Hello everyone. People kept telling me to do a proper AMA, so here goes.

I am a composer, aspiring foley artist, digital DJ, professional procrastinator and tax evader. And that's what I will put in my resume if I ever have to search for a new job. Right now I'm happy with making as much music as I can. And reading Reddit.

So yeah, ask away!

I also tweeted this if you get shifty eyed

Edit:

Okay Reddit. I've spent 4 hours and I think I answered most of your questions. I'd like to do this longer, but I definitely should go to bed. My ears are having some sort of infection and my doc wants to look at it very early in the morning tomorrow.

I love you.

Edit edith edit: Oh god. Woke up to see this hit frontpage. I thought this thread was basicay dead already. Well okay, back to answering.

Comments: 1062 • Responses: 62  • Date: 

swordbladepirate200 karma

Are the Ghast noises a recording of your voice?

C418700 karma

Not only! Cats were involved!

taco_tuesdays52 karma

How were cats involved?!

C41861 karma

Well, to make this story short, my cat has this interesting behaviour of sounding very human if you disturb him while he's sleeping. It just so happens that a microphone was next to him when he complained.

Rokxx179 karma

How do "C418" become your name?

C418227 karma

The funny thing about is is that nothing about it makes sense. But I love people making sense of it.

Apprentice5717 karma

You know, sounds like the exact rationale that Randall Munroe used for "xkcd". It was originally his username everywhere, he just wanted a short 4 character name that wasn't an acronym, and could always refer to him.

Was this a coincidence? Or did you borrow the idea?

C41810 karma

Not really. I had that username before xkcd existed.

PotshotMcLuckster139 karma

What is your favourite chord?

C418190 karma

I'm sorry to put this so stupid, but I rarely don't pick favourites in anything. I just love using the most unusual chords together. Chords alone are boring.

nfreakoss130 karma

This has been bothering since I got the CD (love it by the way /kissass), WHAT HAVE YOU DRAWN

http://i.imgur.com/kMSvL.jpg

C418160 karma

A bored looking guy with a weird hat! I also realized that I missed to write a 4. I'm stupid!

Hunter_o163 karma

I see a penis, a mangled penis.

C41869 karma

You poor soul

mondoman712128 karma

OMG HAI C418

C418172 karma

HELLO *THERE*

mondoman71263 karma

sup

mehcore60 karma

Sup

mondoman71237 karma

lul wut

C41874 karma

Yeah... what?

mondoman71274 karma

OMG ITS C418

C418106 karma

HELLO *THERE*

Jaseon120 karma

I GOT YOUR ALBUM IN THE POST AND THERE'S BLACK MARKER PEN ALL OVER IT.

C418254 karma

OH MY GOD I'M SORRY, WHO THE HELL DID THAT

mollstam104 karma

How come you are so cute?

C418158 karma

KISS ME

themarknessmonster100 karma

Where did you draw your initial inspirations for creating the music for minecraft? What were your biggest influences in composing the music? What changed for you as you finished composing tracks?

Sorry for so many questions, I just never get to ask these to an actual composer.

C418174 karma

I think the game inspired me mostly. The first songs I did for Minecraft were around the time when it still was merely a tech demo. And the only thing you were able to do was place blocks, erase them, and spawn stupidly running mobs. Those were the first three songs, calm1 to 3, is what Notch just named them. However the time when the music was finally implemented, Minecraft multiplayer was all the rage, and it was the most insanely colorful thing I've seen. And it didn't fit at all to the initial music. So after that I felt the need to wait before composing any more music. And that was around the time when Notch started working on Survival. I think then it seemed like my music started to finally fit more into the game again, and I felt confident that the type of music I initially thought of doing might not be as stupid as I made it to be. So the randomly playing music right now in the game was my thought process until that.

But actually before I even started making more music than calm1 to 3 I thought how a completely random game could have music. And I got to the obvious conclusions, dynamic music. Notch said we totally need that stuff, but it'll take tiiime. (It took more time than we thought it would be, as both Jeb and Notch are much more occupied with game design instead of audio development, but give them some rest, they do great work)

So the next songs I worked on (after the calms), were actually all 13 or 14, I'm actually not quite sure, records. They were more random and sometimes even completely upbeat. My thought process there was that if people like the music, they could actually search for them in the game. So I'd satisfy the people that want music, and those that just deactivate it.

Shit, I lost track of what I was supposed to answer.

themarknessmonster52 karma

Wow! It's great that you put some actual thought into your response! I greatly appreciate the reply.

If I could trouble you with one more question: What direction, if any, do you see your music going with respect to Minecraft in the future?

Again, thanks for the correspondence, I love the tracks thus far, and look forward to hearing more from you!

C41889 karma

I think I'll try to have the genre stay as much as I can, but I'll add a lot more on top of that. To make things short, I want the music to be as dynamic as the music is in Skyrim. The guys in Skyrim had it much easier though, as their game wasn't on a randomly created landscape.

[deleted]74 karma

You. Deadmau5. Collaborate. Release tracks.

C41841 karma

Maybe. I'm not sure. The thing is basically, he is extremely busy. Not like me saying busy, but, everytime he wakes up, he has a new thing he gets from his manager, and has to scrape every thought of eventual collaboration. It's pretty complicated.

We don't have a hard time working together. We tried it around and collaborate pretty well, mostly because we share the same DAW of preference.

akx10 karma

What DAW is that, by the way? (I'm an FL Studio guy myself.)

C41813 karma

Deadmau5 switches around a lot, but he sticks mostly to Ableton, and I'm like the biggest Ableton nerd.

k__z73 karma

Hi!

C418138 karma

Hey sweetheart. I am touching your... book.

k__z111 karma

stroke it ...gently.

C418131 karma

My fingers are getting... slippery.

[deleted]64 karma

Could you theoretically earn a living off the work you do for Mojang, or would you have to rely on other sources of income?

How old are you?

How long has music been your full-time job?

Any advice for someone wanting to get into the industry? hint

You're awesome, and rather under-appreciated =]

C418140 karma

  • My main income already is coming from Minecraft. I have a lot of fans supporting me, and this is so awesome and I have no idea how to respond to all of them and thank them for this oh my god

I wouldn't mind working for a company I'd love to work forever with though. Mojang is such a company, but they don't need in house composers.

  • Again, 22

  • By the end of December, it should be half a year, but this half year was so CRAZY with so much stuff I did besides making music, I felt like it was a year.

  • The most important part: be so persistent that you make music at least half an hour, every day. Even if nothing works. At least do something. If you start, nobody will like you. You don't have to care about this, and again, be persistent. Do it for yourself, not anyone else. Do not take anything for granted. Even if you think you might have a stable life with the earnings of your musician job, it could fade away quickly. Be persistent.

  • I love you, give me hugs.

C41861 karma

  • My main income already is coming from Minecraft. I have a lot of fans supporting me, and this is so awesome and I have no idea how to respond to all of them and thank them for this oh my god

I wouldn't mind working for a company I'd love to work forever with though. Mojang is such a company, but they don't need in house composers.

  • Again, 22

  • By the end of December, it should be half a year, but this half year was so CRAZY with so much stuff I did besides making music, I felt like it was a year.

  • The most important part: be so persistent that you make music at least half an hour, every day. Even if nothing works. At least do something. If you start, nobody will like you. You don't have to care about this, and again, be persistent. Do it for yourself, not anyone else. Do not take anything for granted. Even if you think you might have a stable life with the earnings of your musician job, it could fade away quickly. Be persistent.

  • I love you, give me hugs.

I CAN EXPLAIN THE DOUBLE POSTAGE... well I can't. Reddit had several hiccups yesterday.

Mpr1155 karma

How did you get involved with Minecraft?

C41880 karma

Trough TIGSource.

Both Notch and I were Regulars on that community, and we essentially have or had the same taste in music, and Notch one day just straight out asked me if I'd be cool with making music for this block prototype he had. I agreed!

It's much more complicated than this reads though. Like, I have been working on music for years and he had been developing games for years too as you know. We both just liked the idea of us working on it.

godly96754 karma

Can you explain track 11?

C418154 karma

What?

SunShiranui39 karma

I think he means the broken record.

C418160 karma

Broken what?

ntay52 karma

Are you working on any other projects at the moment? Is there going to be more Minecraft music in the future?

C418148 karma

Lots and lots of Minecraft music in the future. Currently, by which I mean this month, Minecraft music is on hold for the Minecraft documentary. The guys are starting to wrap up the film and I have to get cracking on giving it a proper soundtrack treatment.

I have a lot planned for Minecraft though. Like my current project on it is music for the Creative mode, of which I already "collected" like half an hour of music. I want to give that game mode something more upbeat and progressive.

Then I have plans for a lot more music in adventure mode, of the type you already know.

Then I want to make world specific music, by which I mean the Nether and the End!

And battle music!

And village music!

And... well, maybe not biome music because players don't idle long enough in specific biomes...

But cave music!

Did I mention battle music? Totally gonna do that!

epsy16 karma

Have you had a chance to try out the Ambient mod for Minecraft? Essentially it plays different ambient soundtracks depending on the setting (cliff, sea, etc); I haven't tried it myself but I have heard nothing but praise about it!

C41835 karma

I haven't, but it's essentially what we want in future versions of Minecraft. Right now the sound engine, even with mods, is just plain terrible. It crashes if you have two properly looping sound effects at the same time.

I think Mojang is currently hiring devs for this too.

Briguy987639 karma

How is the Documentary going? I remember you're doing the music to that too...

C41864 karma

I'm currently hard at work there. The 2 Player Production guys sent me a 20 minute clip last week, and I'm currently making a lot of song drafts that could fit here and there. It's happening!

Briguy987623 karma

Any sneak previews just for us :D?

C41867 karma

The only thing I can give you right now is this first concept I did. It's old though, and will probably not be like that in the real film.

ntay35 karma

Is that actually you making all those zombie/hurt Steve noises?

C41863 karma

Zombie Noises, I don't remember who that was. Someone in my family I'm sure. I think I'll remake them eventually. Steve hurt noises don't exist anymore, but it was a placeholder from freesound, put in by Notch.

Jombie14 karma

On that note, will there ever be a different noise for when Steve gets hurt from say, burning or starving? Doesn't make sense to have the bone breaking noise.

C4187 karma

Yeah, I'll add a lot more damage related stuff. Getting hit by an arrow, being burned, hitting something with a sword, stuff like that.

Ningamer34 karma

Ender dragon fight music?

C41862 karma

Right now I'm crunching on the Minecraft documentary. I will make Ender Dragon fight music, but it's not a priority at the moment.

Rokxx32 karma

You are a close friend of Joel Zimmerman?

C41852 karma

Well, we do talk about things once in a while, so I guess we are friends.

VonGod30 karma

How do you go abouts creating sound effects for Minecraft? What are the things that inspire you to make the effects, etc?

C41875 karma

First of, nothing really inspired me to make sound effects. We just had a need for sound effects and nobody doing it, so I eventually jumped in. What you can hear in Minecraft is me learning how things should sound. And the current state of Minecraft is me having learned foley, but from more than a year ago. I hope to give you a much nicer quality with a lot of good distraction sound effects in the future.

The art of Foley... is weird. I could spend a lot of time explaining how I did things.

The spider for example. It was just me researching all day if spiders even make any sound at all. And... youtube told me they screech. So I spent the rest of the day figuring how to make a screeching sound for a 100 pound creature... and for some reason I realized that the sound of a running firehose was pretty much what I needed. So I put in the sound effect of the fire hose into a sampler, and pitched it around. Voilá, screeching!

The next step, which is what you can't hear yet, is to give it unique footsteps... and I have no idea how I did it entirely, but I think there was a lot of pudding and thudding with wood sticks involved.

SunShiranui51 karma

I thought the spider sound was someone eating spaghetti. :(

C4185 karma

Haha, I could try emulating it like that!

AeroZeppelinIV27 karma

How do you think your life has changed since Minecraft became so popular?

C41855 karma

Well, I'm not going to a place I hate for a job I hate, for terrible payment. Instead I'm doing something I love, and having fans that support me for it. Huge contrast.

Haddadios26 karma

All the questions I wanted to ask are asked already, so just popped in to say You're awesome! Bought all your music so far, and waiting for more :D Keep up the good work!

C41865 karma

I love you.

meravanman26 karma

I feel like a hipster because I found you from thesixtyone.com way before Minecraft was even a thing. Do you miss that site at all? Was it really you?

C41836 karma

Hm. It had a nice concept, but eventually shot itself to death after trying too many things at the same time... I think I liked it for what it was though.

Ginsoakedboy2125 karma

Are you single handedly trying to challenge stereotypes by proving that Germans have a sense of humour? ;-)

Your English is excellent, btw. Do you feel you could have acheived your success if it wasn't?

C41861 karma

Sense of humor? I'M BEING SERIOUS HERE. DON'T LAUGH AT MY SERI... yeah. Yeah, probably.

Hmm, I like the english language because the media it provides is much more cooler than what we have in germany. And that has been my mindset since I started learning english. Eventually it has become easy to understand the language, speak in the language, think in it. Yeah, I guess my success also had to be somewhat international, so it would have been harder for one german guy to try to make a living off music.

pom2ter25 karma

will you do a Minecraft Beta album and/or a Minecraft Final album?

C41848 karma

Yes, and yes! I'm just not sure when exactly. Volume Beta probably early Q1 2012!

Ginsoakedboy2121 karma

Hi there C418!

How prescriptive was the Minecraft music project? Were you given free reign?

Was it your idea to have the music relatively sparse in the game, rather than play constantly?

You have said before you have MC sound effects and (I think) music that has been submitted but not yet used. Were you asked to do this, and have you asked Mojang why it isn't in version 1.0?

I would also like to tell you that I think the measure of your talent is how different your MC work is to the rest of your output. It proves you paid an incredible amount of attention to your source material, and you didn't just throw something together for an easy payday.

C41835 karma

  • HELLO THERE!

  • I have complete control over what gets in the game sound wise and what not.

  • Yeah, but I feel like it wasn't that much of a good idea. Eventually we want to have it a bit more like Skyrim. More slower ambientish songs, so to have more sound scapes.

  • Mojang is working hard on the game design right now. I have no problem with sound taking time. It was painful for me at the beginning of the game development, but I got accustomed to it. It's just a team of merely two people working on it, and there game is just 2 years in development. So I don't mind.

  • I love you

[deleted]20 karma

[deleted]

C41838 karma

Highly depends on what I need to do. If there's a huge amount of CD's I have to ship, I might end up doing no composition at all. What I try to do is to have at least 5 hours a day of proper creativity flow, which is hard... but it's what I love to do, so I don't really notice when I put in a lot more time.

modern_zenith18 karma

Could you please tell me what you drew on the back of my CD? I can't figure it out :3

C41867 karma

turn it 180°

T-Fro18 karma

In a parallel universe, you and Notch never even speak to each other. What would you be doing now career-wise?

C41856 karma

Music in my freetime and assembling some stupid shit for rich people.

biotron18 karma

Who did the art for your twitter avatar?

C41830 karma

A fan called Romain Salvini.

bigpoppatom17 karma

How I wish I had your CD.......

C41863 karma

The copy I'm holding in my hands right now? I'm stroking it... now... I'm... intently looking at it...

UncleRichardson17 karma

Can you count to potato? And what other projects are you working on?

C41836 karma

  • Derp
  • The Minecraft Documentary! Minecraft itself is just such a huge project, that it takes me a lot of time.

I also answered twice because of this funny 504 error.

C41831 karma

  • Derp
  • The Minecraft Documentary! Minecraft itself is just such a huge project, that it takes me a lot of time.

CannaeLoggins16 karma

Imagine shit turns bad and you need to sell all your gear for food or drugs or something. What one piece of equipment do you keep and why?

C41848 karma

My Moog Voyager because it's the most badass sounding synthesizer in the history of badass sounding synthesizers. No competition.

Copps116 karma

Was making music always a job or a hobby?

C41832 karma

It was always a hobby, and it still feels like one. It's awesome.

biotron16 karma

Who did the art for 72 minutes of fame?

C41847 karma

I did. On my iPad. Several sleep depraved nights.

nicepalpal15 karma

How did you learn to play piano?

C41835 karma

By just playing it. My mother tried to properly teach me how to properly press the keys so as to play fast eventually, and tried to tell me how to read sheet, but I thought that was boring and started playing what I want. I think that is maybe stupid for me to do because I can't read sheet at all, but at least I can express myself with melodies.

God damn you duplicates, you start to make me worried.

C41819 karma

By just playing it. My mother tried to properly teach me how to properly press the keys so as to play fast eventually, but I thought that was boring and played what I want. I think that is maybe stupid for me to do because I can't read sheet at all, but at least I can express myself with melodies.

reimburst14 karma

What's your favourite album of the year?

C41825 karma

Now you mention it, I have hardly listened to music this year...

Ironfruit9 karma

How about favourite albums of all time? Any particular favourite artists(of any genre?)

C41816 karma

Hmm, Body Riddle by Clark.

htawrew1313 karma

[deleted]

C41847 karma

SO MUCH

sargant11 karma

Foley work is something of a magical black art. Can you describe some of the process in making sound effects? Just how much experimentation is involved? How long can a single sample take to produce, from initial hunt for a sound to end of processing and cleaning up?

C41816 karma

It still is black art to me, but I slowly start to understand what things in my house can make the sound I have in my brain, but much more exaggerated. Because most game sound effects don't sound like that in real life. They are exaggerated for the brain to think they seem real enough.

I talked about making the spider sound somewhere else in this thread, but another thing that was fun to do is bone cracking.

A lot of advice for good bone cracking noises is putting lettuce in the deep fryer and then cracking it. I instead used fresh grass and recorded it as near as possible to the mic. It basically gives the same sound.

By the way, the current bone cracking in the game is too extreme, and I have lowered the amount of brutality in sound a long while ago. When Notch rushed to add as many sounds as the silly sound engine can handle, he must have misplaced the newer ones.

The entire sound is still a big WIP really.

IDome11 karma

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?

C41823 karma

I think, a superstar DJ. Well, at least I'm a composer now!

MythicVoid11 karma

Hello my good man! I have to say that your music is amazing, and that your are under appreciated.

Do you have any plans for Minecraft menu music? Several of your tracks work quite well, and for some reason, Big Giant Circles works with it amazingly.

Have you thought about DJing more than you do?

C41819 karma

Oh yes, I want about five or more random songs for the menu.

I'm not sure about DJ'ing, I definitely need to polish the way I'm doing it, but I like to do it.

raccoozie11 karma

Have you been contacted by any other game studios? Can we hear your music in any other productions? Would you like to work exclusively in video game music or branch into other mediums? If so, which ones?

C41824 karma

Yes, I have been. But I don't like their way of doing things, so nothing ever came to conclusions. I'd like to be an inhouse composer. Stability is nice.

dartdex10 karma

Is your music made via live recordings or through programs or BOTH??? Also, can you actually read music or do you just use the format that music editors use. ARE YOU GOOD AT MUSIC THEORY MY GOOD MAN?!?

C41817 karma

  • Both, depending on what I want to do. It's mostly a slow process of re-recording over and over... very boring essentially.

  • I can't read sheet and if you threaten me to kill me, I'd still be unable to

  • I think I'm good at it. But music theory is unbelievably complicated. I at least know when a note is off

SadArmordillo10 karma

If someone wanted to become a freelance composer like you, what would you say the beginning piece of equipment should be and what the most important piece of equipment is?

C41811 karma

That one is hard to answer because it's very specific for everyone. What you definitely need though, is a DAW. Which is programs like Reason, Cubase, Fruity Loops, Logic, or Ableton. If you can play the piano, a midi keyboard might be the second best equipment you should have.

TheBakedPotato6 karma

At what point in making the music for Minecraft did you realise it had the potential to be as successful as it is, and how does it feel being the guy that finishes off the experience of playing it so well? At times, the music pretty much makes Minecraft for me. /microgush

C41813 karma

I don't think about success, I think about me liking it or not. It might seem egoistic, but really, there are only two sides of this. People that do things for commerical success, and people that just love to do it.

Lederphead5 karma

When did you realize you wanted to be a musician, and what got you started.

C41812 karma

I probably wanted to be a musician all my life, just as another kid wanted to be a fire fighter. What got me started though, is my brother mentioning "Ableton Live, it's totally so easy that even IDIOTS can make music". And I totally thought I was an idiot, so I gave it a shot. And didn't stop.