We recently had the chance to catch up with a young artist track member who has spent countless hours in our Digital Studios working on his latest project.
Name: Gabriel “Gabe” Christenson
Member Since: Spring 2015
Nothing shows the diversity and versatility of what MRC has to offer young musicians and artists quite like the current project in production by young Artist Track member, Gabe Christenson. An extremely gifted pianist who joined MRC-Cinci to be surrounded by other young musicians while working on writing and producing songs, Gabe began the production on the entire score of a full length independent film in the past few months. Though his time at MRC-Cinci is spent almost entirely in the Red Studio, where he works for hours a day on the program Logic Pro X to make the score, we were able to sit down with him for a few minutes to talk about this exciting project, as it approached it’s September 15 deadline.
MRC: So Gabe, tell us about the movie that you’re playing a huge part in by creating the score. How did you get involved, and what type of movie is it?
GC: [The score] is for an independent film called Uber Zombie Frau. The director is my mother’s friend. He said, “I have this new movie that I’m doing, but I don’t have any music for it yet,” and my mom said, “Funny you should mention that, because my son writes music for movies.” And so…
MRC: And so…you got the gig! Now for those of us who don’t know the first thing about creating a film score, what are the steps that go into making the music for just one scene? How do you even begin?
GC: Well, do you want the way I start, or the way…
MRC: Let’s go with how you do it.
GC: Okay. Well what I do is, when I’m at home, I write the actual themes, the music, on my piano. I have my DVD player and, when I’m writing, I line [the movie] up roughly with the scene, the music. And then when I come here [to MRC], I plug everything into Logic and I basically orchestrate – it’s for a full orchestra – so I fill out all the orchestral parts and then I line it down exactly with where it needs to be in the scene.
MRC: Is it hard to put together the whole orchestra if you only play piano, or is it enough that you know how the notes are going to sound?
GC: Yeah, kind of. You fill out all the melodies and stuff and then you just take all the parts of the orchestra, the strings, and you pull everything apart and all the harmonies and notes and stuff.
MRC: So you watch a scene and get these melodies popping into your head?
GC: Yep. In my opinion, a lot of writing music in general is making sure that you put everything down because you never know when you’re going to need it later. And it kind of helps to express yourself better, if you’re putting down every little thing that pops into your head, it makes everything come out smoother.
MRC: How does all the music you write fit together? Does each scene have to flow into the next, or can it be abruptly changing?
GC: It does have to flow, but there doesn’t constantly have to be music in the background. And you see that in big budget films, too. There’s breaks and gaps in the music because you don’t want to kill the audience [laughs]. You constantly have auditory stuff playing in the background that adds to the feelings and emotions.
MRC: All said and done, will you have written music for all 80 minutes of this movie?
GC: Nope, I’m gonna have more like 30 or 40 minutes maybe.
MRC: That’s still a whole lot of music! What’s next for you? What kind of projects do you plan to work on?
GC: I’ll probably keep practicing, learning more songs, getting more gigs with MRC.
MRC: Do you hope to work more in film and continue writing scores?
GC: Yes. As a career, yes. The goal with this movie is kinda to meet new people and get my name out there as sort of an up-and coming composer.
MRC: That’s an awesome goal! And we are glad we are able to help you along the way!
To experience the full affect of Gabe’s music, check out Uber Zombie Frau, a new horror film sure to be full of “Nazi-zombie” camp, at Cincinnati Comic Con September 18th-20th.