Synth pads, Cakewalk, FL Studio and an upright Yamaha piano. Our sister site AudioJungle is a royalty-free stock audio site that helps musicians earn money. In this interview series you’ll learn about those musicians, their gear, and their AudioJungle experiences. Today we meet John Columbo III (unseenbattle).
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from, what do you do for a living?
Well, my name is John Columbo III and I grew up in Central NJ (the shore). If you've heard of the chain sub shop "Jersey Mike's", the original store was in the town I grew up in. Now I live in Western North Carolina with my beautiful wife.
I have been doing IT work since 1998 working on Apple and Microsoft based machines. It wasn't until I discovered Cakewalk and FL Studio that I really began to meld the two interests (music and computers) together.
Which marketplaces do you belong to? What types of files do you sell?
AudioJungle and VideoHive. When creating files I try to think of ways that I would use them and then simply leave it to the imagination and artistic mind of the customer. I am working hard to learn how to make my files as useful as possible to the customer.
How did you get started? Have you had any formal training?
I can remember getting my first Casio keyboard in grade school, bringing it to show and tell and playing 'Three Blind Mice'. I received another Casio in my teenage years and would play and play and continually make things up just for fun. I was involved in a band throughout high school playing Alto Saxophone and Oboe. Around that time I got my first real piano, an upright Yamaha, and loved it!
I started taking lessons while a teenager and then from an amazing pianist named Barbara DeAngelis after high school. She was very different to any other teacher I'd had. The first lesson she said, "So, what do you want to learn?" I said, "Well, I've always wanted to be able to play the 'Moonlight Sonata' by Beethoven." She said, "OK, lets do that." And so I learned to play the first two parts. I never got to the third, but it was still an amazing experience.
After my first computer-related job I started an apprenticeship with a local piano tuner and learned to tune pianos by using a tuning fork, tuning hammer and rubber wedge mutes (no electronic tuners, all by ear). It was a great experience and I did it for about three years. Unfortunately I had to make a decision to either pursue a computer-related career or the piano tuning because I could not maintain both. I chose the computer route, but definitely do not regret learning the piano tuning.
After that I began the road to composing using a DAW in my spare time. I cannot get enough of it and would love to make it my full-time career at some point.
Describe your home workspace.
It's pretty straight forward; a Yamaha KX49 controller, MacBook Pro and Logic Studio Pro 8. I also still have a Yamaha digital piano with weighted keys, but I use that more for practicing at this point.
Describe your creative process. What steps do you normally follow to create your files?
I guess it comes a few different ways for the AudioJungle music.
The first way is if I'm inspired I'll sit down and lay down a melody and leave it for later, or sometimes just finish the whole thing right there in a few hours and then master it later. Another, more common way, is that I'll lay down several different melodies in the same key and then leave it for a while. I'll then come back to it and continue working it out over time.
As for the VideoHive stuff it's basically a matter of coming up with an idea and then working with a friend of mine to capture the HD video and mastering it for VideoHive.
What is your advice to other authors regarding how to create a successful portfolio?
Quality and usefulness over quantity. I have been working diligently lately to update my current tracks and will continue to do so as I learn how to make them more useful to the customer. Also, getting involved in the marketplace community, asking questions and encouraging others. It's a great way to make new friends and learn.
What do you do to market your files?
Tweet about them, have a Facebook fan page, write about it on my blog, DiggIt, Reddit. I'm not real sure how else to get the word out.
What are your three favorite files, and why do you like them?
Because of the fact that I put the most into it I suppose.
I like the way the strings add that perfect change around the 1:20 mark.
Apart from yourself, who is your favorite marketplace author, and why do you like them?
That is a very difficult question. Only one? Hmm.
What do you do in your spare time?
Read/study my Bible and work on AudioJungle and VideHive files.