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Today we meet Steven Melin (smelin) from AudioJungle.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from, what do you do for a living?
I’m a 20-year-old music student at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, GA. I’m pursuing a B.M. in Piano Performance and will further my education studying composition in a Graduate school. I aim to become a professional film and game composer.
Which marketplaces do you belong to? What types of files do you sell?
I’m an exclusive AudioJungle artist and produce multiple genres of music, including full orchestra, film, solo piano, video game, small ensemble, and ambient works.
How did you get started? Have you had any formal training?
I started playing piano at age 7, violin at 11, voice at 14, and percussion at 18 — I continue to pursue each. I began composing at age 11 with simple piano pieces. In high school, I experimented with string-orchestral writing and eventually progressed to full symphonic works in college.
I’ve been taking piano lessons for 14 years and started composition lessons last year.
Describe your home workspace.
- Compaq Presario C700 Notebook + 20″ Acer external monitor
- Galaxy 500 GB SATA external hard drive
- Axiom 25 MIDI Controller
- Logitech Surround Sound Speaker System (4 speakers + subwoofer)
- Pro Tools 8 LE
- Finale 2010
- Pinnacle Studio Ultimate HD (for editing film)
- EWQL Symphonic Orchestra Gold
- EWQL Stormdrum 2
- EWQL Colossus (Kontakt)
- EWQL Symphonic Choirs (Kontakt)
- SampleTank 2
Describe your creative process. What steps do you normally follow to create your files?
Depending on the length and complexity of a project, composing can take an hour or three months. When composing commercial music, I am normally on a time constraint. This means I don’t have time to write parts for each instrument in Finale. Instead, I rely on my samples and take it straight to Pro Tools.
If I’m scoring a film, I edit out a scene with Pinnacle Studio, import it into Pro Tools, and start recording with orchestral samples loaded on my keyboard. I generally start by writing the main theme in the appropriate instrument, then add harmonies, and just go from there. I often use a click track to adjust tempo to match a scene—so there is a symmetrical number of measures in a section (16 bars, for example).
Video games and other mediums tend to not require such stringent methods, but simply need to represent an idea and sound good. I enjoy both processes, but each has its difficulties.
What is your advice to other authors regarding how to create a successful portfolio?
In addition to supplying quality audio, it’s imperative as an artist to market your work. Include numerous and descriptive tags on each piece. Organize your homepage to include a description of your music background, primary genres, and links to your websites. Utilize Collections to quickly and efficiently guide customers to the audio they want to buy.
What do you do to market your files?
On each music page, I include a succinct mood description and mention which customers would benefit most from the piece. I also include a link to the Collection it resides in.
What are your three favorite files, and why do you like them?
This is a serene piano solo imitating gentle water ripples. As the first piece I ever submitted to Audio Jungle, it holds a very special place in my portfolio. The gorgeous melody is very soothing and inspirational.
This is a full orchestral piece representing the intensity of battle. War drums, choir shouts, and horns are outlined in the thick, polyphonic texture. I thoroughly enjoy the epic, cinematic feel it creates. This is one of my more serious works.
This is a jovial small ensemble piece and undoubtedly the happiest piece I’ve ever written. The memorable melody makes me smile every time I hear it!
Apart from yourself, who is your favorite marketplace author, and why do you like them?
“garethcoker” is my favorite artist because his music has the same quality as professional film composers! He is an expert at making electronic samples sound like live recordings. His work is inspiring.
What do you do in your spare time?
When I’m not making music, I like to hang out with friends, camp, and play video games. These experiences often influence my inspiration for composing.