Originally from New Zealand and now based in the Los Angeles area, I compose music for a variety of projects including games, trailers, TV and film. I’m incredibly grateful to be doing something for a living that I only dreamed of when I was a young boy growing up in Auckland, New Zealand.
Some of my most recent work includes: the AAA game Madden NFL 15, the feature film The Calling starring Susan Sarandon and Donald Sutherland, and trailers for Insurgent, The Hobbit, Tomorrowland, Noah, FIFA 15 and Guardians of the Galaxy, to name a few.
Frequently Asked Questions:
– Where can I buy your music?
I have an album called ‘Genesis’ up on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, Google and BandCamp. The album has 27 tracks from trailers and films I’ve worked on.
Here are some of the links:
There’s a Audiomachine album called Magnus that has seven of my tracks on it.
PostHaste recently released a lot of my earlier tracks here.
For Canada and Europe, you can get lossless files of that album by clicking here.
– Can I use your music for free in a YouTube video?
Thanks for asking! I’m always thrilled to find out someone has taken the time to create a video featuring my music. I very much appreciate the support!
I write for quite a few different companies, and they all have their own policies on their music being used on YouTube. Most of them are cool with it, but they all now use YouTube’s ‘Content ID’ system to make a small income stream from unauthorized use.
What this means is, when you use my track, you’ll automatically get a 3rd party claim. The claim on your video is not a problem unless you want to monetize the video. To monetize, you have to contact the company who owns the music, then pay them a license fee (most trailer music companies charge a minimum of at least $1000). They will then tell AdRev to white list your video.
Monetizing is not really worth getting into unless you’re getting at least 100,000 views per video. You’re lucky to get $2 per 1000 views, and that’s only if most of the views are on YouTube, not from a video embedded in another site.
If you’re working on something you’re getting paid for, or are advertising something that could one day make money, then you need to get a license from the company that owns the music.
My solution for low/no budget productions – I recently launched a website where you can immediately download music that you can license for less than $45 per track. The albums work out to be less than $10 per track.
I even have a lot of music on there for free.
Here’s the website where you can license music for professional projects and YouTube partner accounts (and even get some for free): www.royaltyfreekings.com
You won’t find the latest trailer music I’ve done – but there is a lot of action, comedy, acoustic, jazz, dramatic and some epic music there.
Note: buying any music from iTunes / CDBaby etc. is just for listening purposes only – you’re not actually getting a license to use the music in a project.
– What software do you use?
I use Logic for most of the music I write, and for an epic trailer track there are about 80-90 virtual instrument tracks (including several different orchestral libraries, a dozen perc libraries, 3-4 choir libraries, maybe 5-10 synths depending on the genre), along with EQ, compression and reverb on most of them.
It’s not just about the software though – there’s no simple ‘epic music plug-in’ yet! You have to keep in mind that my music is also the product of years (decades) of musical training and 1000’s of tracks, each time learning something that would make the next track better.
– How do I get into writing for trailers?
High end trailer music is one of the toughest things for a composer to produce. The music is deceptively simple with relatively uncomplicated harmony and melodies. To keep it fresh and modern, a composer needs to find ways to use basic musical building blocks in a way that isn’t cliched or dated. In addition to that challenge, the level of expectation for the ‘sound’ or production value of trailer music is unmatched, you could argue that trailer music has to sound as good or better than blockbuster film music. Very little of the work that goes into producing trailer music is composition, the rest is making the music sound fresh, huge and realistic. It’s an entirely different skill set to purely writing music for live performance, involving arranging, orchestration, keyboard skills, MIDI programming, audio processing and more often that not – mixing and mastering.
Because of these high expectations, it took me about 7 years of composing full time to get to the level where I was ready to start writing music specifically for trailers.
I would suggest to a beginner composer, to set their sights a little lower for a while, as there are plenty of avenues for making money from music that are far less demanding. What’s important is that you:
– write something every day,
– finish what you start,
– and constantly compare your music and production value to similar work by established composers, to learn where you need to improve.
Writing for companies that supply music for TV shows and commercials would be a great start. Most libraries will take your music, but won’t pay upfront, while a few still do (your music has to be valuable to them though). Try to sign exclusive deals ONLY if you get upfront money. Building a residual income (royalties) is a great way to fund studio /software upgrades (which you need to do often, especially if you want to write for trailers). Having that income stream also allows you to be more picky with gigs. You’ll need about 400-600 decent tracks in a handful of well connected libraries to make a living from royalties. If you’re regularly writing for indie films where you can keep the rights to all that music, you’ll get there in 4-6 years. If you don’t have film projects, write when you don’t have to. It will pay off in the long run – your future self (and family) will thank you.
Once you think your production skills are ready for trailers, compare your music to the established guys (TSFH, Audiomachine, Immediate Music etc) and if you’re certain your stuff stands up to theirs, go for it!
– Can you listen to my track?
I’d love to, but because this request comes in a lot, I’ve started a side coaching service where you can send me a link to your music and I’ll go into great detail on the ways you can improve the track and approach composition and production moving forward. Here are the details:
Contact me through this site, send me links (preferably SoundCloud) and an email for me to send a Paypal request to.
1 track reviewed: $250
2 for $350
3 for $400
2nd round of coaching for each track just $50
I’ll take the time to listen through several times and make specific feedback on how to improve the track both musically and production-wise, and how to get it up to the standard required to be used professionally. I may be able to advise you on where to send the track as well (for licensing etc), depending on how ‘industry ready’ it is.
It’ll be more practical and useful than a lot of college courses can be.
Thanks for visiting!