Elspeth also has an album out right now. Check it out Elspeth The Musical
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do for a living?
My name is Elspeth. Most people call me Ellie, but I really love both names, so either is fine. I was born and raised in Indiana, surrounded by corn and flea markets. Northern Indiana is beautiful but, in my opinion, lacks a good tech community, so now I’m in Indianapolis, attending school. I’ve basically lived a good half of my life on a computer. Not to say I don’t enjoy getting out in fresh breeze and sun; I just tend to prefer creating electronic music to camping. I write music, all the time, even in class. Bad Elspeth.
What is your niche or speciality, that makes you stand out from rest of the audio professionals?
Well I almost hate to say it and pull the gender card, but I’m a woman in a sea of dudes. I haven’t met a lot of women in sound (but they’re there, and they’re AWESOME). I’m also a little younger and I’d like to think I haven’t shut down the little kid in me who loves to play video games, so that tends to show emotionally in my sound. I’m also really, really excited to be in this line of work (t’is my dream!), so I’m often very happy and easy to get along with.
Can you give us a brief summary of the equipment you use regularly?
Logic Pro 9, Macbook/iMac, M-Audio keyboard, MXL mic, and coffee. I also play PS3 religiously for inspiration.
What are your go-to plug-ins and software? (virtual instruments, audio processing etc.)
I use Komplete 7 instruments, East West Quantum Leap Platinum Orchestra, and whatever nonsense I record with my microphone.
When do you find you are most creative?
Definitely late, late into the night I’m talking from 12 up until 6 AM.
What is your usual process for creating audio content for games, films etc.?
Create a melody, save it, listen to it five hundred times, add more layers, add chord progression, listen to it five hundred more times, extend it, implement effects, rewind it one more time, mix it, bounce it, and listen to it five hundred more times before going back and rewriting the whole thing. I am never 100% finished with my music, and I daresay you’ll have a hard time finding a composer out there who listens to their music a year later and still thinks it’s perfect. This industry is constantly evolving and learning from itself, and it’s good to keep your ears open and know when to improve yourself.
Are there any particular secrets to your creativity?
I like to show off, so when I create music I imagine I have an audience listening to me and that always fuels a good tune. Feels good, man.
Do you have any audio creation techniques that resulted in something interesting?
Sometimes I just bang on the keyboard and quantize it. If I hear a good melody residing within that chaos I’ll pluck it out and start with that.
Any specific “lessons learned” on a project that you could share?
Just sit down and do it! Seriously. Sometimes I procrastinate, but the best way to get a song done is just to make myself write it. My mentor, Aaron Marks, has told me numerous times that you have to turn your creativity switch on at will. Learn how to do that, learn what gets your gears going, and just start writing. I’m always surprised at what I can churn out in five minutes of pure “stream-of-consciousness” creation.
Any tips, hints or motivational speeches for the readers?
Organize your music alphabetically – name songs so that you’ll be able to find them easily. Get a domain name if you don’t have one already. Create a business card, customize a logo for yourself, and hand that sucker out at every opportunity. Don’t use the words “epic” or “emotional” in your music titles – not everyone will think your music is epic or emotional, so give your songs a unique title people will remember. Send an email saying hello to your role models – they often respond and have great advice. Be outgoing, ask questions, and stand up for yourself, otherwise no one will know who you are.