Arranger, Composer and more
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.
Send me a note through the contact button above.
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Interview with Megan Carnes
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: 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
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: 2 short films and a web series. I can't really say anything else about them yet!
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Not yet, but I hope I meet some!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both have their strengths. Nothing beats the sound and feel of analog, but digital allows for easier editing and customization.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I will bring something unique to your project, and it will sound even better than it did before.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love music more than anything in the world, and making my living doing it is a dream come true.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: What's your typical turnaround time and what do you charge? Those answers vary project to project.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Contrary to popular belief, composing isn't very refined. I swear at my computer a lot.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What are you looking to add to this project, and how quickly would you like me to get it done?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Shop around. Take time to find someone who you really connect with, both personally and artistically. Also, you generally get what you pay for.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Well, there wouldn't be electricity, so whatever I could build a boat out of.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: 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.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: It really varies.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Thomas Newman. I would like to try to soak up some of his talents :)
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Practicing your skills is 100% more important than owning the fanciest gear.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: 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.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Whether it calls for sad, lush strings, sparse guitar or a pounding piano line, I'm really good at capturing/enhancing emotions via music.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Nuance, emotion, originality.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: 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 :)
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: 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.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Philip Glass, Thomas Newman, Erik Satie, Ludwig van Beethoven
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: 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.