For this week’s Geek of the Week, we talk to Matt Campana, local musician and composer. His work includes an arrangement for the Video Games Live orchestral show, and music cues for Drexel University.
I hope the name of this Drexel U and Berklee College of Music alum sounds familiar to you, as we posted about him back in September.
You’re known for your work in music, how did you get into it?
I started piano lessons in Kindergarten and I took them until 4th grade when we could no longer afford them. That hardship was actually a blessing in disguise. I didn’t play piano for a little because of this, but that’s when I began to develop my “ear” for music.
I started taking lessons again in high school. Due to my ear training any my lessons, I can hear music and play it almost verbatim as to what’s in my head. So, when I hear music it is easy to record it out on the keyboard, edit it, and eventually create a score from it.
At this point, how many instruments can you play?
I play the piano as my primary instrument. I realized that this would be my instrument when someone showed me you could digitally play other instruments using computer software. That’s how I achieve such epic sounds in my music.
However, I also love playing the guitar. I used to carry my guitar around campus so that my friends and I could jam. I was in the Filipino Intercultural Society at Drexel University (FISDU) for all four years of college. Guitar is a staple of FISDU hangouts. It helped me make friends.
I also know enough violin and drums to compose for it and enough drum technique to program for it when recording my music.
Tell me more about your work with Video Games Live. What did you do? I went to VGL once in Anaheim, CA at BlizzCon. Do you know any sweet Blizzard tracks?
I have worked with Video Games Live for 40+ shows. For the show, I have done everything from running a pre-show Guitar Hero competition, managing volunteers to actually intro MC-ing the show in front of 3,200+ people on Broadway. The largest credit I received was for my stage production work with them on their PBS national broadcast Blu-ray release. I helped in the setup and flow of the live event, ensuring on-stage events happened on time. It went beautifully and it’s available on iTunes!
Speaking of Blizzard, I was once backstage when three-time Emmy award-winning composer, Russel Brower (WoW/SC composer) walked over. He had his laptop with him and proceeded to show my boss, Tommy Tallarico, the then-unreleased theme of StarCraft II. I almost died, I was so glad I brought a change of pants. It was the “Wings of Liberty” title track; it’s incredibly intricate. That was definitely a highlight. (more…)