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Gav’s ‘Tricky Questions’ Miracle Of Sound FAQ!

As a nerdy internet Z-lister, I often get asked certain tricky questions to which the answers are a bit too complicated for quick replies, so I decided that I would do a little FAQ for you guys here, to answer them all.

Apologies in advance if the tone feels a little sharper and more prickly than my usual self – a couple of these questions tend to bring that out in me, ha! I’ll also be adding more questions as they come up. Big love!

Gav

fus roh gav

 

1. Why don’t you take song requests?

This one comes up pretty much every day. The reason I don’t do requests though is simple – I don’t have the time. There are a lot of voices shouting and yours is just one of many! Any time I take out of my schedule to cater to one random person is time spent not catering to the majority of other people in my audience. I’m not your personal jukebox. So I just make what I want, when I want because I make better songs when I work that way and my audience deserves the best songs I can give them.

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2. What are your feelings on piracy?

The following is a excerpt from a message I recently wrote on the Russian MOS VK fan page, edited & expanded upon for the purpose of this FAQ:

I do not judge anyone for downloading music for free. I am not Lars Ulrich, I realise that not everyone has a lot of money and sometimes it’s hard to obtain art that you love. However… I do prefer that people buy it when they can because it means I can continue to make music as my job and not go back to scrubbing pots in hotels, working for an asshole boss in a shop or busking.

The music industry has propagated the myth that musicians are wealthy. While Jay-Z and Metallica certainly aren’t worrying about their next rent payment, most musicians are flat broke, even mid level successful ones. The ‘Musicians are rich’ myth is a big old pile of donkey poop.

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I am not wealthy and I spend sometimes 60-70 hours per week working on Miracle Of Sound. I write, perform, produce, mix, master and (try to) promote these songs all by myself. That’s 4 peoples’ jobs in the real world! It’s a full time job so it’s really nice when people appreciate the time & effort put into the work and feel it deserves to be bought – but like I said I am not judgemental to those who, for whatever reason, cannot pay. When you share my music for free, I still consider you a fan and I appreciate your interest and love for the songs I make. Just, y’know. Buy it, please, if you can? Haha.

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3. How do I get into music writing/recording/mixing/mastering etc….. What ‘program’ do you use?

There’s no concrete answer for this one as each part of the music process is an art unto itself. If you’re serious about any one of these skills, it must be learned over years with time, dedication, practice, and hard work. There is no one ‘program’ that will magically make your music sound good or make you good at recording/mixing. Music programs are simply tools, with which to ease your workflow and compliment your skills to increase audio quality.  The simplest answer I can give you is ‘Pour your entire heart, soul and self into it every day’

d'oh

You’ll also need an incredibly thick skin, the ability to put your ego in check and pay attention to criticism, a LOT of patience and the willpower to keep getting back up when you get repeatedly beaten down. It took me over a decade of working at it before I had any success in my music!

Here are some good links for beginners:

http://audio.tutsplus.com/articles/general/a-beginners-introduction-to-home-recording/

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/aug04/articles/computermastering.htm

http://www.musesmuse.com/schind.html

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4. Why have you never made a song about [insert ‘x’ game/movie/whatever here]

Because there are hundreds of thousands of games, TV shows & movies and that’s just one. Inspiration is not something that I can magically pull out of nowhere – it has to come naturally. Even when I love something, there’s no guarantee it will give me a worthwhile idea for a song. It’s important to remember that the things you like are not the center of everyone else’s universe!

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5. This song didn’t fit the game/movie/subject matter

Not a question, I know. But an intermittent comment that seems to display a sad lack of understanding of the fundamental nature of art.

I don’t always set out to mimic and reproduce the exact, dominating tone of a piece of subject matter. Sometimes I focus on a small part of a story that appealed to me, or on a tone that I interpreted from the piece which you may not have caught. Just because the song did not mirror your own narrow experience does not mean it ‘doesn’t fit the game’ – it fits MY experience of the game and the parts of it that inspired me.

Art is completely subjective and dependant on the individual therefore there is no right or wrong way to create something self expressive from that experience.

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6. Why won’t you make a song for me/my Youtube channel/my girlfriend/my boyfriend/this girl I want to woo/my 1337 sniper montage/my dog etc…. (Usually this is also people who expect you to work for free)

I have spent my entire life working my ass off to reach this level of skill in my trade & craft, facing failure after failure, living on next to nothing for years, working (as I said above) shitty jobs scrubbing pots in hotel kitchens, busking for change on the street, pouring every meager cent I had into buying music gear and every spare minute I had into getting better at what I do. I work 50-70 hour weeks almost every week to make sure I get to keep my dream job.

So what exactly makes you feel that you are entitled to use and exploit someone for their years of hard work, skills and equipment when they have never met you, don’t even know who you are and doing it for you has absolutely no benefit to them?

if youre good at something

Ask yourself, what would your response be if a random stranger asked you to do your job/profession for them, for free and with nothing to gain? You’d probably laugh out loud and say ‘fat chance, buddy’. Now imagine you’d spent your entire life learning and honing that skill and poured tens of thousands of dollars into it – that ‘fat chance’ just became dangerously obese, didn’t it.

When people then respond with ‘I thought you cared about your fans’ my immediate thought is ‘You are not a fan in this context – you are someone who wants to use me’. People have also told me ‘Well I did voluntary ‘x’ and ‘y’ stuff for free for people.’ Good for you, I’m glad you can afford to be so generous with your time – when I was unemployed I too used to spend 3 afternoons a week volunteering in a Cancer Society shop. Now however I am a busy bee and if I want to keep pleasing the other millions of people who listen to MOS then I have to decline your request.

There is a poisonous attitude in some parts of the internet that feels artists should work for free, for ‘exposure’. Sorry, but I need to eat!

Also, pro-tip – never ask a musician for a song to help you woo someone. They’ll just want to run off with the musician instead, ha!

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In case all of that was a tad too downbeat and negative, here’s a nice picture of a kitten to bleach your brain:

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20 Responses to “Gav’s ‘Tricky Questions’ Miracle Of Sound FAQ!”

  1. Christian Says:

    I actually found that a good bit less prickly than you used to get in Encore sometimes. Which I still miss dearly, by the way. Anyway, I hope you get to keep on doing what you do for a very long time.

    For full disclosure, I do pass on your music to my brother quite regularly, but I try and keep my MoS bandcamp collection up to date, so I hope that evens it out a bit.

  2. Capnpaddy Says:

    Where is the best place for you for us to consume your music from (Ie escapist, youtube ect) and where is the best place to purchase it?

  3. gavdunne Says:

    Capnpaddy, Bandcamp is the best, as it’s PWYW and I get the largest percentage. Thanks for the support! :)

  4. Tenatarafoo Says:

    Quick question: Is there any way to donate money to you directly? I normally buy your songs over iTunes (though apperently will switch over to Bandcamp now ; P ) and 0.99,- feels really cheap, especially because you don’t even get all of that.

  5. gavdunne Says:

    Tenatarafoo – you can pay whatever price you feel the songs/albums are worth on bandcamp :) I don’t accept straight donations as I feel weird taking money for nothing at all in return! Thank you for supporting :)

  6. dakkagor Says:

    I always find it bizarre when people think they can get something out of someone (especially someone with incredible talent) for nothing. Heads up people, that talent took time and money to cultivate!

    On a more serious note, do you do paid commissions? I’ve noted you’ve done videos for a few youtube channels, is that commission work or inspired like the videos we see on the escapist?

    Rock on and screw the haters mate!

  7. Vivek Says:

    Dear Gav,

    Here’s one you could probably write an entire essay about.

    What, in your opinion, is the single most destructive and counter-intuitive attitude in the music industry that consumers of music seemingly don’t know enough about and why do you think it’s so bad for the medium?

    Cheers! :)

    – Vivek

  8. Matt Says:

    What if someone offers you a deal for a movie/videogame (etc.) soundtrack? Would you consider that a request or business? And let’s say the deal, instead of being payed *right away* you receive a small down payment and a large cut of profits?

  9. Xombi Says:

    I just wanted to say I love your music and how much heart and soul you put into each song. I bought your first two albums, more then what I would give for a mass market album at the store, because I really enjoy what you make and I share it with whoever I can so they can listen and purchase you’ren music as well. Keep up the good work!

  10. Padgerman Says:

    I actually have to force myself not to buy all your singles because otherwise the album will be less amazing! You are by far my favorite artist, and there are pretty much only 5-6 artists I listen to anyway. Keep doing amazing!

    Also, I think I did pirate Commander Shepard once before I got money, and now I own all your albums and about a half of your Level IV singles

  11. Idolores Says:

    Adopting a little girl and subsequently having my own child has left bills dry, but I often recommend MoS to every person I meet that likes music as passionately as I do. When my bills start to leave my wallet alone, Press X to Rock is the first thing I’m indulging in, I guarantee.

    Some random thoughts.

    New Black Gold is beautiful. Shadows in the Moonlight is incredibly moving. I ignored Santiago’s Lament for so long because I don’t care for Gears of War, but it’s now a favorite.

    Your collaboration with Malukah on Legends of the Frost was the stuff of dreams, and I hope for more collaborations in the future from other video game musicians. Mega Ran, Kate Covington, Smooth McGroove?

  12. Jared Kelly Says:

    Keep up the great work :) I bought your 3rd album after it came out and I am buying the other 2 as I am typing this, I love your music no matter what game/movie/TV show it is for. It always turns out great. Keep up the great music :) You’ll always be getting my business :)

  13. mai Says:

    To be fair, the one song I got from you for free was because you gave it to me! Haha, that was a while ago, when you did the guessing thing for Brothers of the Creed. It’s not my favorite song, but it’s definitely the most listened to, simply because I feel super awesome that you gave it to me for free. :’D

    Although, since it was on album, I did end up buying it.. so I guess I have two copies of it! Keep being awesome, though. I have no problem giving to you the little bit of money I do have to myself because you truly deserve it.

  14. Snat Says:

    Just wanted to say that I totally agree with what you said – I´m one of those who still have to answer to a boss instead of doing what they love^^ Anyway, your music is a great inspiration for me and my work, so please keep up the great work. How´s the song again? “Thank you for the music” :)

    My collections complete and paid 😀

  15. Mirek Says:

    Hi, I bought few songs via Bandcamp. This money goes directly to your pocket right? I completely share your point about sharing :) and best way to tackle it is to cut down middle man.
    Cheers Gav

    PS: without kitty 5 would be indeed a bit pricky answer 😉 (thou I agree with points and logic behind it)

  16. Aaron Says:

    Well – first of all the kitten was adorable! 😀

    I really liked the part about piracy. I used to download songs for free, but a while ago I decided to rather actually buy the stuff, mainly because I like to have the actual CD to put into my shelf just for braggin’, also to support the musicians I like of course (who mostly aren’t that mainstream and certainly aren’t rich) 😀

    Btw Gav, did you ever think of releasing one of your albums as a cd? I’ve been buying the Level albums and burning them on blanks, but that just doesn’t look as good 😀

    Anyway, really looking forward to Level 4! Keep on rockin.

  17. Lynn Says:

    Congratulations for every effort you’ve made!! It was certainly worth it!

    Looking forward to level 4

  18. Russell Says:

    Which website should I buy your music from? Which website do you get the best cut out of?

  19. Grimfox Says:

    Hey Gav, what’s your stance on someone using snippets of your songs in a video (ie using Mining All Day Long at the beginning or end of a Minecraft video) if they purchase it, credit it, and link to your bandcamp? o:

  20. Ruaru Says:

    Have you ever considered releasing your music as instrumentals? I think it would be awesome for karaoke.

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