hard question to answer, but I'd say I have a pretty comfortable, if not glamorous, life.

Tech setup: use Logic, Pro Tools, and Sibelius.

Simmerian13 karma

Your work with Stereo Alchemy is pretty different from the classical styled music you're known for. Is there another genre of music you'd like to tackle in the future or perhaps an artist you'd like to collaborate with?

christophertin29 karma

I always thought it would be fun to do an orchestral version of Skrillex's 'Bangarang'. I think I'd use a lot of bass trombone and tuba. ;)

(I'm only half kidding.)

Klowd1912 karma

I got a copy of Calling All Dawns through Humble Bundle when it was available. It was the first I had really heard of you and your music (never had the chance to play Civ IV despite having all other games in the series).

I ended up listening to your album every chance I got for a good week. Amazing stuff. Looking forward to hearing the new album when I can.

christophertin6 karma

Thanks! Hope you like the new one just as much.

StuartHardwick12 karma

I used to work with John Carmack (creator of Doom and iD Software) and was struck by the juxtaposition of laid-back, devil may care attitude, and world-class determination and brain power. I wonder if you've gotten to work with similarly interestin people in music and games?

christophertin23 karma

That's a pretty good description of your typical game industry employee: super smart, laid back, and easy to get along with. That's why I love working in games!

BMGfan12 karma

Hi Christopher,

Kind of a vague question, and a comment:

-Could you speak a bit about the concept behind "The Drop that Contained the Sea", and what feelings and moods you are trying to convey through it? I'd love to hear your thoughts and feelings, as I've only had time to listen to the album once so far today.

-I also want to say that I've been looking forward to this album since you first announced it nearly a year ago. It's wonderful, thank you. Track 3 in particular is truly awesome.

Thanks for your time :)

christophertin20 karma

All the pieces on 'The Drop That Contained the Sea' have to do with water in some way: snow, oceans, clouds, etc. And they're ordered in the way that water flows through the world: snow, mountain streams, rivers, oceans, hurricanes, rain.

And glad you like it so far!

postExistence11 karma

Who are your favorite composers in games, film, and classical music?

Also, you make game developers everywhere - designers, engineers, art, and sound alike - proud of your accomplishments. That grammy is awesome. Now if only they understood the beauty of video game composition.

christophertin17 karma

Thanks! That's nice of you to say.

Some of my favorite composers are Stravinsky, Brahms, Prokofiev, Mahler, Copland, and Thomas Ades. Film composers would include Ennio Morricone, John Williams, Elliot Goldenthal, Hans Zimmer… lots of people have had an influence on me over the years!

CaneCraft11 karma

Hi everyone.

I have been looking forward to release day ever since Chris told me he was making a new album. Why did he tell me? Because it's who he is -- a really cool guy who interacts with his fans and deals with them - us - extremely well. Back in the day, he took the time out his day to personally send me the first FOUR copies of Calling All Dawns - signed - for the price of two, simply because we had corresponded briefly.

Chris: You are completely awesome, and I'm going to continue supporting you financially because you and your music deserve it.

I don't care that you're sending me a free copy. You're still getting money.

I really cannot wait. Today is a good day.

christophertin16 karma

Steiner, jesus man, just hang on to your money! You've done enough for me already! :)

Actually, on second thought, send me your address… I'm not sure if I still have it.

(Steiner's being coy here--he did a ton of research for me in Old Norse for my song Haf Gengr Hriðum.)

magistercaesar10 karma

What were you feeling in Carnegie Hall when we all gave that standing ovation in the end? Btw, The Drop That Contained the Sea is one of the most amazing pieces I've ever heard and I walked out of that concert sad that I wouldn't be able to hear it until today. Already went through it 5 times now :)

christophertin21 karma

That was ridiculous. I was basically just running around backstage the whole time going "holy shit! Holy shit! Holy shit!" Thanks for coming to the concert. :)

ef410 karma

I always loved the Civ IV music, and then I stumbled upon the rest of Calling all Dawns through one of the Humble Bundles. It's great.

Can you name some of the inspirations from the various global musical traditions that you incorporate into your work? For example, where did you learn about Maori music, any pointers for where to start listening?

And what are you listening to lately? Who else is writing new music you like?

christophertin13 karma

Maori hakas? Go to YouTube and watch the New Zealand All Blacks, their national rugby team. That's some inspiring viewing. :)

And the new album has everything from Mongolian long song, to Portuguese fado, to African gospel, to throat singing, to Bulgarian women's choirs, to Indian Carnatic improv, to chant, to Arabic improv… it's all over the place!

Primal_Pastry8 karma


christophertin12 karma

I think I got into it when I was 16 or so. Once I got a taste, I never looked back!

CumberbatchnCats8 karma

Do you ever write songs for your wife? Any of your new songs inspired by her?

christophertin26 karma

Hon, is that you?

drwhoster8 karma

First, I just wanted to say thank you for the beautiful art you've created and shared with others. I had the pleasure of producing, directing, and conducting "Calling All Dawns" at my university and it was an absolutely life changing experience for all involved.

Second, my questions. 1. You suggested in another interview that your next album might fall around the theme of birds. Any more you could elaborate on the album (languages you hope to use, musical backgrounds, the theme, etc?) 2. For those who perform your work, what advice would you give or what is the most important thing to focus on? 3. What non-classical/world music inspirations and favorite artists do you have?

christophertin12 karma

Fantastic! Thanks for performing CAD! (Consider performing Drop too!)

I'm still working on the birds concept, but it's something to do with flight, I think. I have a few pieces sketched out, but nothing concrete yet.

For those performing my works, I think getting a rhythmic groove going is the most important thing. A lot of what I write has driving rhythms, and it really helps to feel that driving sense of pulse.

As for non-classical inspirations, this will sound strange, but Florence + the Machine's album 'Lungs' was a big inspiration for The Drop That Contained the Sea!

Mageling557 karma

Hi, I had the honor of singing in Calling All Dawns with Fairview High school last year and enjoyed it immensely. I can honestly say your music inspired me to keep going to school through chemotherapy, and I am very grateful.

On another note, how do you get transitions between songs and languages to come out so smoothly, especially the less apparent ones between "Kia Hora te Marino" and "Baba Yetu" and between "Waloyo Yamoni" and "Water Prelude" that make the albums feel cyclical?

christophertin10 karma

Nice to meet you, and thanks for being a part of last year's concert! And on a side note, so glad my music was meaningful in some way.

Musically, you just have to plan far enough in advance to know that you're going to do things like that. I wrote Waloyo Yamoni first and once I knew how it ended, I just started off the Water Prelude in the same key.

Bygrace577 karma

Thank you, Mr. Tin for your wonderful composition, "Baba Yetu". It really brought Civ 4 alive. It is a great work of art!

christophertin7 karma


flyingfences7 karma

You've said that you're a gamer. What games are your favorites?

christophertin13 karma

Red Dead Redemption, the Uncharted series, GTA V… but also, and not to sound like a homer here, but Civ IV. I've spent months of my life playing that game. Absolutely love it!

asandlady6 karma

Hi Tinman! It's Alicia dropping by to say how amazing you are and how much we are inspired by your hard work. We can't wait to hear the new album! Much love, Alicia and Chris (and Autumn and Matthew)

christophertin7 karma

Hi Alicia! Miss you guys!

Weehee946 karma

How does this make you feel? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvru5jEQSOg

christophertin9 karma

It's time to SLAM!

ardilly5 karma

Hi Chris, I don't really know your work, but I've met you a few times, several years ago now, at the traveling rings in Santa Monica. While I never really joined the ring crew, I remember being impressed when I spoke with you and you mentioned being a composer - I lived with 2 jazz studies majors while at USC so I really only started to appreciate music around then. I guess I just wanted say "hi," and see how you've been since the shoulder injury?

christophertin8 karma

Hey! I get queasy every time I think about that accident on the rings. Nowadays I play hockey, which isn't exactly safer, but at least I'm not flying through the air upside down.

the_krug5 karma

I very much appreciate the Calling All Dawns album. It's one of my most listened to albums, and I can't wait to hear more of your work.

What do you think of Austin Wintory's soundtrack for the video game Journey? I believe it was also nominated for a Grammy, though it didn't win.

christophertin8 karma

Austin's a good buddy of mine, and Journey is gorgeous!

ForbiddenTensei5 karma


christophertin9 karma

It's the lifestyle of easy money, fast cars and supermodels that keep me going. (Yeah right.)

Seriously though, it's mostly the thrill of making something new. I love a creative challenge.

prendus5 karma

Hey Christopher, I absolutely love your song Baba Yetu and Civilization IV! What was your main motivation or inspiration that got you to compose Baba Yetu?

christophertin15 karma

The Firaxis team told me the type of music they wanted really, but I did spend a lot of time making sure every note was perfect.

mmanor275 karma

I first heard Calling All Dawns on your interview on the top score podcast and it awoke something inside of me. Your music inspired me to start learning music theory and try my hand composing. I feel very passionate about music now and am really having a blast. Thank you for this great gift!

What is your best piece of advice for someone new to composing?

christophertin9 karma

Compose a ton of music! Just write and write and write. That's how you get more comfortable with the process.

luis289564 karma

The vocals on your piece Temen Oblak sound similar to a bulgarian folk song I heard a few years ago called "Kaval Sviri". Am I crazy or were you inspired by "Kaval Sviri"? If the vocals are the same, did you rerecord the vocals or sample them?

christophertin9 karma

The singers are the same! That's probably why it sounds so familiar… exact same group. But there were some Bulgarian vocal traditions that I stayed pretty close to, like the irregular meters, downward cascading vocal lines, going from minor to major. Kaval Sviri's a gorgeous tune, though… wish I had written that!

Syrindson4 karma

What do you do on your sparetime, when you're not composing? :)

P.S: Love your music, keep up the good work!

christophertin16 karma

Lately? Watch Sons of Anarchy and the NHL playoffs.

calamormine3 karma

Who do you think is gonna take the cup this year?

christophertin12 karma

Hoping the Kings. :)

Seriously though, we're looking pretty good right now, I have to say!

lordmanimani4 karma

Don't think I have any questions, except maybe whether you would be open to doing full game scores more in the future and whether your Grammy success brought you any further business in that field? Guess that did turn into a question! Anyway, wanted to say I love the new album, I love Calling All Dawns, and wish you the best of continued success!

christophertin10 karma

Yes, I'd love to do more full game scores. The Grammys have opened a few more doors for me, but mostly in the classical world, where I now write a lot of commissions for concert works. But I do love games, and look forward to continuing to work in them.

PartTimeReddit4 karma

Christopher, I have to say that Calling All Dawns is my absolute most favorite album, and I'm so excited for The Drop that Contains the Sea! Iza Ngomso is brilliant. You truly outdid yourself.

With that said, are you planning on going on tour with Tommy Tallarico and Video Games Live through Canada again soon? I missed getting your autograph!

christophertin6 karma

I might, but it just depends on my schedule. I did have a blast with that Canada tour, though!

dadarknight3 karma

What is your connection with Africa and Swahili especially on which you based Baba Yetu? what inspired you to go with the language among the myriad of tongues in that continent?

christophertin6 karma

It was actually by request of the game developers that Baba Yetu had an African feel. Swahili just happened to be a convenient language for the singers!

DracoVolans3 karma

Hi Chris! Looking forward to listening to your album on the drive home today. Hopefully I'm not too late to the AMA.

How some hockey talk in this AMA?

As a Blue Jacket fan I am getting tired of trading the Kings someone, only to see them and the team do quite well in the playoffs. I'm thinking this going to be the new strategy for the Kings. Have you made it to any playoff games yet?

christophertin5 karma

Hah. Someone was joking on HFBoards that Columbus is our farm team. I LOL'd at that.

Seriously, though, we seem to be getting the better end of these trades, although Jack Johnson isn't a bad signing either!

Haven't made any playoff games yet… been too busy with the album release!

xqorix3 karma

What do you think about 8bit music? Do you produce chiptune music? and what is your favourite bgm 8bit music.


christophertin4 karma

I don't do chiptunes myself, but occasionally have been asked to produce some 8-bit inspired game music. It's fun to do! Brings me back to my NES days...

thearbiter893 karma

Your songs seem to incorporate religious elements. What role does religion play in your life and work?

christophertin2 karma

I tend to see my music more as cultural, and religion is a big part of culture.

Victoly3 karma

Christopher, I still wake up and masterbate to baba yetu every weekend! Thank you for such inspiring music!!!

christophertin6 karma

Uh... yeah! Right on!

TKoComposer3 karma

You're one of my favorite modern composers and I've already pre-ordered your CD.

Three questions: Do you have people to help you with the lyrics, since they're in so many different languages, or is it all you?

You ordered my CD Piano Themes a while ago - what did you think about it? (:

Also, how does writing for video games/film compare to writing pieces for concert performances?

I can't wait to hear more from you!

christophertin5 karma

Hey Trevor! Your CD was great! Good work, and hope you do another. :)

And yes, I get lots of help with lyrics.

lexaquillia3 karma

Given the tremendous work you've done with the Soweto Gospel Choir, when can we expect a South African concert?

christophertin3 karma

I need to find an orchestra willing to participate, but definitely want to organize something there!

FunkyHenryGale3 karma

I saw you conduct Baba Yetu in LA awhile back, and it absolutely gave me chills. Fantastic work.

If you could compose music for the next game in any video game franchise, which would it be and why?

christophertin8 karma

I really do love the Civ franchise, so any time they want me to write for them I'm very eager to do it. But I'd certainly love to work with Naughty Dog or Rockstar on one of their games. Between Uncharted, Last of Us, Red Dead Redemption and GTA, my wife and I have wasted many hours in front of the PS3.

Celestial3mpire3 karma

Jesper kyd did amazing work on the xbox game hitman 2. It was chilling and inspired, and most importantly the themes tied in with each specific level. Do you think it's important to have conceptual artwork before creating the music to get a sense of the visual style and gameplay? The composing for halo 2 was also very well done.

christophertin3 karma

I think so, yes. Honestly, I get a lot of my inspiration from visuals. And Jesper does great work for sure!

NewsNinja1013 karma

Mr. Tin I love your work! I listen to you all the time on pandora radio and you are just awesome! I wish I had a question for you but I have zero musical talent and I just wanted to gush some. Okay I'll ask a question:

What is your favorite savory sauce?

christophertin9 karma

Does hoisin sauce count?

diatessaron2 karma

Have you concerned Finnish or Sami (native language in northern Scandinavia) as languages in the future?

christophertin4 karma

Sami yes! In fact, my Norwegian choir Schola Cantorum sent me a link to some Sami artists to check out, that I'll be looking further into.

onemoredawn2 karma

Hey, big fan of your work! As a composer working in a creative field, do you ever feel like you're not good enough? And how do you get over it?

christophertin4 karma

All the time, man! Self doubt and frustration is part of the process. :)

EarthwormPUP2 karma

I would love to put my music to film and video games. Creating a feeling with sound is awesome. Congrats on being able to do it for a living!

christophertin2 karma


LittleMissBlue2 karma

Opinion on the Ducks? Leafs? Canadiens?

... I like hockey.

Also, what's a film or video game you really wish you could have composed for, or an upcoming or hypothetical one you'd love to contribute to?

christophertin6 karma

Ducks: supposed to boo since I'm a Kings fan, but really I don't care that much. I used to put on their games when there wasn't a Kings game to watch.

Leafs: I'm so sorry.

Canadiens: congrats on taking a 2-1 series lead! Hoping for a Kings-Habs final, like a rematch of '93.

And I wish I'd scored Planet Earth!

yairmohr2 karma

Hi. I consider myself to be one of your most passionate fans. Already listened to the new album 4 times and loved it. My question is: How do you write for all those different "styles of singing", as you referred to it in your answer to Freeslugs? Do you consult with specialists from every nationality/style, or do you "learn" by listening to native music?

christophertin5 karma

Thanks Yair! I do a ton of research, and consult with a lot of people who are experts in that language/tradition. Also listen to a ton of music. But I also get a lot of help from my singers.

PaperClipCharlie2 karma

Hey Christopher. I'm a big fan, and wanted to say that I've been listening to the new album this morning and it is fantastic. Especially love track 9, the Norse one ( I think it's Norse)... Can't wait for my physical copy!

Hope to hear you score some big movies some day. Your music is exceedingly fresh!!!

christophertin5 karma

Hey thanks! And yeah… I really went to town on that one. I think the brass really enjoyed playing that.

niccamarie2 karma

Obligatory fan-squeeing: I'm so excited for your new album! Calling All Dawns is one of my favorite albums. I got it because leaving Civ IV open on the title screen to listen to Baba Yetu and also using my computer were mutually exclusive, and ended up adoring the whole thing!

Actual questions: How did you first get interested in the music of other cultures?

I'm involved with social justice work, and I've recently begun learning about the concept of cultural appropriation vs. cultural appreciation. I definitely don't really understand it yet, but I'm just curious if anyone has ever called your work appropriation, and what you think about the concept and/or how you've responded. I'm not saying I think it is (I've got too much privilege and too little appropriate perspective to make that call, if it can even be made) and I really hope you don't take this as a calling-out or accusation, I'm just really interested in the intersection of the arts and justice so I'm curious.

christophertin4 karma

Hi! No one's ever said anything like that to me before, but it may be because I'm careful with what I do, and usually wind up working with people who are authorities in the culture that I'm working with. I suppose if I were to write in all these different languages and NOT work with well known singers from those cultures, I'd be opening myself up to more criticism.

Thanks for listening!

Voltgasm2 karma

Baba Yetu is one of the best video game songs ever.. No questions here just wanted to say thanks!

christophertin2 karma


Intellectual_Lensing2 karma

Hi Mr. Tin! Thank you for doing the AMA. I just want to first thank you for composing such beautiful music - "Calling All Dawns" is my go-to album when I need to relax, and I often played Civ 4 just for "Baba Yetu" (before I knew of the full album). I will definitely be purchasing your new album, too.

Would you please be able to recommend a few other composers with similar styles to you or that you really enjoy? I love your style of music and would love to have even more to add to my collection. Thanks!

christophertin3 karma

The music I actually listen to sounds nothing like my own! My favorite album of the last five years is actually Florence + the Machine's first album, 'Lungs'. That was actually an inspiration for The Drop That Contained the Sea.

christophertin3 karma

But let me add that there are a lot of great film scores out there that incorporate world elements, like Life of Pi, The Mission, The Power of One… all favorites. Those latter two were scores that I practically grew up with!

Fruhmann2 karma

What is your go to crock pot recipe?

christophertin5 karma

My wife just snickered from the next room "You don't have one."

Yeah. I'm not a great cook.

Strategoose2 karma

I've just started writing orchestral music using MIDI, what are your thought on this style of writing, do you use it and do you think it is still a viable (using real orchestra VSTs) format to be used for music (either cinema or games)?

christophertin3 karma

I think it's a great way to get your feet wet, but writing for live orchestra is actually quite different. There are a lot of pitfalls when writing for live players that you won't run across with VSTs (like taking breaths, dealing with bowings, instrument range, etc.) But it's a great way to get started!

shadowthunder2 karma

Hi Christopher! Huge fan of all your composition work ever since I first heard Baba Yetu, and I've seen you in concert a couple times. Just wanted to say hi, and that I'd love to buy you a beer (/your beverage of choice) if I ever get the opportunity to meet you. I've heard much about you from a friend for whom you wrote a letter of recommendation a couple years back.

In that theme: what's your favorite beverage, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic?

Update: I just bought The Drop that Contained the Sea! Listening to it now. I'll consider it penance for pirating Calling All Dawns when I had no money. ><

christophertin5 karma

LOL. No worries, and thanks for buying the album.

As for drinks, I'm a sucker for flavored teas. You know, the Asian kind, with tapioca balls and other stuff. Yeah, I have the palette of a 13 year old.

Lasyaan2 karma

Don't really have a question, ust wanted to say that Baba Yetu is one of the most beautifully composed songs I have ever heard!

christophertin2 karma


Okay_sure_lets_post2 karma

Hey Mr. Tin, thanks for the AMA. I love Calling All Dawns, and will be checking out your new album posthaste.

My question: of all the non-Western vocal styles you've used in your music, which one is your most favorite?

christophertin3 karma

Gotta say that I'm a sucker for African gospel choirs. That's a sound that's just in my wheelhouse. I think all my best pieces (Baba Yetu, and the two from the new album, Iza Ngomso and Waloyo Yamoni) have all had an African influence.

invitroveritas1 karma

I hope I'm not too late for this! I only recently discovered Calling All Dawns and loved it. Mado kara mieru is probably my favourite song off the album. I'm a Japanese studies major and just had some classes on poetry from the middle ages. Thank you so much for making me feel relevant!

What was your process when writing Calling All Dawns, or really any music? Do you start with the music, how and when did you decide which language you wanted, and what texts to use?

christophertin3 karma

Boy, every song is different. Sometimes it starts with purely the music, sometimes it starts with a text. I have to say I do get help from fans, though, who often help me find texts to work with, and send me inspiration for my music.

B005HD4GG1 karma

Christopher Tin, this last school year I was a member of the BYU Men's Chorus. Assuming i remember correctly, I heard that you helped with the arrangement of the male choir version of Baba Yetu and were very gracious towards our choir and our director, Rosalind Hall. I just wanted to say thanks for being such a great dude and to keep up the amazing work!

christophertin2 karma

Hey, thanks! I hope to work with you guys again sometime in the future.

diatessaron1 karma

When you compose, what are you aiming for? I mean, do you have a concept, a group of sounds, an emotion, a musical narration, a motif or something else in your mind?

I've been listening to Iza Ngomso for a week now. I have been very much impressed by the sheer hope it fills me with. Thank you for that!

christophertin3 karma

Mostly an emotion… I like to punch for the gut, so to speak. :)

bfizzz1 karma

I know he's more "electronic" while your sound is more organic IMO. But what do you think of Tim Follin/Geoff Follin? Would you ever make music like that or them?? His work on Plok and silver surfer was great!

Love your work thanks!

christophertin4 karma

Ooh, don't know it… will have to listen!