Composer Interview

Clay Xavier

Clay is a highly talented and accomplished music composer and producer, known for his exceptional compositional works that have been featured in projects for renowned brands. He is now devoting himself to creating immersive and unforgettable soundtracks for video games.

Clay Xavier_2

S: What were some of the earliest musical influences that you can remember growing up? What instrument did you grow up playing? 

C: Strangely enough I didn't love music as a kid. I grew up around my father who is a rock guitarist and all the music I heard was what he listened to. I started playing saxophone in the 5th grade which started to spark something but it wasn't until years later that I realized how much of an influence the music of gameboy games had on me as a child. I used to play for hours and hours on car rides and at school, I never thought anything of the music in particular at the time but now I realize how much I loved those 8-bit soundtracks and the creativity that went into making those chips sound like something much bigger. Later on my saxophone playing would turn into a love of jazz and hip-hop samples in highschool, which I continued on into my college studies and I'm now finally synthesizing all of my early loves for music.

S: What led you into making music for media? 

C: In college I was working at an internet radio station that did live stream DJ mixes, Youth Journalism, and Podcasts. I was lucky enough to get a reference from one of my supervisors to start scoring custom podcast episodes for Snap Judgment and Spooked which was a big deal in the podcasting world as a first gig. I worked freelance with them on & off for a few years before expanding to more podcasts and more recently video games!

S: How would you describe your style of writing?

C: My style varies so heavily from project to project but I would say I always have a strong emphasis on melodic material. Coming from playing monophonic wind instruments, you don't have the same access to harmony that polyphonic instruments like guitar and piano do, or the same access to rhythmic complexity that percussion instruments can tap into. Because of this I ended up spending so much time figuring out "How can I write the most beautiful and memorable melodies?" No matter what style, genre, or format I always have a strong emphasis on voice leading and simply stated catchy melodies.

Fun and friendly 8-bit electronic music that energizes you for any adventure. Modern synths and percussion with a light, futuristic and upbeat mood.

“Digi Hero”
Fun, fresh modern 8-bit electronic music with lively Hip Hop elements to launch you bravely against any challenge. Listen

“First Motion”
Cruise with a positive, upbeat, funny and cool track. 8-bit synths and a cool hip hop bass line combine for a ride you won't forget. Listen

S: What was your intention behind “Digi Hero” and “First Motion”? 

C: While as a child I loved the sound of 8-bit synthesizers, as an adult I learned the love of hip-hop and electronic music production. With these tracks I tried to marry that sense of child-like innocence/nostalgia with hard hitting and bouncier Hip-Hop Drum patterns and 808s. Hopefully they give the same feeling to anyone who grew up in that same era haha.

S: How did you start creating these songs and eventually achieve your vision?

C: I like to start a lot of my compositions at the climax of the track with the most instruments playing and the highest level of energy, and then work the arrangement back down to lower intensities and transitions. With Digi Hero I was working late one night at the studio I was managing and I had put up Megaman Battle Network footage on the big screen while I had just finished working on hip-hop sessions. That environment led me to dark 808's in the B section and a very Drum n Bass A section reminiscent of those old mega man games. First Motion was a much less dark feeling track haha I don't think that was an after hours session. I was going for more of a happy cheery Wii type of sound.

S: What were some of the compositional challenges that you faced?

C: Figuring out how to tie the arrangement of the drum and bass portion of Digi Hero to the trap section was definitely a challenge. I wasn't sure which section should take prominence but eventually after much trial and error I decided to treat the drum and bass as a long intro into the trap drop.

S: What was your favorite part of the process?

C: My Favorite part of the process was probably playing games and reliving my childhood to submerge myself in that 8-bit sound. Never mad at a chance to bust out my gameboy.

S: Outside of music, where do you find inspiration in your life?

C: I'm a huge pokemon nerd and love to battle competitively which can be a release and a way for my brain to be more strategic and less creative. Besides that I love love love trying new foods and some fresh air and good food almost always puts me in a good space to create! (A good brew doesn't hurt either.


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