Friday, October 12, 2012

Jessica's Journey, Retitled Closer To God: Jessica's Journey, Now Available

I am excited to announce the feature film Jessica's Journey, now retitled as Closer To God: Jessica's Journey, is available for purchase Walmart. I believe they are even responsible for distribution, which is interesting.

I really enjoyed scoring this film, and I feel like I learned a lot. It is the fastest I have ever composed/orchestrated. Six minutes per day, which is unheard of for me. There wasn't much music requested for this film, and I only had about a week to make it all come together, but I was able to come through, and the filmmakers were happy with my work.

The score is mostly piano, harp and strings. There are some light winds and percussion. One of the biggest discoveries sample-wise was the use of the Spitfire harp. Spitfire is a sample company from the UK, and this harp is one of the most detailed instruments I have used. Its lower strings are a little quiet for my personal taste. I typically prefer more body in the lower notes (love to clang on those lower strings!), however the emotional quality of it is something I am hard pressed to find elsewhere.

The film's subject matter became deeply personal to me, since a week after completing the project, my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. That is a whole separate topic, but I feel important to mention in passing despite the fact I intend to keep this blog to music-related topics only.

The cancer of the protagonist is never identified, and her symptoms are somewhat nebulous, as is the Christian denomination the family gravitates toward to deal with their grief. Although I am not religious, I do recognize how people in a time of duress can find comfort, or an avenue to seek answers through religion. I feel that time is usually the greatest enemy and

Visit the official website:

Buy the film at Walmart.

Buy the soundtrack on iTunes.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Soundtrack to Jessica's Journey: Now Available

I'm so excited that the soundtrack for Jessica's Journey is now available on iTunes!

I plan to do a vlog about it soon, but for now, click here to preview tracks and download the album.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Choir Module

I hesitate to call this a full on module, but I did three short videos discussing how I create a live choir by overdubbing myself:

Setting Up:

Recording Individual Voices:

EQ, Pan and Final Mix

I'd like to do more choir work, but could really use the help of a lyricist or poet. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

New Piece for Concert Band: Over The Edge

After a long gestation period, my new piece for concert band is done.  I did a short video about it prior to leaving on my week-long vacation, wherein I also show and demonstrate my new iPhone mic, MiC by Apogee. I'm still getting situated after the trip, though. It was quite a weekend. We got home from the airport at midnight and had to be at work the next morning.

Incidentally, something that has come up again and again is the need for a kind of autonomy. It is nerve racking to think of that sort of liberation, but it's the kind of thing that just has to happen and soon. So I'm aggressively trying to line things up to make possible. More to come on that...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sundance Composer's Lab Recap

I had the good fortune to attend the Sundance Composer's Lab and I learned a few new things, and heard a lot of old things again. It's like there is a certain theme that occurs throughout a learning process. And once you hear it, you hear it everywhere. Like the number 23, or something.

So I have a lot to learn, and a lot to still figure out for myself. Good things are coming as long as one can persevere. I mentioned luck being a big factor in discovery, but by the logic of "preparation meets opportunity," that says to me that we make our own luck.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

New Website Store

I have been trying to figure out a better way to get my music out there, and the first step is having it available for performance. There are so many steps in the role of a copyist, and it's amazing how many little errors one keeps finding. But now that some of the pieces are done, the store can officially launch.

I vlogged about this and also gave a preview of a new piece for marching band, for which I was working on the mockup. I will probably do a breakdown of through this piece in a future blog.

Monday, April 23, 2012


It is hard to put into words the experience of attending the ASCAP Expo. To simply say it is life-changing is a little trite, but like with most things in life, what you walk away with is dependent on what you are willing to put into it.

I met some amazing people and reconnected with friends I met last year. We had a great time discussing what the panels had to offer, and just hanging out and talking about everything but music.

The panels themselves didn't allow recording or taping of any kind, so I can't share the amazing performances, the interesting stories and inspiring advice, or when Stargate showed the ProTools session from Firework, but I can show you all the in-between stuff, where we hung out and had lots of fun.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


As of 6:30 PM the new update is live! Please contact me if you experience any issues with the site.


The site update is merely hours away from being ready, and I'm very excited about this. It is always a daunting thing to have a task such as this, especially knowing there is more refining to be done, nips and tucks. Though it is perhaps more accurate to say, this is really just the beginning of the work to be done.

One of the big updates is the store, and there are just a few details yet to be worked out, so I'm opting to delay its opening, but I think it is important to have the site up as soon as possible despite this element not being ready. Besides, I don't believe it will be a focus of the site, but it will be a nice addition.

As part of the update, I have put together a long-overdue film-clip reel, and here is the result:

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Life Structure

The topic of how a composer should structure their life has been on my mind lately. And this week, it happens a subscriber posted some questions about how often one should compose and what the life of a composer demands.

I am in the midst of attending a workshop led by Ron Jones about this very topic, so while I posted this video prior to attending, I find it amazing how much the "vibe is going."

I'll be discussing this more as life develops.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

New Vlog and Website Developments

To begin with, I have a new vlog entry:

I like how YouTube won't let you pick your thumbnail unless you are a partner. So I get these strange freeze frames while I'm in the middle of saying something. Attractive.

As I continue to work on my website update, I have encountered a dilemma. Much of the stuff I have on my site currently is from prior to 2008, before I got my new computers and back when all I had was GPO. Not that there's anything wrong with it, there is just a markedly different aspect to the quality of the samples, to my ear. So while I plan nonetheless to post older works created with the old library, I can't help but feel a little pang of conflict, knowing that if I were to re-realize these projects with the latest technology, they would sound truly amazing. For example, Instinct Vs. Reason. I recently remastered the soundtrack (which was more of a from the MIDI-up re-sequencing, programming, realizing, recording, mixing and mastering), and the original version created with GPO:

Excerpt of the new version (which is likely also autoplaying in the upper right as we speak):

Original version:

See what I mean? While GPO offered an unparalleled flexibility and ease of use, and while I loved every minute of the 4-plus years I spent making it do everything it was conceivably capable of doing, I needed more, and they just couldn't create the Pro version fast enough. Oh yes, there was talk years ago of creating a pro version of GPO with a lot more bells and whistles. Unfortunately we needed more, and we needed it now.

So I'm forging ahead uploading the older versions of my projects, with all the conflict and nostalgia they carry with them. I know that someday I'll have better versions to offer. And those versions won't even need samples because they will have live players. Here's hoping!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Joe the Programmer

One of the things I have been working on is a website update. Overall I'm happy with it, but it isn't exactly mobile-friendly, and I'm not interested in creating a mobile-only site. It's good, but I feel it could be much better.

One of the things I am doing is trying to work with Soundcloud to place my music in a more universally accessible format and to take advantage of some of the sleek and appealing designs available. The problem I have run into is the necessity of using a flash player, which was part of the appeal of Soundcloud with its HTML5 widget. However, this thing is HUGE and unwieldy. The only small widget they have is flash-only, so I'm trying to walk a line of unwieldy graphics and the preferable, tiny, elegant, but useless mini player.

There are options for custom players, using javascripting, which is something I'm leery of, simply because I know nothing about it. Yet. The rate this is going, I expect to post my new site in 2015. I guess it's time to learn something new!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Back from Social Media Vacation

I've done something for about the last few weeks that I think everyone needs to do at some point during the year: step away from the social media!

I was reading and posting regularly on Facebook, YouTube, et al., and could just feel myself becoming over-saturated with the updates, check-ins, and events, well, not so much those, but more specifically the cute pictures of animals, clever sayings, and aphorisms. I'm not saying I don't need those things. I love seeing kittens and puppies doing cute little clumsy things, and the clever sayings, I love comedy especially when it is though-provoking, and who doesn't need a good aphorism once in a while to keep us going [insert hang-in-there cat here]. But it's just relentless.

You go from Linked In to a blog post to a You Tube video, to a news article, to a funny cat pic and back again. We almost don't even need Stumble Upon (OMG I can't believe I said such a thing!).

It started off as a weekend away. I decided I just didn't need to check Facebook. And two days turned into almost three weeks of... well, bliss, really. Let's face it. Everyone's brain needs a decompression period to refocus its priorities.

I'm looking forward to getting back up to date with the things I have missed, but I'm going to try and organize my time a little better. I think it is best to treat these things like tools to enhance our lives, and not as a replacement.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Instinct Vs. Reason Redux

Last week, I made one of my personal favorite scores available on iTunes. Part of doing so involved me setting up a time to hang with Jenn Page and Anthony Pearce and talk about some good times.

It's always a good time with those two. The score was really a lot of fun and I got to do a lot of different things, flexing my comedy chops with a big orchestra. Be sure to check out the album now available on iTunes and Amazon!

Instinct Vs. Reason (Original Soundtrack) - EP, Joseph Carrillo

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

New Demo for 2012

Since it is a new year, I thought it wise to put together a new collection of recent works.

I decided to host this collection on SoundCloud (and likely future collections), thinking its Facebook-connectivity would make it easier to showcase music sets. But it doesn't work on Facebook despite its claims to the contrary. I'm not saying I'm a luddite, but it took me over an hour to figure out you cannot install SoundCloud on a Facebook page you create, rather only on your personal page--that seems to work properly.

To get music on your band page you have to use a different service.  There are a couple of options, but I went with BandRX which takes media from SoundCloud and puts it into a similar format. I guess the only difference being that it actually works on Facebook. There are a few other perks to it, such as a mailing list feature and a few other things I doubt I will use. It is a little strange, but it turned out okay, and is in full music showcase mode.

I decided to go with SoundCloud specifically for the graphical interface, particularly since I can differentiate parts of my demo in a DVD-chapter-like fashion, allowing one to skip ahead to the next selection without having to scrub and/or guess their way to the next selection.

It seemed like a good idea on the surface, so we'll see how it is received. Additionally each selection also has a 60-second version available (the above features approximately 30-second excerpts).

For now the demo is all that is posted on my SoundCloud page, similar to Facebook, the url is, but as I update my website to the new format, I will be posting a lot more music there.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rambling. Hey, it's an excuse to post

I began the year with the best of intentions. I hoped to be more active amongst the various social media, and tried to set the bar reasonably low: like blogging once a week, posting on facebook once or twice per week.

There was--and still is--a bunch of other junk on the list, other usual suspects like eating healthy, getting a good night's sleep, reading a book (with pages!). The things we all want to do, that we tell ourselves: I can do that, because I am "that person." The person who does those conscientious things, like vacuuming regularly, or once every couple of weeks dusting the one piece of real wood furniture you own, attempting to keep the studio from being buried beneath the results of my brain opening up to let the insanity out.

It's not that I'm not "that person." It's just that the person who I am, or the body my personality inhabits, gets easily distracted by shiny objects. And occasionally there is just no amount of enticing that will allow the real me an earnest moment of being within my schedule. I have an idea of what my day is like, or what it is supposed to be like, and sometimes the slightest thing can derail my focus.

So that being said, I'm using this excuse of not knowing what to write, to write. And use it as less a promise to whomever might read this, but moreso to myself. This year, I'm just going to let myself ramble, and give myself permission to do so without fear of the tether of relevance or requisite of wit. That whole "dance like no one is watching" thing? Ugh, as much as it pains me to pick at the bones of that rotting horse, it's time to bust a move.

I am finishing work on a newly sequenced, mixed and mastered version of the score from Instinct Vs. Reason, a short film which I scored back in 2004, which should be available in the next couple of weeks.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

First Vlog for 2012!

This week I discuss the screenings I recently attended, a music project for Jenn Page, and tease a recording project for the Fines. Join the conversation!

Watch the trailer for My Stupid Heart!