Name: Casey Cameron
Hometown: Oakland, CA
Speciality/Style: Jazz & Funk
Tools of Choice: Logic, Reason
Years Producing Music & Audio pre-Pyramind: 7
1. Describe the style of music you write, produce, and sing. What inspires you?
Along with jazz, blues, and funk, I compose in many different styles from underground or avant-garde hip-hop, sample-based orchestral music, rock, metal, world music, and fusions of all the above.
As for inspiration, the most inventive yet profoundly simple pieces of art, literature, and music resonate with me. Consequently, much of my favorite music is mellow yet undeniably intelligent and infectious. Whether or not the particular project I’m working on calls for that sentiment, I always hold close the principle that less is often more.
2. What sorts of projects are you working on today?
This year I received my first two audio credits for games by designing stadium music for 2K Sports’ MLB 2K10 and NBA 2K11. Currently, I’m focused on writing more tunes to expand my website portfolio and I’m also writing for my first album.
3. What was it like working with 2K Sports?
I worked directly with 2K Sports’ Audio Director, Joel Simmons, and we hit it off very well right away. He’s one of the best at his craft and working with him and his team was absolutely rewarding. They were great on all levels, both personal and professional, and were very supportive of my work through the entire process.
Their goal was to design true-to-life music experiences for each of the stadiums in the MLB and NBA, and my job was to provide them with all of the organ music and beats. This not only included solo organ and beat clips but also a combination of the two that often included crowd participation. All in all, I provided them with over 1000 clips of music for each game.
In addition to this, they let me come into their studio to record hundreds of lines of crowd chatter for MLB 2K10. This was a real treat because now when I play the game I’ll hear myself yelling at the players in the background. I point it out to my girlfriend each time but she never recognizes my voice. I guess I don’t sound like myself when I’m screaming at the top of my lungs.
4. Everyone has their favorite tools. What are some of yours, and why?
I absolutely love using Logic. Its layout is straightforward, its workflow intuitive, and I appreciate its muted aesthetic. Most of Logic’s plug-ins are top notch, too. I often use Ultrabeat for drums and the EVP88 for good Rhodes patches. I also use a lot of East West’s samples. Their SILK product is one of my favorites for Asian and Middle Eastern instruments. You can find really good deals on their products throughout the year. They’ve always got some sort of special promotion going on.
5. How do you feel Pyramind best helped or prepared you for your career in the music/sound industry?
When I first attended Pyramind I was already an experienced performer and composer but unfortunately knew little about using the tools needed to write digital music. Pyramind set me straight with instruction in Reason and Logic under the tutelage of Steve Heithecker and David Earl. Without that knowledge I probably wouldn’t have landed the opportunity to work with 2K Sports on MLB 2K10 or NBA 2K11.
The skills I gained with Reason’s Subtractor, for example, played a key part in how I went about manipulating software synthesizers–pushing them to the edge to recreate dozens of the crazy synth patches heard in the 30 arenas around the NBA.
6. Is there a unique story or memory you wouldn’t mind sharing about your time at Pyramind?
This may sound corny, but what I remember most is simply the pleasure of learning. Before Pyramind the only compositions I was happy with were the ones I wrote for live performance, but when I wrote sample-based music I wasn’t getting the results I wanted, which was a huge disappointment for me as a composer.
After each class at Pyramind I came away with more knowledge and pages full of notes and pretty soon I was able to write the digital music I had been struggling with for so long.
7. Any advice you’d like to share with future students?
Be extroverted and make friends. There are so many possibilities to collaborate with other students on their various projects inside and outside of school. These opportunities are priceless and the work you do with your fellow students could very easily help jump-start your career.
8. What are your future plans?
I’m going to continue composing freelance and also put out my first jazz album. You can stay up to date with my progress at www.caseycameron.com.