Posts

HEY, REMEMBER ME?

So I know I updated this blog just a few days ago but those two short films I worked on have now launched. Peter Sapira reached out to me after having a mutual contact (from 2014!) referred me to him. He needed some audio clean-up, leveling out, mixing and mastering. The two short films he sent me were immediately engaging, entertaining and funny! Working with him was a pure blast and I’m very happy with how they turned out! Take them out for a quick spin (they’re really short) – and please note – a little bit of rough language if you have young-uns around – but nothing horrible! PG-13 or so. 😛 Enjoy!

Man, does this hit home for anyone else, or is it just me? I cannot tell you how many times, during a “conversation” with Sarah where my tiny voice says “don’t say that, don’t!” and then my dumb self says “and one more thing…” It NEVER ends well. 😛 Relationships are hilarious sometimes, right?!

We’ve all worked with someone like this. Maybe I AM someone like this. Surely not, though, right? Right? I mean, I don’t ever go on and on and on about something without an ending in sight. I mean, sure I elaborate sometimes but that’s only because I…. (voice just gets softer and softer during fade out)

Man I LOVE working in film and hope to do more of it in the future! Do you have a film that needs some music? Or sound design? Or perhaps a mix? I’m here and ready to take part! Hit me up.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

Another Anime trailer I did with FUNimation has launched – Black Clover: Season Two, Part Two Trailer. To be completely honest, all I know about this show is what I saw in this one trailer. So I don’t know a ton about it but it certainly looks interesting and I’ve heard it has quite the following! I’m always excited to get to work with FUNimation on another trailer as it always teaches me how to solve various audio issues when doing sound design or mixing and mastering. I hope you enjoy it!

THAT’S ABOUT ALL FOR NOW

It’s always fun to share film work as I don’t do it nearly as often as I’d like. Plus, I have several more things in the works that should be made public soon-ish. Also I have a few more vlogs I’m planning on shooting and airing once I can get some time to breathe. In the mean time it’s just work-work-work, wrestle with the kids, eat queso and dream about making some more BBQ. ( I recently ordered an offset smoker and I cannot wait for it to arrive.) In between all of that, my wife are slowly catching up on Parks and Recreation. What are you doing to stay busy and entertained during this strange time? I hope you’re all doing well, staying safe and getting the most you can during quarantine.

WHO AM I?

Nate Madsen is a 14 year industry vet who’s worked in games, films, taught college courses and has performed and recorded in various settings on both piano and saxophone. He’s been with SciPlay for 3+ years and has been running Madsen Studios LLC since 2005. Some of his freelance projects include SkateBird as well as providing sound design, mixing and mastering audio FUNimation anime trailers. On the weekends he likes to be very still and watch the grass grow. He’s considering taking up the bagpipes and really enjoys craft beer. There’s also the chocolate addiction. He’s currently living in Austin, TX and his is favorite color is green. He’s also trying to increase the number of push ups he can do at one time. You can get in touch with him here: https://madsenstudios.com/contact/

ANYONE GETTING CABIN FEVER YET?

Hey one and all! Time for your May update. I hope that quarantine life isn’t driving you too crazy just yet. Personally, it’s been a mixed bag of realities. I love being home more often, getting to see my kiddos during the workday and saving money on gas as well as tolls. But I also REALLY miss restaurants, going to see movies and seeing my friends. There’s definitely some cabin fever happening. But enough about Covid-19 and all of that mess. Here’s what I’ve been up to since my last update:

BUNGO STRAY DOGS: DEAD APPLE

FUNimation released another one of the trailers I worked on and I’m pretty happy with it. For this trailer I did quite a bit of sound design as well as dialog editing then mixed and mastered all of the audio you hear in the video. It was a ton of fun! You can check out the trailer here:

I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to update ya’ll more as additional trailers get posted online! Working in Anime presents an opportunity to train as well as flex different audio “muscles” as I create the sound design as well as mix and master the audio for these trailers. It’s a really fun puzzle to work through and I’m so thankful for the opportunity! Stay tuned!

TWO NEW SHORT FILMS

I also had the pleasure of mixing two short films that were really well done and, honestly, had me laughing while working on the audio. I can’t say too much about them just yet but they should be made public fairly soon. I’m really excited to see how folks react to them! One of the coolest things about these two films is that an old client and friend referred me to this new director! I worked with Wade Wofford on The Answer back in 2014. You can see read more about the film and the crew behind it here: http://www.happywasteland.com/the-answer. Getting referred is one of the highest compliments I can ever receive as an audio professional!

OTHER HAPPENINGS

I started on a new track for SkateBird and am still working on another very large project that’s also under NDA still. I also got the Final Fantasy 7 Remake and OMG it’s amazing! I’m loving it! There’s a new story that I’ll be creating music for soon. This is also another repeat client that I worked with back in 2014 as well! It seems that 2014 is reaching back and reconnecting with me these days! 😛 I also have another arrangement coming out soon-ish. The final publishing date is still somewhat fluid – but I’ll update you as soon as I’m able! I’m also staying quite busy at SciPlay, working on Monopoly Slots, Goldfish Casino and Bingo Showdown as well as helping out with our original IP slot development. We’re very lucky to be able to work remotely during Covid-19, but MAN do I miss my coworkers!

Aside from that, I’ve started learning how to play the mandolin. To date, I know exactly three chords (G, C and D) and it’s quite fun! It’s a very different sound and feel than the ukulele but it’s growing on me. I got this mandolin in 2015 and am finally getting around to learning it.

I’m also getting really into smoking ribs and brisket. My wife and I signed up for Masterclass and I’m watching Aaron Franklin’s masterclass while also reading his book. It’s fascinating to me and I cannot wait to start applying some of what I’ve learned. Do you have a favorite BBQ dish or place? Tell me!

I also posted a new vlog where I talked about how the sum out-weights the parts. And I use cookies and spaghetti as examples. Those who know even a little bit about me are not surprised at all. You can watch that video below:

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

What are you doing to keep yourself (somewhat) sane during these times? Learning any new trades or skills? Picking up any new hobbies? What shows or games are you binging? I’d love to hear! I hope that you’re staying safe and happy during these confusing days. It will get better. I have full faith in that. I’ll do my best to post an update more often. Hang in there and keep in touch!

WHO AM I?

Nate Madsen is a 14 year industry vet who’s worked in games, films, taught college courses and has performed and recorded in various settings on both piano and saxophone. He’s been with SciPlay for 3+ years and has been running Madsen Studios LLC since 2005. Some of his freelance projects include SkateBird as well as providing sound design, mixing and mastering audio FUNimation anime trailers. On the weekends he likes to be very still and watch the grass grow. He’s considering taking up the bagpipes and really enjoys craft beer. There’s also the chocolate addiction. He’s currently living in Austin, TX and his is favorite color is green. You can get in touch with him here: https://madsenstudios.com/contact/

I’M STILL ALIVE…

Hey all! I’m still alive! It’s been a good while since I’ve uploaded some new content. This is for a few reasons – waiting for things to go public so I can share them, being super busy washing my hair (now you know that one is a lie) and being slammed with freelancing. But I wanted to share with you Radiant Season 1 Part 1!
Check it out below:

It’s always so much fun to take the stems from the video editors of these trailers, add in my own sound design as well as sweeteners and then mix and master all of it into one cohesive experience. It can be quite the puzzle to solve but something I enjoy quite a bit! Plus it’s such a different workflow than most of my other work – so I’m very thankful for it! As more Anime trailers go live – I’ll be sure to share them with you all.

WHAT ELSE IS NEW?

I’ve also released two vlog episodes as well as a few jam session videos. With the freelance schedule I’ve had the last few months (more about that below), it’s been rather hard to get as many vlogs or videos out as I’d like. It’s my hope that once my plate clears a bit, I’ll be able to produce more. I’ll feature three of my recent videos below:

OTHER HAPPENINGS:

As previously mentioned, freelancing is SUPER busy right now, with just about every week night being taken up with tasks until about 11PM or even midnight. Then I get up with my kiddos starting about 6:15 or so. So while I’m thankful for the work, it’s been a grind. Skatebird is still happening and I’m also working on an arrangement of Materia Collective. There’s also a huge side project which I can’t talk about just yet. Then add in the usual batch of various Fiverr gigs and then my full time work at SciPlay. It’s been a lot. I’ve also been dieting and working out A TON more lately.

Starting to see some good results too! I’m down 16 lbs. We’re doing the Biggest Loser at SciPlay and the competition this year is FIERCE. I’m currently in 4th place of out 20 contestants. So please… refrain from shipping me donuts and pizzas until after the first week in April!

WHAT’S COMING OUT NEXT?

Unfortunately, I cannot be very specific right now due to NDAs. It’s looking like I’ll have quite a bit to share with you in the next few months or so (give or take). Trust me, I HATE waiting so it’s quite hard for me. I’ll share more as I can. I hope you’re all doing well and having a great 2020 so far. I’ll probably reach out again just to ensure you all that I am, indeed, still alive.

WHO AM I?

Nate Madsen is a 14 year industry vet who’s worked in games, films, taught college courses and has performed and recorded in various settings on both piano and saxophone. He’s been with SciPlay for 3+ years and has been running Madsen Studios LLC since 2005. Some of his freelance projects include SkateBird as well as providing sound design, mixing and mastering audio FUNimation anime trailers. On the weekends he likes to be very still and watch the grass grow. He’s considering taking up the bagpipes and really enjoys craft beer. There’s also the chocolate addiction. He’s currently living in Austin, TX and his is favorite color is green. You can get in touch with him here: https://madsenstudios.com/contact/

48 hours to make a film?!

During the summer, I took part in the 48 Hour Film Project, hosted in Austin, TX. It was a blast! For those not familiar with the festival/contest, teams are given 48 hours to create, write, film, edit and produce a short film in 48 hours. To keep things interesting, all submissions had to work in:

– a character’s name
– a prop
– a certain line of dialog

Teams also had to genres randomly assigned to them and could pick which one they wanted to use. It’s a very fun, challenging and fast pace contest! Our film, Until Death Do Us Part, was nominated for eight awards and won four of them! Here’s my favorite music cue from this project:

The whole film should be released to the public soon. Stay tuned! And if you haven’t taken part in a 48 hour film project yet, do it! It’s so much fun.

In the beginning…

Back in December 2015, I started writing music for a unique, clever and funny web-series called You Again. The musical style is a fusion of different genres and approaches including some jazz mixed with light, comical orchestral, retro video game music and even some Celtic-like elements. Over the months I’ve been writing music and revising cues for each episode. For the most part, things were good with the usual bumps and back-and-forth that any show experiences during production. Then, due to circumstances outside of our control, we found ourselves without the intro music we were planning on licensing for the show’s intro/teaser.

We needed a theme song… and FAST.

The intro is a montage of quirky, fun actions by the two leads of the show and the vibe of the music needed to be fun, energetic, humorous and engaging. The track that we were going to license was a Celtic song filled with fast violin runs, accordion, hand percussion and claps, guitars and singing… in French. It sounded awesome and fit the visuals perfectly. The director, Andrea Kile Peterson, reached out to me and let me know about the situation right away. It was the evening of July 3rd and the show was going live July 6th. We talked about possible options and then I got to work writing a theme song. Writing super fast requires knowing each “trick” or technique used will have a good pay off. There’s no time to rethink, create doubt or even experiment. You just have to get it down and make it good the first time!

The plan.

My goal was to get something to the director by the next morning to allow for any feedback and revision requests. Right off the bat, I knew creating convincing violin runs in a Celtic style would require a lot of time and effort. It’s not impossible but it would take time. I knew we had to have everything finalized by July 5th in time for the launch the following day. So the first thing I simplified was the violin part. Instead of cool, complex Celtic violin lines, which would require lots of articulations and production, I went with quick staccato violin accents. Creating a simpler violin track allowed me to split up my focus and energy across all areas of the track (the drums, the guitars, the accordion, the hand percussion, etc). I had a majority of the piece written out in about 3 hours.

The last thing you want to do is get neck deep in only one layer and ignore the rest of the song. I’ve seen this happen time and time again and it can kill your momentum as well as destroy your time management. Writing quickly is a constant balance between the macro and the micro.

Bringing in some outside help.

For the guitars, I used a mixture of live and looped guitars to help fill up the sound. My buddy, Ben Cockerham, recorded some guitar lines early July 4th morning and they sounded great. Aside from the live guitar parts, everything else was virtual. To help give the piece a sense of evolution and more energy, I had tempo ramp up slightly over the whole song. This also allowed more of the hits to match up with the visuals. Mixing in the guitars and doing a final mix pass took about an additional 2 hours.

The take away.

By creating a plan and having a defined target, I was able to deliver the finished track to the director the very next morning. She gave some good feedback, I tweaked the mix and production a bit more and then got approval. All in, the entire song took about 6-7 hours to create.

Working quickly is a rush! It’s fun and it’s a challenge. I always view it as “Am I up for this challenge?! Can I do it?!” By focusing on what I knew I could delivery quickly and avoiding what would cause major time sinks and difficulties, I was able to create a theme song literally in the last minute with little stress and have a blast while doing it. The next time you’re in a crunch mode, ask yourself how you can ensure the highest odds of success. What are your “go to” bag of tricks and methods to help get the job done super fast?

The finished product!

You can see the final result below! And go check out the series, Episode 1 is now live!

Interested in me and my work? Reach out! I’d love to work with you!

Last weekend, Madsen Studios LLC took part in the 48 Hour Film Project, here in Austin, TX. It was a blast! I wrote music for the short film called Until Death Do Us Part, which is sort of a black comedy drama. For those that don’t know, this project involves drawing a genre (we drew adventure-serial) and had to work in a certain prop, character name and line of dialog. After drawing the genre, you have 48 hours (hence the name of the festival :P) to write, film, edit and post-produce the film. It’s quite the challenge! It’s also a great deal of fun.

Since music usually comes in late at the end of the production cycle, I decided to write a bunch of music to get the editing team as much to work with as earlier as possible. This was tricky because I was writing without any visuals, since the team was still writing and then filming. The last day, Sunday, was a fury of writing for me as we decided the film had changed tone and needed a new direction musically. I always love a challenge and am, overall, very happy with how things turned out.

Check out the poster and once the film is released to the public, I’ll definitely share it! Stay tuned!

World of Pixels is a brand new song for everyone’s Friday!

It’s an ambient, peaceful, electronic track that I wrote recently for fun. It’s available for licensing currently. One thing I really enjoy about this piece is how the melody evolves each time it’s stated. It’s never repeated the same way. Either a new instrument joins in, new chords support it or the melody notes themselves change. I like using the visuals of pixels in the title because they can be both harsh, jagged and beautiful and smooth.

Using low-fi, chip-tune like sounds is a challenge as they can be really harsh around the edges. But when produced differently, they can be quite beautiful and smooth. I hope you enjoy the song!

Feel free to reach out should you have audio needs that I can meet!

Ever been on a quest for donuts? Who doesn’t love donuts?! I mean… really. Come on. And this song captures the feeling of going out and chasing the dream that is donuts. Originally written for a slot theme being produced by Beecave Games, which sadly ended up not coming out. But fear not! I was able to get official permission to share this orchestral track with you all and I sincerely hope you enjoy it!

Side note (no pun intended): My favorite part of the song is breakdown section that happens after the crescendo at 1:22. But the piece is short enough that you should really just listen to the whole thing. Several times. 😛

This track is not available for license and all rights are reserved. Reach out should you have any audio needs!

Thanks!

Bio:
Nate is an established composer/sound designer, based in Austin, TX. Aside from making various kinds of noises and music, he also teaches private lessons (saxophone and piano) and performs with live bands. On the weekends he likes to sit and watch the grass grow.

Here’s the main theme to Of Love and Sorrow, a new game being developed and published by Niels Bauer Games. Madsen Studios LLC – an Austin, TX based audio company, was hired to compose the music for the trailer and the game itself. It was really fun to write the music for a civil war, text game. For this theme I wanted to capture the grand, epic conflict while also showing some of the more tender moments of the game. In a way, this piece harkens back to Civil War epic soap operas that I saw on TV as a child in the 80’s. Check out the music and the game, once it’s made live!

Please reach out if you need original music or sound design for your next project. I’d love to help out!

Hello one and all! Last weekend I was hired by Wilkinson Films to score this charming short film called “Henry.” It was a really fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon! Check it out below and I hope you enjoy it. If you have a film or project that needs sounds, let me know! I’d love to work with you.