Hey everyone! Hitokiri Akins here! Today, I've got an interview with Miracle of Sound himself, Gavin Dunn. Many of you will known him from his most well known song, Commander Shepard, but he's done much more than just that. Gavin has had a huge impact on the music and gaming industry, having a call out to said song in Mass Effect 3. (Link to said call out here.) And like many other internet based artists, Gavin is talented in many different types of music, even though he is mostly based in rock and roll. Over the last couple of weeks, I've been in contact with Gavin and asking him questions about how he got started in the music industry.
1. First off, Gavin, I want to thank you for taking time out of your schedule to do this interview with me. I would like to say that, on behalf of all of your fans, we greatly appreciate what you are doing.
You're very welcome!
2. What inspired you to pick up your first guitar?
When I was a kid I used to put on my Iron Maiden and Guns & Roses records and jump around the room playing guitar on a tennis racket - I kind of always wanted to play guitar and be a musician. I got my first real one when I was 15, changed my life!
3. I was kind of the same way, though my musical endeavors never really panned out. Though I am curious, what are some of the artists that have influenced you the most?
Well, the above mentioned 2 bands for sure, as well as Bowie, Nine Inch Nails, U2, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel... people who tell great stories in their songs and always try different things.
4. It's always interesting to see what influenced people. You never know what to expect when you ask that question. Now, since you do all writing, singing, play all the instruments, mixing, etc...what equipment do you prefer to create your music?
I use Cubase 6 as my main recording & mixing hub, running Kontakt 5 for orchestral stuff and Ableton Live for synth programming.
5. I've seen mention that you have had problems with record companies and bands in the past, and that eventually chose to make a song that you wanted to make your way. What kind of obstacles have you had as a solo artist? What kind of troubles have you had with releasing your music exclusively on the internet?
The internet is great for independent artists. Obviously I don't have the same budget for advertising & promotion as with a label, but I keep 100% of my profits as opposed to less than 10% on a label. Piracy is a double edged sword, I like that so many people have the songs but I'd prefer if they bought it, haha. But as it stands I earn a modest living from MOS and that makes me happy.
6. Yeah, piracy IS the the worst part of the internet, but at least you've got a mature attitude about it. Anyway, out of the songs you've written under your Miracle of Sound name, which one is your personal favorite?
It changes from day to day, but Calamity, Life In Bullet Time, City Of Night are 3 I love right now.
7. Always cool to hear that, and I'd be curious to hear what your favorites would be in a few months. Now, one thing I'm curious about is that, except for your bout with Tinnitus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinnitus), you have kept to a "one or two songs per month" schedule. How do you keep up with this schedule?
It became difficult to maintain the level quality last year doing one every 2 weeks, hence switching to monthly. I tend to create better work when inspired by an idea that pops into my head, as opposed to sitting down going 'Now I must write something'. I like when the idea comes to me but it does I work like crazy to get it done. Most songs take me between 50 and 80 hours to record and mix.
8. What's it like having become an icon in the gaming community for your music?
It's wonderful. MOS keeps growing and I keep getting more lovely messages from all kinds of gamers all over the world. It makes me a very happy guy!
9. And I'm glad to be part of that, Gavin. Do you have any tips for those starting out in the music industry?
Yes - learning to take advice and criticism is important, but learning which advice and criticism to ignore is equally important ;)
10. Do you have any tips for those trying to make a living through the internet?
Not really, if I knew the secrets i'd be doing it myself! I guess just make sure to have a product that is different and original and helps set you apart from the crowd. It has to be something you're passionate about, because passion is contagious.
11. Thank you very much for your time, Gavin, and I look forward to seeing what you come up with in the future!
And there you have it; Gavin Dunn's musical inspiration and tips for new artists. Check him out at the websites below, and look forward to more from me soon!