Sunday, August 3, 2014

Music: Interview with Musician and Composer Chris Weatherwax AKA Ultrabeast (Classical electronica)

We're really excited to welcome another very talented musician and composer to our blog today: Chris Weatherwax (Ultrabeast), who I first met through Twitter, and listened to his amazing work on SoundCloud. Make sure you visit his pages (listed below) and sample his music! Here's a little bit of what he has to say about his work.

Tell us a little about yourself, where are you from and what is your background?

I am a 35 year old guy from the US. I've been playing piano/guitar/bass my whole life and composing. Have a Bachelor's in Classical Composition and Piano Performance. My graduation piece 10 years ago was a variation of Beethoven's Egmont overture I played on my piano.

What an incredible musical education! So, you play piano, guitar and bass! What is your favorite instrument, and how to you incorporate them into your music? 
Definitely piano because I've played it for so long I can sit down and my hands do their own thing while my brain figures out chord progressions and melodies while I'm playing. I incorporate them to counterpoint other things but only if the song needs it. Sometimes a song with just piano is great by itself if it's something I've never heard before and not boring.

That's some talent! What genre do you consider yourself and who is your greatest influence?  

Definitely classical chord progressions and improvisations. I combine classical chord progressions and melodies with modern sounds and instruments like electric guitars and synths, kind of like Wendy Carlos from the 70's.  My biggest influences are Beethoven, Mozart, Bach (Especially his Brandenburg Concertos I love their energy), Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Hans Zimmer, Samuel Barber (platoon),  Barry De Vorzon (Composer for The Warriors theme), Klaus Doldinger (Das Boot theme), Brian Eno (Dune theme). Hopefully I'm not boring you to death here :)

Not at all! I also love classic music and you mentioned several of my own favorites! With such great influence, what is your source of inspiration to compose? 

Source of inspiration is I practice very hard on my instruments and work on chord progressions in the back of my head while I do other things, then when the feeling strikes I sit down and improvise it out in my head while I'm playing. Sometimes I am up  for 3 days at a time until the song is finished. I'm kind of a freak, I also write poems for the songs and lyrics and love learning and doing everything myself. I get really excited about my music and love to share it with people!

You should be, after all this is a lot of work and the result is beautiful! What do you enjoy the most between the interaction with your fans? 

I get really excited about songs I'm working on and love sharing them with my Twitter/Facebook followers instantly when the song is done. It's great! Also I get some really amazing feedback from people on Soundcloud and Macjams and other places. They give me some really awesome ideas for things to add to my songs I never would have thought of!

It's exciting to know your fans are enjoying your music and can also give you feedback and ideas. When I heard some of your music, there are some vocals as well. Do you also sing? Who does the vocals for your music? 

I do sing yes. My mother was an opera singer so I guess I have some of her genes in me. I do my own vocals for my songs and just got a new blue yeti mic which I love. You can hear me singing in "Enter my dreams" and "I am Unyielding".  

How fascinating, you are a product of a music family! So what are your plans for the coming year? 

I am working on a couple composer competitions for AAA games like Bioshock Infinite and Star Citizen. Just working on always getting better. Working on getting my vocals and guitar better and finishing learning the new version of Ableton Live 9 Suite, also exploring some new vst's. I also perform my songs live in concerts/recitals and improvise new songs from scratch as I play my main ones like Beethoven's Pathetique/Moonlight Sonata and Mozart's K. 545. 

Great plans! Now tell us, where can we find your music? 

All over the place. Soundcloud, Macjams, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter. Following me on Twitter is the best because I always tweet new songs I'm working on every week and when they're finished as well. They are all free for download but if you want to support me I suppose you can buy some stuff on Bandcamp!   

Twitter: (The best way to follow what I'm working on) : (@WeatherwaxChris)

Macjams: A great old site where I do works in progress a lot of great knowledgeable people there:

Bandcamp: where you can buy high quality finished stuff to support me if you wish:

My website where you can find all of these links and updates

Great suggestions. Would you like to share anything else with the readers? 

Yes, I spend most of my time working on songs and practicing them, so I don't have much time or energy to promote myself, so if you would share my songs with people that would be great! All of my songs on Soundcloud are from the past year some are works in progress but there are many really good finished ones as well. Also I enjoy doing slow builds where the song starts out slow and the best part is in the last 2 minutes so if you don't listen to the whole thing you might be missing out on the best part. I am an audiophile and love listening to my Sennheisers. I do record with them occasionally so if you are an audiophile you will appreciate the subtle details in the pans. Anyway thanks for this interview it's nice to see people having an interest in composers! :) 

Thank you, Ultrabeast, for sharing a little of your musical talent with us! We wish you good luck and success in your career!



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