I am an Austin, TX based music nerd. Mostly I do film and game scores, but lately I've also been working with fellow musicians doing string and orchestral arranging, MIDI programming and cleanup, and playing violin and piano on tracks. I also specialize in geeking out about Beethoven, Erik Satie, Thomas Newman and Philip Glass for hours on end!

ARRANGING- string, brass, woodwinds, full orchestral, ethnic, piano, and others. I can add parts to an existing song or make a completely new version of your song. I can either provide the parts myself using 100% real sounding, professional-grade renderings from the EastWest instrument library, or I can make sheet music that you can pass along to real players.

COMPOSING- original custom pieces for film, game or other multimedia, to have an instrumental to sing over, or just to have custom music. Theme song, anyone? Like arranging, I can either produce using EastWest instruments or provide sheet music. I do all genres but specialize mostly in classical, electronic, folk, and hybrids of the three.

MIDI- cleanup, editing, transcribing. Can deliver MIDI files and/or sheet music.

VIOLIN/PIANO- will play violin and/or piano on your piece. Can record myself using my professional home setup or, for an extra cost, be recorded in a studio. Can write a part or play a pre-written part.

My credits include

Gear highlights

  • Logic Studio
  • EastWest Libraries
  • Shure KSM313
  • Customized Romanian Violin

Genres I specialize in

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Interview with Megan Carnes

Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
I was the composer for a short film called The Video Dating Tape of Desmondo Ray. It went on to get nominated for an Australian Academy award, make its way to a ridiculous amount of film festivals including SXSW, and be featured on Vimeo. I was proud to be part of such a wonderful, quirky little film. Please watch it, if you can: https://vimeo.com/72397074
What are you working on at the moment?
2 short films and a web series. I can't really say anything else about them yet!
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
Not yet, but I hope I meet some!
Analog or digital and why?
Both have their strengths. Nothing beats the sound and feel of analog, but digital allows for easier editing and customization.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
I will bring something unique to your project, and it will sound even better than it did before.
What do you like most about your job?
I love music more than anything in the world, and making my living doing it is a dream come true.
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
What's your typical turnaround time and what do you charge? Those answers vary project to project.
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
Contrary to popular belief, composing isn't very refined. I swear at my computer a lot.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
What are you looking to add to this project, and how quickly would you like me to get it done?
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
Shop around. Take time to find someone who you really connect with, both personally and artistically. Also, you generally get what you pay for.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
Well, there wouldn't be electricity, so whatever I could build a boat out of.
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
Here's the short-ish version: Age 8: started playing violin Age 11: started playing piano Age 13: started composing my own pieces Age 15: decided to pursue film composing Ages 18-21 : Went to Loyola University Chicago. Majored in music and minored in film. Started doing film composing and string arrangement for fellow students. Ages 21-23: Graduated college. Worked soul-sucking day jobs while still doing composing/arranging/other music gigs on the side. Age 24: Stopped working horrible day jobs. Taught violin, piano, music theory, composition, and arrangement lessons. Still did composing and arranging gigs. Age 25-present: Moved to Austin, Texas. I am now doing composing, arranging, MIDI, etc. full time.
How would you describe your style?
It really varies.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
Thomas Newman. I would like to try to soak up some of his talents :)
Can you share one music production tip?
Practicing your skills is 100% more important than owning the fanciest gear.
What type of music do you usually work on?
It varies. I've done string arrangement for Irish drinking songs and Joanna Newsom-esque singer songwriters. I've done piano and 8-bit arrangements of existing songs. I've composed classical, folk, electronic, ambient, and several types of film scores.
What's your strongest skill?
Whether it calls for sad, lush strings, sparse guitar or a pounding piano line, I'm really good at capturing/enhancing emotions via music.
What do you bring to a song?
Nuance, emotion, originality.
What's your typical work process?
Honestly, it really varies from project to project. But it always involves creating a shared Google doc where the client and I can share notes. We each get to pick a font color so we can tell who wrote what :)
Tell us about your studio setup.
I use Logic Studio and EastWest Libraries on a Mac. I have KRK Monitors and an 88 key fully weighted Yamaha keyboard. For recording, I run a Shure KSM313/NE into a Focusrite Saffire interface.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
Philip Glass, Thomas Newman, Erik Satie, Ludwig van Beethoven
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
Custom scores for films, string and orchestral arranging for rock/pop/folk artists, and the tedious MIDI things that many musicians don't have time to do themselves.