Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Interview: Kevin Sherwood
So here it is. If you have questions for Kevin, just ask below. The Elena Interview follows the same format...and should be ready 'soon'.
1. How long have you be writing music?
Well I've been playing guitar since I was 10 but I'd say I've been writing actual music for about 10 years. Before that I was writing crap. Haha Writing music is a very strange process in which you have to balance objectivity with personal connection. I used to write small riffs but I could never turn it into song and then at some point when I was at Berklee I made the connection between melody driven harmony and harmony driven melody. Once I made this revelation I was able to take anything and have it tell me how the song should go. Letting go of the need to impose your will on the song is the hardest and most important thing you can do in songwriting.
2. What kinds of things inspire you?
I listen to lots of different kinds of music. If I were to hear samples of different songs I wouldn't prefer one over another based on genre. I instead listen for something, I don't really have a word for it, that just invokes a sense of inspiration. It could be the synergy between the drums and guitars, it could be the melody of the voice landing on a 9th in a minor key, or maybe just a breakdown after the bridge. I just know it when I hear and think to myself, "This is awesome!"
The biggest influence lately has probably been Sean Murray who did the score for World at War. I was able to make guitar arrangements out of some of the level compositions and just by studying what he was doing I realized he has a grasp of composition that is unparalleled.
3. How did you come up with the lyrics for Lullaby and what do they
Haha Well I don't want to give too much of an explanation because there are clues within the lyrics that may lead to something. I will say that it is about someone who is reflecting on life but also lamenting what has become of it.
4. How about The One?
The one lyrics are from the point of view of someone who has retained enough of their humanity to understand that they have cravings but has not retained enough to have any moral polarity concerning their actions.
5. Have you performed on stage?
Yes indeed. I haven't performed any of the call of duty songs live yet but who knows....
6. What were the most challenging aspects of creating this music?
Time frame. Hahaha Well the hardest part of any song is just starting it. You start questioning things like, "What the hell is this going to be about?", "What key am I going to write this in?" Once I had a riff or a melody the song starts taking shape. I have a tendency to question myself a little too much and get frustrated too. If I hear my own song over and over everyday I start wondering if its even good anymore. I think this happens with all song writers though.
7. Are you doing anything musically in the future?
I will always be writing, recording, and performing. I've been a musician all my life and I love it.
8. Where can I buy your album?
Good question. I'll let you know as soon as I make it.
9. You guys should come up with a band name for the zombie music!
Oh God I'm terrible at band names. I'll let Elena handle that one. Or maybe the people reading this have an idea or two.
10. Kevin do you prefer sound design or music composition?
I can't say that I prefer one over the other because they have so many similarities. You could argue that they are the same thing. They are both compositions except one is of a musical nature whereas the other is more based on frequency and placement.
11. Which song is your favorite?
Oh man I don't think I can choose. I love the minor major seveny/dorianesque flavor of Lullaby but I the sharp 11s in "The One" are great too.
12. Who are you favorite artists?
A few eclectic examples that I have found some useful musical tools from would be Meshuggah, Arc Enemy, Beethoven, Evanescence, Shostakovich, Dimmu Borgir and on and on...
I've also analyzed some really cool stuff from game composers. One in particular that blew my mind when I heard it was the sound track to an old smurfs game from the 80's haha. The composers name is Alberto Gonzalez. When I analyzed it I realized that his use of minor major 7th tonics and the dorian mode was pure genius. The compositions for the cinematics in Diablo II are also treasure troves of chromatic harmony.
13. So let me get this straight...you based one of your songs off of a Smurfs soundtrack written by a guy named Alberto Gonzales?
14. Haha..well, that must have been some album! Anyway, What kind of gear are you using to produce the music?
I'm using a custom Halo 8string Octavia, Fender P-bass, Line 6 podfarm, BFD2, and Pro-tools HD.
15. Anything else you'd like to say?
I've had a great time writing and recording these tunes and I've seen many positive responses on youtube among other sites. I wanted to thank everybody who was involved in the process of getting these songs made (Oscar Zambrano for mastering the songs, Corey Redgrift for playing the keys on Lullaby, Collin Ayers for running the tracking sessions, and Brian Tuey for making it so that I could even do this), thanks to Treyarch and Activision for letting us have some fun, and thank the fans for all the positive feedback.