Sean Beeson (2011)
Rivendell / Lilu: Hello Sean, thanks again for letting Radio Rivendell interview you. Congratulations on the RR Award for Best Song by Independent Composer for your piece, "Scourge of Amon". I am sure a lot has happened since 2007 and it will be interesting to hear what you have been up to!
Besides composing video game soundtracks, including Disney’s MMO Pixie Hollow, Big Fish Games’ Hidden Expedition: Amazon, Assault Heroes 2 for the 360, and Planet Busters to name but a few, you have also written music for films which received great acclaim (Fused, Just One Thing, Emelia). Has this opened new opportunities for you, and would you like to do more with movie and TV soundtracks?
Sean Beeson: Since having worked on those titles I have actually moved more into scoring games. While I do enjoy scoring films and would jump at the chance to work on a TV series, I love working on games even more. With the advent of mobile gaming, meeting developers from around the globe has never been easier, and it has allowed me to expand my voice as a composer even more.
R: Which other projects have you been working on since we last spoke to you?
S: In the world of games I have been doing a lot of iDevice titles (such as Mecho Wars and Steampirates) as well as some other titles for the Wii, 360, PS3, and PSP that unfortunately haven't been announced yet.
Outside of game scores, I co-composed a Snare Drum Concerto with Adam Lochstampfor, Stefan Podell, and Brenton Dunnington (Prometheus Rapture: Seven Legends for Snare Drum) which is being played around the globe by Dame Evelyn Glennie and Jeff Queen. In addition to Prometheus Rapture I recently completed another concert work for marimba and piano with Podell and Dunnington that recently premiered in Japan at a few recitals.
I have a few other things in the works, but some of those projects are extending into late 2012 and even 2013 so it is probably a bit too early to talk about them yet! With game music, I can get a call and complete a score within a month. With concert music, they are planning events sometimes 18 months in advance, so it is a different world so to speak.
R: As a graduate from Capital University in 2007 with a Bachelor's of Music in Composition, I’ve read you now serve as an adjunct professor at the Conservatory of Music for your alma mater located in Columbus, Ohio. It must be rewarding teaching and inspiring young composers, more so when they can gain insight and advice from someone who is successful in the industry. Can you tell us a bit about this work?
S: Absolutely. I was hired back to teach electronic composition two years after I graduated and since that time have over one hundred students in my course. A lot of the students enrolled in the course aren't studying to become composers, but still take away valuable production techniques and strategies to approaching music production.
R: In your earlier interview for us you told us how you started playing piano and snare drum from an early age, but have since retired as a percussionist. Have you been working with any other instruments or new technology recently?
S: A breathe controller! It aides the composer in creating dynamic music, and allows me to be incredibly economical. I am then programming all of my software to react in a particular manner to my breathe controller. It in itself has become an instrument!
R: Your tracks pop up a lot on the RR player, and having had a listen to the songs on your website (http://seanbeeson.com/) they certainly grab the listener’s attention. Is this something that is difficult to pull off or do you find it comes naturally to you?
S: I think a lot of it is simply a byproduct of me wanting to hear music that is catchy and entertaining. A lot of game music that I am hired to write can't be that direct, as it has to be functional in the game. However I always try to insert my 'voice' as a composer, that way regardless of how the music turns out, I still feel I have a part of myself invested in it.
R: You mentioned in your last interview you’d secretly love to write orchestral pieces for Dimmu Borgir. Hearing the bombastic style you have I can see how this would work! Have you been able to do any collaborations with any bands since 2007 or would you consider creating your own project in that genre?
S: I think what I love about hardcore/death metal music is the sense of intensity it brings. While I haven't worked with any bands, I feel that I have incorporated some of those elements into my music, either through driving beats, thumping bass, or riffing string lines!
R: I’ve read that you are interested in parapsychology and cryptozoology. Have you ever used these themes in your compositions?
S: Sometimes I like to think of mythical creatures and other unworldly things while I write music. It can put me in a state of mind that carries over into my writing. It usually ends up being ethereal, mysterious, and a bit paranoid haha
R: You’ve composed a track called Ar Pee Gee. Love what you did there! Are you into roleplaying games, and if so, which ones?
S: Haha. That track is actually comprised of themes I wrote from a REALLY old piece that was inspired by a campaign I made up for DnD. Where I lived growing up, no one really was into roleplaying games, so even though I owned all of the DM DnD Books (which I read all the time) I couldn't ever find anyone to play with me. So instead I just created worlds and characters for my own enjoyment.
R: You are the creator of the commercially successful libraries TAIKO and Action Drums: Taiko Edition, both published by Nine-Volt Audio available for purchase worldwide. Were these a challenge to put together, and what inspired you to produce them originally?
S: I was originally inspired to create these libraries from playing the game Red Steel for the Nintendo Wii. Recording them wasn't incredibly difficult. However editing the samples (which I did by hand) took about 8 months of on and off work. I could do the same thing now in an afternoon. If only I knew then, what I know now!
R: And now it’s time for the obligatory silly question. I apologise in advance for this! There’s a certain processed meat product that gets a lot of debate on the Radio Rivendell forums. Are you a fan of Spam?
No question is silly :-P Spam, email spam? Or Spam, ham in a can spam? I dislike the former, and love the latter, especially when it is fried in a pan so that the outsides of it caramelize!
R: Finally, if you could be a character in any fantasy or science fiction setting, what would you be, and why?
S: Alice from Alice in Wonderland, hands down! Not so much as to be Alice, but just to experience what she experienced!
Official site: http://seanbeeson.com
Dedicated track "Heart of Rivendell"