Posts

Chain Chronicle: The Light of Haecceitas Complete Series

When I got this video to mix and produce sound design to, I was honestly blown away. The show’s art style, voice acting and music are simply superb. I felt immediately drawn into its world and wanted to know more. Quite an effective trailer – I must say! So getting to work on it was a ton of fun and provided plenty of moments to make the audio shine and impact the viewer. I hope you like the trailer!

SO…. STILL IN QUARANTINE.

Like so many, we’re still in lock down mostly. It’s strange to think I’ve not been in a date with my wife since early-March. Our kids haven’t really left the house in that time either. We’re doing okay and pushing through but it’s definitely a different lifestyle for us – as it is for so many. Ironically, this time period has been one of the busiest times for me professionally and I should have plenty of updates and announcements for ya’ll soon. Until then, mum is still the word. I’ll share as soon as I can!

I’ve not done as many vlogs as I’d like and hope to get back to that soon. In the meantime, I’ve got one final push to get a huge side project out the door, finish up a few smaller projects, continue work with SciPlay and then the last few songs for Skatebird. There have also been several new arrangements done which I’ll share once it’s made public. It’s a really exciting and tiring time! How are you handling quarantine? Have you resume a mostly normal life style or are you still in a state of flux? Getting used to it or still struggling? I’ve definitely been eating too much and not sleeping all that great. Need to exercise more too. Also I finished DARK on Netflix and LOVED it. Gotta find another great show to watch.

Sort of a short update but I was super excited to finally share this Chain Chronicle: The Light of Haecceitas Complete Series Trailer with you all! To be honest, my side in Anime has slowed down in the last few months, which is okay given how busy the other things are – but I really hope to do more of these trailer mixes in the future! (Sigh) So much of this type of work is hurry up and wait. And I hate waiting! 😛

So in the short term, here’s a recent vlog that might be helpful! Take care of yourselves and each other.

WHO AM I?

Nate Madsen is a 15 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 and the Dad jokes collection. 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/

SKATEBIRD FEATURED IN ID@XBOX SUMMER SPOTLIGHT SERIES!

Our friendly, feathered skateboarding hero is one of the games featured in the ID@Xbox Summer Spotlight Series. Megan Fox, the founder, main programmer and designer behind all things done by Glass Bottom Games, discusses the origins of Skatebird and how it came into being. Plus you can see some more of the game as well as hear some of my music. Production is still happening on the game and I’m really excited with how things are moving forward. Later in the near I’m hoping to create a subscription for folks to be able to interact with me more directly, see some of the behind-the-scenes to the creation of the music for Skatebird and even possibly hear some tracks early. There will be more details about this in the future. Follow Megan, Glass Bottom Games and me for more news on Skatebird!

OTHER HAPPENINGS…

I released another “jam” session of me playing the jazz standard “My Foolish Heart” and you can hear that here. These jam videos are super informal – I mean – just look at what I’m wearing. But they’re fun and it’s a great way to stay active on my horn. I hope to do more soon.

THROW BACK THURSDAY…. TO 2004!

While working on some other things, I found an old track I did with a collaborator online. At the time I was very active on Sony’s Acid Planet. This was an online community of musicians/producers who would share, rate and give feedback on each other’s works. Acid Planet, which was taken down a little over two years ago now, was a HUGE milestone for me. It was the first time that I was getting feedback on my work from people who had no direct ties to me. It wasn’t a girlfriend, a buddy or a family member saying “sounds good” and it wasn’t me doubting if they were just being nice or not. In short, it was the first time I considered maybe I could actually create content people wanted to hear. Maybe I could do this for a job?

I eventually met (virtually) another artist I admired named “Esoteric Poet” (I think his real name was Joel????) and he had a guitar track that I really enjoyed but it was unfinished. He wasn’t sure where to take it next so I asked if I could add some things to it. He kindly agreed so I took to adding vocals, piano and some alto saxophone. Since this piece was near the very beginning of exploration into production, there’s A LOT here that I’d do differently now. I was also a poor graduate student so the gear I had was MINIMAL. On all fronts. Sadly, I don’t have the master session anymore as that PC died ages ago. So all I have is the master audio file. The guitar track wasn’t exactly in tune so I had to work around that. It was also a sort of noisy track, which was cleaned up some.

Regardless, I think some of the blemishes on it actually serve the song well. I think it adds to some of the vibe. Maybe you agree? Maybe not! 🙂 I’m sharing because I like the piece and the arrangement. I also appreciate that the piece signifies to me: a very early collaboration with a stranger and putting myself out there for real. I had no idea those first small footsteps would lead to where I am now but I’m so very thankful! To learn more about what Acid Planet was (and see some of the reactions to the shut down announcement) go here: https://www.magix.info/us/forum/shutting-down-acidplanet-com–1206014/

You can check out that video below:

SOME NEW SLOT MUSIC

On the casino/virtual slots side – I released the Bonus Intro, Loop and Outro themes I did for Game of Life – Spinner Frenzy. I really dug working on this slot and felt that the music did a good job of capturing the fun and energetic feel of the slot and the IP. Take it out for a spin…. eh… see what I did there?

A NEW VLOG – EPISODE 40!!

And FINALLY, I did another vlog about nailing your pitch to prospective clients/employers. I think these tips are helpful and hopefully you’ll agree. Take a peek below:

MORE TO COME

There’s more to come but for now I’m still under NDA and cannot speak about them right now. But trust me, I cannot wait to share this stuff with all of you when I’m able! Covid-19 is STILL around and it’s really starting to wear me down. Doing my best to keep energy up, positive attitude and productivity happening. But being hunkered down for so long, with two small kids, can get tiring. Hope you all are staying healthy and safe. Take care of yourself!

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/

It’s been a while since my last update! I’m very excited to share with you the first episode of my new vlog, Madsen’s Musings. In this series, I’ll discuss all things audio – from music composition to production, to sound design and focus quite a bit on the human elements of being a working composer/sound designer. Wanna know how to get into the industry? Want to know how to improve your online presence? I’m also setting up interviews with other industry pros for future episodes! This is the vlog for you!

Check out episode 1 here: Madsen’s Musings – Episode 1 : Are You Hyper Critical?

I’ll be learning as I go as well! This is my first vlog series to produce and publish, so I’m sure I’ll be changing my approaches, gear and techniques as I get deeper in the process. If you have some questions or topics you’d like to have discussed, please reach out on the YT channel! Comments, feedback and thumbs up are also more than welcomed! This vlog series also showcases my newly animated Madsen Studios logo with original sound design that I put to it! I’m looking forward to making Madsen’s Musings a content rich resource that encourages and teaches others as well as myself. Come take part and let’s learn together!

This first episode deals with a topic that impacts so many of us creative types: being hyper critical of our own work! This can quickly lead down a path where our inspiration, morale and energy level suffer, which makes being creative that much harder. Check out the episode to hear more about what I have to say about this topic. And please subscribe so you don’t miss future episodes. I’ve got about 21 more videos planned out and several others already in the production or post production phases.

Want to get in touch with me directly? Want to work together? Curious what my favorite candy bar is? Get in touch!

Thanks so much!

Nate

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. He’s also quite fond of fancy beers.

In this video tutorial, I discuss how to address edit changes to the film after you’ve already begun writing music to it. While we’d all love to work to 100% locked picture edit but in many cases, that’s just not realistic. There always seems to be, at least, a few changes to the film. I chose to use the You Again web series, which I scored, as an example of using this workflow. I found it really helped and I hope it does the same for you. For more info on You Again go here: http://youagainwebseries.com/ and for more info on me and my work, go here: https://madsenstudios.com/.

Excuse the mic – I ended up using my webcam mic in this video. Even with clean up, it doesn’t sound as good as my studio mics do. Not making that mistake again! I hope you enjoy it!

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!