Andy Tunstall is a Composer

Writing music for short films/animations and interactive media.

Ask me anything  

Drought of the Decade

Jesus Christ… I am going through the worst dry patch of my entire career at the moment.

I’m finding it difficult to write electronic music, rock music and acoustic music. I don’t know if I’m being too critical of myself or what but my mood just seems to swing all over the town during the time I’m working on projects.

My initial thoughts are that I have nothing to write for but that never really stopped me in the past. I just wrote music.

Okay, come to think of it, maybe I did always have something to write music for. When I was 15 I was in a band called “Standard Child” (for real) and I ended up writing almost all the music for it. However, I never deliberately wrote music for the band; I would just write riffs and think “Hey, this would work well with drums and bass!”

At the age of 16, the band switched around a bit and we briefly went by the name of “Three Screaming Frogs” before eventually settling on the (still cool) name - “Latin States”. From that point I wrote 100% of the music for the band and in turn my songwriting matured a fair bit. I’d really been getting into Alice in Chains which introduced a heavier rock aspect into my writing and also got me on the path to learning how to work with vocal harmonies. At the same time, I found myself playing my acoustic guitar far more than my electric and my songs flowed so much easier when playing the latter.

Not long after, the band fizzled out and I went through one of the darkest periods of my life. I’ve always struggled with putting my emotions into words and at this point it literally felt like I was being suffocated by them. One day my uncle came home with a Boss Micro-BR.

I’d always been interested in recording music. I recorded Standard Child’s first EP - “Tunnel Currency” (yeah I know) with a super low budget hardware setup and Cool Edit Pro. I was really excited when we recorded the Latin States’ EP - “EPic” (yeah I know) at a professional-ish recording studio.

My uncle let me borrow this thing for a while and I over the course of a few weeks I got a pretty good grip on how to use it. I eventually recorded an acoustic song with it… and  I can’t even remember what it’s name was. I’d always given my songs stupid names, thinking they were somehow “cool” or “artsy”; names like “Dreamstation Ex Amount III”, “Paranoise” and “Nora”.

Anyway, that doesn’t matter. The song I wrote sounded good. At least by 17 year-old me standards. I uploaded it to my MySpace account and I started to receive positive feedback from people. This spurred me on to continue writing more music and in time I began to let my emotions creep into the songs and/or the lyrics. The music eventually became a huge outlet for me and I managed to relieve myself of months and months of depression and anxiety - music became a light in all the darkness that I was feeling. I began to make more friends and these friends encouraged me to keep writing, restoring the confidence that I’d lost.

Then there was a point where I realised that I’d gotten myself out of that period. I’d actually made it through and came out better than I did going in. Over the next four or five years I learned to express myself musically and lyrically - any rough patches I was going through were eased by the fact I could at least write a song about it.

In 2010 I began getting into demoscene music, I started listening to MODs and became interested in making music via tracking (my only previous electronic music experience being in FL Studio). I learned how to use OpenMPT and in the space of a few months wrote an entire soundtrack to a non-existent SNES game, “Spikeball Island” (a deliberate ripoff of Sanic). I popped it on the internet and began to get some good feedback.

Writing all this non-serious music was so much fun that I realised that having a career in making music for interactive media would be far more realistic than being a super mega rockstar or cool acoustic singer songwriter. I started learning how to use a couple of different DAWs and got myself into writing some music for a couple of Sonic fangames (a scene that I used to hang around back when I was about 14 or 15).

After putting myself out there a little more I eventually got on board making the soundtrack for LakeFeperd’s “Sonic Before the Sequel”. I ended up choosing (or being given, I can’t remember) the water stage - something which was completely out of my comfort zone. After much pissing about, I eventually managed to get the music done - all mixed to the best of my ability at the time.

When the game was finally released everyone went crazy (or fairly crazy, I can’t remember). The soundtrack was well received and although my tracks were on one of the more finicky stages, people enjoyed them. It was amazing to see and play a game with my music in it, but also people commenting and appreciating the music that I wrote! At this point I was serious that I wanted to be one of them proper composers.

Something I regret during the process of writing for BTS was not communicating with the rest of the composers - they turned out to be some of the most talented people I’ve ever met.

After a bit of a dry patch, I made some sound effects for an iPhone game called “Dreamy Goat” by Arthur Lysenko. It was fun, though the language barrier got in the way a wee bit. Either way, got paid, bought a new guitar.

Anyway… that’s enough for today. That was fun. What was I saying again?

new on SoundCloud

Anonymous said: Big fan man :P, what software do you use to make some of your music? FL studio? Logic Pro?

thanks man! I use Reaper for everything, though I’m playing around with Ableton Live for live music.

So close.

Nearly there.

Lake extended the deadline and there are about 5-6 tracks left; the majority of them being cutscenes.

Just hold on a few more days!