Composer with over 25 years experience specializing in jazz and orchestral arranging. Freelance trombonist and vocalist. Together you and I can make the perfect music for your project.
I am a composer and producer with over 25 years experience in orchestration and arranging. I am 50 years of age and have literally witnessed the music industry transform from analog to digital. What a change it has been. With that experience I believe I have an invaluable perspective to artists starting out today. There are so many people out there looking to create the quick hit. I can bring more to the table that will give a depth to your music and stand out from the rest. I specialize in orchestral arranging and composition as well as jazz. I am easy to work with and am a consummate perfectionist who will work until you have just what you want. I hope to work with you. Thank you. Blessings.
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Interview with Dan Heister
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I write music for Video Game developers as well as write for music scores for short film and commercials
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I am a huge jazz fan. All types of jazz. Being a trombone player I tend to lean towards latin jazz like incognito or Salsa bands.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have full production studio including midi and audio formats. I use state of the art software with Industry standard sounds like East/West Sounds and Native Instruments. I also use the latest in editing and mixing with Protools and Reason 10 as my core stations.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: It really depends on what the job is. Usually, after discussing my clients wishes and needs for the project, I will start with listening to projects the client refers to and glean from that. I will begin to model a song after those references. I never really copy the song just get the vibe and then create from that. If it is a big score I will focus on things the client describes and build from that. Once I have a working model I will begin developing the arrangement. On average on a new song the process takes about 12-15 hours.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I will always bring my best and my heart to every song I write. And I will not quit until the client is happy.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I have been classically trained and know music theory very well. Because of this I can bring ideas to modern music that are not typical. My music can be hip but have more depth because of this.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I write alot of orchestral scores for video games and short film. I also write alot of jazz because I am a jazz musician.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: I feel that pop music has a habit of becoming extremely repetitive. I always try to do something different in my writing that isn't normal. It doesn't have to be alot but something that helps keep the sound fresh. Trying different types of instruments for example. There are so many and most modern pop music only uses the same 4 or 5 instruments.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I have always wanted to work with a successful Film composer like Hans Zimmer. I would love to see a day of work in his studio.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I am versatile but I tend to lean towards orchestral and jazz combo music. Some would call it smooth jazz.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I have been a professional performing trombonist since I was a teenager. I went to college to learn composition and orchestration. After I was finished with school I started working for a large church in my home town as an orchestra director and arranger. This was where I started to develop my ability as an orchestra composer. I have been doing this for almost 30 years.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: I would take my computer, my sound system and my trombone.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: I always advise people looking to hire me to understand that you really do get what you pay for. There are alot of people out there that say they can "produce" your song for you but only know how to push buttons on a computer. Generally, if the person you are looking to hire has an offer that sounds too good to be true it is too good to be true.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: I always ask what their vision is for the project and try to really get to the heart of what they are after. More than just trying to sound like something they have heard.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I think my age (50) causes many younger people to not trust my ability to produce what they want. If they can trust me I almost always surprise them with how good a result I can produce for them.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: I get asked if I make beats alot. My answer is of course, but I can make alot more to go with that beat.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love taking an idea in my head and seeing it all the way to the finished product. It is always a thrill to hear what I only imagined before.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will always give my best and give my heart to a project I agree to work on.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I have to say I like analog because I grew up listening to the classics on vinyl. That said, digital is the world now and I roll with that. Both have their strengths.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Right now I am working on a personal album of electronic music that can be used for film scoring.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I recently scored a theme for an animated movie called "William and the Werewolf" . The client wanted a "Disney" sound to the score. I had a blast putting that together. The client was very happy with the result.