Upcoming composer for projects across all forms of media, Murph specialises in orchestral mockups and is well known locally for producing tracks quickly and efficiently. Professional quality music, for a fraction of the cost.
Murph Elyria is a composer, producer and creative currently based in Los Angeles, California. Born in Sydney, Australia, Murph has studied at Boston Conservatory, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and currently attends California Institute of the Arts, dedicated to pursuing composition for projects across all forms of media as a career. Alongside their music, they work as a writer, producer and editor on anything from film to podcasts.
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Interview with Murph Elyria
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Radium Girls, it was the first soundtrack I ever worked on, for live theatre, writing transition music and character themes. While the soundtrack is unofficial, and not written for the show for general audiences, it gave me my first opportunity to work as a composer with a director and work through spotting the show and adjusting the music for visual beats, which I had studied in theory for a while beforehand, but finally got to put into practice.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm currently working on a podcast that I'm writing, a band that I'm starting with one of my high school best friends, and my personal career and development through both self-marketing and school.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: No, but I'd love the opportunity to network and meet people on SoundBetter and learn from them.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Digital, mainly because I work with realistic sounding mockups which, unless the project calls for analog synthesizer sounds, are mainly facilitated by a digital environment.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: That the music I provide will be my best representation of what I am able to bring to any given project and that I will always give 100%, even when given additional tasks.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I get to create things to help bring other people's dreams to life. I love being part of a team and building a project to share with the rest of the world, it brings me so much joy to see when a collaboration results in widespread love and positivity.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: I don't really get questions surprisingly, mainly because the people I've worked with already have a good understanding of what I do. I'll update this if I get any questions in the future.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I don't have the ability to pull together an orchestra with no prior arrangement. No one does, that takes planning and part writing, only people with time and money can do that.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: I check if they want to do a spotting session together. If not, I ask them if they have any specific beats they want me to embellish. I also ask what time frame they are expecting me to be on, regardless of my own, and if they have any other work they didn't ask me to do but that would help them if I did.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Do your research on their background. Look at the other projects they work on, who they've worked with, what solo music they've produced. But also don't be afraid to take a chance on someone who doesn't have a large background, you might end up with the next John Williams or Hans Zimmer.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Assuming I still have power and all necessary cables, I would pick my laptop, because all my fundamental music software is on it, my keyboard, an audio interface, an SM58 and a guitar. Everything else would be for creation, and the guitar would be just for fun because you need something that is just for fun.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been marketing myself as a freelance composer for the last 2 years, but I've been studying for the last 7. I started down this path when one of my high school music professors introduced me to Ableton and using it to score tiny film clips as a class project in music. From that point onwards, I've sort out the best schooling I could get, going from music class in school to pre-college programs at San Francisco Conservatory of Music, to summer programs at Boston Conservatory and NYU Steinhardt, to now studying composition full time at CalArts Herb Alpert School of Music.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Adaptable to each project, but a consistent throughline would be that I try to make the image sound like how I hear it in my head.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I'm picking the cop-out answer, but Hans Zimmer, simply because he has spent over 40 years in the industry, and I feel like I could learn a lot from the way he works. The same could be said for any of the publicly well-known composers, but I love his work so I picked him.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: It's a small thing, but in Logic Pro X, you can trigger MIDI during the middle of a note after pausing if you go to Project Settings > MIDI > Chase and select both Notes and Sustained. It's one of those small tips that drastically increased my productivity in my workflow.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Typically I write a lot of instrumental music, particularly solo instrumental, mainly due to the fact that you don't get access to full orchestras in school, but branched out to orchestral when I was able to purchase software to facilitate that.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I have a very good ear for the smaller details, the elements of each track that 95% of people will miss.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: 7 years of formal music and music composition training. But on a more personal note, I was diagnosed with synesthesia where visual things become sounds in my mind, and I am able to translate that to the music I write.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: First I will spot the material that I am composing for, either with a director or by myself, look for the visual elements I want to embellish, then I will do a rough draft with a piano track, and orchestrate off that. The piano track sometimes gets swapped out for a basic synth, depending on the style or mood of the piece.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: My studio setup consists of my laptop, my Komplete Kontrol keyboard, my M-Audio Interface, and more plugins than regular files on my computer. I also own 2 guitars, a trombone, a french horn, a bass, and many smaller MIDI devices to facilitate different composition styles.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Harry Gregson-Williams was the person who inspired me to seek composition as a job, after growing up listening to his music in films and then getting the opportunity to meet him as a seminar. Recently, I've been inspired by Lena Raine and Disasterpiece for how they made it in the industry as independent composers.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I write original music, either based on the material or off a provided temp track. I also orchestrate and produce for others who don't have the time to do so.