Recording - July 2011 - 52

Continued from page 51 end up on cable, versus stuff that’s gonna end up on prime-time network. Will you opt for the primetime network because you know the payoff is gonna be greater and write that direction? Matt: Probably not so much now. It’s so hard to tell, though. It’s so hard to say, because eventually it’s gonna be that the person that markets the music and what their connections are that determines that. Now, of course, sometimes I may have a long time relationship with these people. But network television is mostly going be source music. So when you write source music, it’s usually a very specific style like Salsa or Blues/Rock or something like that. Then you write in that style and you try to make it really authentic, and where it’s gonna end up, that’s not up to me. So I cannot usually control that very much. John, when we were at lunch a few weeks ago, I asked you what your starting point was for composing a theme, and you told me, “I just sit down and listen to whatever is popular and kind of go through records and songs and look for ideas.” You made it sound so easy. OK, somebody calls you up and says, “We need a theme for a game show.” Do you at least start out with a category of music? John: No, I prepare myself all the time in my life for that moment when I might get a call. So when it comes, I automatically hear something based on what they tell me, and I have to be open to it. As I got older, I realized that by preparing myself this way—like almost like treating myself like a race horse. I treat myself good, you know what I mean? I try to live my life the right way and treat myself as if I was a prize

you, it’s really about understanding your own mind and understanding the process. It’s the same thing for songs. I used to think of it as something I didn’t want to see just out of my vision in the other room, almost like people gathered around a genie in a bottle or something like that—like a shiny thing over here. I know that’s there, and I hope it doesn’t go away. I hope I’ll be able to have those ideas. And as I matured and was around other composers and songwriters, I could see that I didn’t really have to reinvent the wheel. Like one guy I know gets up when it’s time to think of it—the thing, like the hook to the song—he gets up in between the speakers and just starts dancing around and it explodes out of him. And I’ve seen this many times and I thought—when I was alone—I think I’ll try that. Really. So I would get up, and now that’s what I do and I don’t care who’s around. Like the other day these people were in the studio and they were laughing at me until I came up with this great idea, you know what I mean? And I’m surprised every time, but I’m less fearful that it won’t be there now. By struggling when I was younger to come up with this method or whatever—by doing the heavy lifting—it’s like I’m not fearful that it won’t be there when I need it. It sounds like you’re giving yourself the freedom and permission to let yourself freely create, whereas, when you were younger you constrained yourself by worrying too much. Are there any constraints at this age, at your level of development and expertise, that when you get a call for a game show theme, you still have to think in some kind of box? John: Once I hear that melody, I usually make sure that I put it down somewhere. Because I don’t know how many times—if you’ve ever experienced this—I think I know that I’ll remember that, and then you just can’t remember it ever again. And even if you do, it’s not the same or something. Let’s say it was a game show theme… That’s how Family Feud was. And, again, Family Feud was something that, because I was a Rock guy, I hid for many years. I didn’t want anybody to know I was doing Family Feud . It wasn’t good, but it was good to me. But the way it was because of somebody I knew. Like he said, there’s a lot of competition… I’m getting off the question. What was the question exactly? The question was, “Now that you’ve developed this MO where you give yourself the freedom, do you still have to go, ‘OK, it’s a game show theme or…’ ” John: Then I listen to what NBC or whatever… They wanted me to do a Family Feud … They were gonna do a nighttime Family Feud , so I listened to what the nighttime things were, which were just bigger-sounding. So I did that. But I am really one that thinks that the melody is the thing. And when I would get with composers and they’d play like [he sings], and

I’d go, “That’s it? Is that it?” Because in Rock or Pop music, it’s always about all these melodies and all of that. But then I started realizing how elegant some of these themes were that people were doing. So I listened to everything at that point to put in the proper production values.

“I’m aware of what’s happening in television, what the hottest shows are. If some new kind of music comes along all of a sudden, then I’m aware of that and I’ll experiment with those types of sounds or those types of feels, absolutely.” – Matt Hirt
But it’s always based on some sort of magical thing. Like religious people would say like God is writing through me. There are all sorts of ways of viewing it, but whatever it is… Like I know somebody has a book here that says it’s in the frontal lobe or something. Or when you dance around it’s causing you to change your brain pattern and all of this stuff. Whatever it is, it’s about trusting yourself and having the courage; then, when it sounds horrible, to continue until it sounds good, that you know at some point—like when you push that one fader up or something—then there it is. Kevin, you mentioned this briefly when we had lunch together 10 days ago and I was quite astounded, frankly. I asked you if you have a certain level of auto-pilot. Do you build a library for CSI: Miami, where Horatio—I think I was joking—I asked you if you have music that plays every time he takes his glasses off every episode? Do you have music that’s for each of different characters, and basically it’s kind of like phoning it in? But, you were proud to tell me that they challenge you every year by picking a new flavor or whenever you start working on the next season—that they say, “Yeah, make it like Inception. Let’s use that as our key for this year.” That’s pretty cool. It’s cool that they’re aware enough of what’s going on around musically to ask or suggest. It’s cool that you get a new challenge every year, and it’s not just phoning in the same thing year after year. Because, even though I’m sure the money’s great and it’s great on your resume, it’s more fun to keep pushing your own personal envelope. When they ask you for stuff like Inception, how close do they want it? Or is it just a general texture? Kevin: Actually, with Inception, particularly, it’s not that close, because Inception was so huge. I mean, I actually chuckled—I love the score for Inception —but I don’t think I ever would have uttered the sentence that somebody out-thrashed Hans Zimmer. And, actually, Hans Zimmer outdid Hans Zimmer with Inception. It was like the Continued on page 55

“If you find somebody who’s a good animation composer, you respect that person, because they know their craft!” – Kevin Kiner
horse that was going to run the race and has to be ready. So when it comes, when they say, “We need this,” no matter what it is, I automatically… by preparing myself this way, I’ve realized that I always would be able to think of a melody right then and there. And it’s usually the one that they would use. At that moment it’s about having the courage—just like when you do a record or you do a mix and it sounds terrible—but if you have the courage to continue, and the courage to continue through the different levels of getting to, “there it is—it sounds great.” If you have that courage, and for me, if I’ve treated myself well and I’m open to it, then that’s it. So while it seems easy, like when I said that to
52



Recording - July 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - July 2011

Recording - July 2011
Fade In
Contents
Talkback
Fast Forward
Put Your Foot Down!
A Guitar Gear Grab Bag
Fat Guitar Tones Without The Mud
Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5017
iOS Music Tools For Guitarists
Reviewed and Revisited: BOSS RC-30 Loop Station
Reviewed and Revisited: IK Multimedia AmpliTube 3.5
Tech21 Blonde
It’s Your Music—Know Your Rights. Chapter 16: Licensing Music For Video Games
Eventide Space
Recording’s Showcase of Sounds
TC Electronic Flashback, Shaker, and Hall Of Fame
Readers’ Tapes
Advertiser Index
Fade Out
Recording - July 2011 - Recording - July 2011
Recording - July 2011 - Cover2
Recording - July 2011 - 1
Recording - July 2011 - Fade In
Recording - July 2011 - 3
Recording - July 2011 - Contents
Recording - July 2011 - 5
Recording - July 2011 - Talkback
Recording - July 2011 - 7
Recording - July 2011 - Fast Forward
Recording - July 2011 - 9
Recording - July 2011 - 10
Recording - July 2011 - 11
Recording - July 2011 - Put Your Foot Down!
Recording - July 2011 - 13
Recording - July 2011 - 14
Recording - July 2011 - 15
Recording - July 2011 - 16
Recording - July 2011 - 17
Recording - July 2011 - 18
Recording - July 2011 - 19
Recording - July 2011 - 20
Recording - July 2011 - 21
Recording - July 2011 - A Guitar Gear Grab Bag
Recording - July 2011 - 23
Recording - July 2011 - 24
Recording - July 2011 - 25
Recording - July 2011 - 26
Recording - July 2011 - 27
Recording - July 2011 - 28
Recording - July 2011 - 29
Recording - July 2011 - 30
Recording - July 2011 - 31
Recording - July 2011 - 32
Recording - July 2011 - 33
Recording - July 2011 - Fat Guitar Tones Without The Mud
Recording - July 2011 - 35
Recording - July 2011 - 36
Recording - July 2011 - 37
Recording - July 2011 - Rupert Neve Designs Portico 5017
Recording - July 2011 - 39
Recording - July 2011 - iOS Music Tools For Guitarists
Recording - July 2011 - 41
Recording - July 2011 - 42
Recording - July 2011 - 43
Recording - July 2011 - Reviewed and Revisited: BOSS RC-30 Loop Station
Recording - July 2011 - 45
Recording - July 2011 - Reviewed and Revisited: IK Multimedia AmpliTube 3.5
Recording - July 2011 - 47
Recording - July 2011 - 48
Recording - July 2011 - 49
Recording - July 2011 - Tech21 Blonde
Recording - July 2011 - 51
Recording - July 2011 - 52
Recording - July 2011 - 53
Recording - July 2011 - 54
Recording - July 2011 - 55
Recording - July 2011 - It’s Your Music—Know Your Rights. Chapter 16: Licensing Music For Video Games
Recording - July 2011 - 57
Recording - July 2011 - Eventide Space
Recording - July 2011 - 59
Recording - July 2011 - Recording’s Showcase of Sounds
Recording - July 2011 - 61
Recording - July 2011 - TC Electronic Flashback, Shaker, and Hall Of Fame
Recording - July 2011 - 63
Recording - July 2011 - Readers’ Tapes
Recording - July 2011 - Advertiser Index
Recording - July 2011 - 66
Recording - July 2011 - 67
Recording - July 2011 - 68
Recording - July 2011 - 69
Recording - July 2011 - 70
Recording - July 2011 - 71
Recording - July 2011 - Fade Out
Recording - July 2011 - Cover3
Recording - July 2011 - Cover4
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