I grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D. C. where I experienced an average childhood, playing video games and playing with my friends. However, my father had an acoustic guitar that would drift around the house, which I took a liking to at a very young age. My best friend's mother played
and so she showed me the ropes, which got me started on the path to being a
musician. I became the coolest 7 year old in the neighborhood when my friends
found out I could play "The Rainbow Connection". Shortly afterwards, a 6th
grade cohort of mine gave me a crappy electric guitar in exchange for playing
"Men at Work" songs for him.
I grew and evolved as a musician and started playing in bands around the age
of 14. I played in a 'Rush' cover band that started to explore the more
technically demanding arena of Jazz fusion. This was a very influential time
in my musical evolution, because I had firmly decided that I was going to be
dedicated to creating music for the rest of my life. I began learning how to
sing and play drums during this period, but more consequently, I began to
write original music.
When I was 16, my family moved to Arizona, which was a trying time for me.
I did not want to be in an area that was such a musical wasteland, so after
much soul- searching, I decided I wanted to move to California where I could
continue my evolution as a musician. My parents separated through the turmoil
of life change and individual evolution (or degradation, depending on your
point of view), so at the age of 16, my father and I moved to San Diego in
search of an opportunity for a new life.
I didn't fit into Southern California lifestyle very easily, so instead of
pursuing social gratification, I pursued my musical interests and became
extremely disciplined in my studies. I began composition and guitar lessons
and soon worked into a daily routine of practicing 8 to 10 hours a day while
finishing high school. I started to play professional gigs and began to get a
reputation for being an up-and-coming guitar player, but there were
weaknesses in my musicianship, so I decided to go to college fill in the
I entered into San Diego State University as the first student to qualify
for the college's new Bachelor of Music program with emphasis in Jazz. I was
able to get scholarships and student loans which assisted my ability to finish
the degree. In addition, I was doing freelance gigs in many different
situations such as theaters, clubs, corporate top 40 bands, fraternity
parties, and various recording sessions. In college I studied Jazz theory and
practice with Rick Helzer (and others too self-indulgent to mention) and had
the opportunity to study and emulate the compositions of great European musical
I began to focus much more on composition while in college and started to
write orchestral and large ensemble works. It was the first time I got to
experience my work while standing in front of a large orchestra and I fell in
love with this arena of music. Unfortunately, there's only so much time in a
day, so I was playing gigs and began playing consistently with a reggae band
called Fried Bananas to make my financial ends meet while only writing when I had the time. While in the Fried Bananas, I began to explore the world of pop culture and was beginning to get used to the idea of shooting for a place in the world of the music business. By the end of my 3 years playing with Fried Bananas, we had risen to the top of the San Diego Music Scene as a Rock/Reggae band that appealed to the college crowd. We recorded and toured for about a year but weren't trendy enough for the mass market, so album sales didn't sustain us (email me and I'll mail you one--I've got a garage
full of 'em). I experienced the ins and outs of the music business and was
eventually turned off to it by the realization of what the lifestyle had to
offer. I hated playing the popularity games and the touring was the most
taxing life experience I had ever had, so I ended up leaving the band
shortly after I began dating my "wife to be".
Following the split up of Fried Bananas, I managed to get a steady weekend gig at a resort hotel playing Calypso music with some of San Diego's finest musicians, which I did for about 2 years. During that time, my fiancee helped me get my focus together and we decided to spend all of our money on a recording studio so that I could pursue my writing. Through the ordeal of learning about the contemporary computer market, I called up an old friend named Andrew Heimbold for some advice on what to buy. After I got
settled in and was functional with my studio, Andrew asked if I would be
interested in coming and working for his multimedia company, doing audio
development, sound effects and music for their CD-ROM titles. I moved my gear
into their offices and started a great 2 year relationship with his company,
called Echo Images. During that time I did music and sound effects for many
titles such as Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia, Compton/Softkey's
Interactive Children's Bible stories, MGM Babes in Toyland Interactive CD,
among many others.
While I was at Echo Images, Andrew was slaving away, creating 3D animations
for a game called Pegasus Prime which he was contracted to do through Presto
Studios. As I learned more about Presto, I was impressed by so many aspects
of the company that I decided, if I ever had the chance to work for them, I
would drop whatever I was doing and go for it. As fate would have it, the
opportunity came up and I jumped on it when I heard that there was a
potential job to do the soundtrack for Gundam 0079. As I worked on Gundam, I
got to meet the team and establish mutual respect from the majority of the
team and I knew that I would be really comfortable with this company, so I
was quick to accept an opportunity to be employed as a full time
composer/sound designer. I'm extremely proud to be here at Presto. I could be
making a lot more money working as a freelance composer in Hollywood, but I
choose to be with Presto because I believe in the integrity of the games and
I think that in addition to being one of the most talented groups of people
in the world, they are also setting a standard for the future of
digital-based entertainment. I love coming to work and knowing that I'm doing
Since I'm telling my life story here, I must say a few words about my wife,
Elizabeth, because my life wouldn't be what it is without her. We were
married on August 3rd, 1996 and were dating for 3 years prior to that. She's
currently working on finishing her Bachelor's degree in Psychology at SDSU and
plans to receive her MFCC and become a Marriage and Family counselor. She's
my mentor and my best friend and has provided me with all of the insight and
inspiration that I've needed to get to the position in life that I have.
Here's a picture of us at our wedding!
My Musical Phliosophy:
Music to me is simply an extension of my whole self and not limited to any kind of definition. I have the technical finesse on most musical instruments to play anything that I can think up, and I have the technical expertise and equipment to record and produce music to very rigid standards of quality, so the technical side of my musical creations are no longer a factor. In fact, I tend to think of the actual production of music as simply the means to relay what I can think of creatively. I believe that all creative art is simply an expression of an artist's culmination of life experience. Therefore, my creative evolution is based on my theological and spiritual evolution. Given this, I try to work on myself as a spiritual person and pursue my personal evolution in order to benefit not only my own personal happiness, but my professional creations as well. As I continue to evolve as a person, my music will evolve with me and the greatness of the music I will create, will be based on my personal evolution at the time.
The kind of music that I listen to and inspired by, comes from many sources. I think of music as simply an organization of 12 notes, so if you forget about timbre, harmony and rhythmic choices, there is really no music that has no value to it. I think the only music that I would classify as "bad" would be music that is created with the intent to deceive, destroy, or that has a lack of integrity. I do not enjoy the majority of the modern pop market simply because the music is designed with the intent of mass manipulation and the music industry has no concept of moral obligation with the music it releases. I think that if we're going to distribute such a powerful and impressionable medium such as music for profit, than the distributor/producer has a moral obligation to limit the music to anything that doesn't contribute to the degradation of society.
The music that inspires me is music that transcends the status quo and strives for a new expression based on artistic expression rather than based on motives of financial or social gain. Musicians that come to mind are Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Mozart, Beethoven, J. S. Bach, Debussy, Ravel, Brahms, Wagner, Shostakovich, Strauss, the list goes on mostly Jazz and Classical masters of the 19th and 20th century. I do however also enjoy some pop/rock music and try to incorporate that energy into my own works. I don't record a lot of guitar even though it's my main instrument simply because it so rarely fits what I hear in my head.
As far as sound design goes, I try to have a less technical outlook on it and simply trust my ears and creative intuition in order to come up with the most exciting and appropriate sounds.
All of this, of course, is ultimately dependent on the ability to negotiate and be a good business person. An artist is only as good as the works he/she produces, so if you haven't got the business sense to go out and create the situations to express your art in the contemporary market than you will certainly wither away with the rest of the undiscovered souls that may or may never be heard.