Composer Interview

Rick McGuire

Rick McGuire is a highly talented composer and drummer from Los Angeles. His unique sound blends electronic and acoustic elements, creating a mesmerizing musical experience. His music has gained widespread recognition, earning critical acclaim from music lovers worldwide.

Richard McGuire

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

R: I'll be cliche and say Hans Zimmer but it's the truth! I still remember listening to Pirates of the Caribbean on my iPod Nano and getting completely obsessed. I also remember being struck by the percussion in the Tarzan soundtrack (my parents are huge Phil Collins fans). It was only natural I picked up drums after that.

S: What led you into making music for media? 

R: I was also big into Avid's Sibelius growing up. I played in pretty much every ensemble there was in school and wondered how the sheet music got created so that led me to discovering notation software. I watched a lot of tutorials and eventually came across a little promo video Avid had made for James Horner scoring Avatar. I thought he had the coolest job in the world. I liked how new music was being written for the orchestra and being heard by millions of people. It bothered me that in orchestra class we were playing old music. I wanted to be a part of something new.

S: How would you describe your style of writing?

R: I would say generally I write a lot of rhythmically interesting music. Because of my background as a percussionist, rhythm is always the first thing that comes to me when I'm looking at a blank page. However, whenever I'm recording with live players, a lot of them tell me my charts give them a sightreading workout 😉


Enchanted Expedition Fantastical journey to imaginary worlds. Orchestral storytelling brings out the magic with rich strings and wondrous melodies

“The Hollow”
An epic, adventurous, fantastical journey awaits at The Hollow. Wondrous flute melodies with strings and harps.



S: What was your intention behind “The Hollow”?

R: I wanted to write something similar to Ori and the Blind Forest by Gareth Coker and Moss by Jason Graves. I look up to these composers a lot and wanted to blend their sound as best as I could. Ori relies a lot on ambient bell-like piano and Moss features a lot of dancing winds and strings. They're some of my favorite scores that I still listen to all the time to draw inspiration from.

S: How did you start creating this song and eventually achieve your vision?

R: I was excited to compose this cue because it presented an opportunity to write a theme. A lot of the library music I produce focuses more on rhythms and texture to create the vibe the film/tv/game is trying to achieve. Initially, I fleshed out an A theme on the piano. If a cue isn't strong in its simplest form on piano, it has no hope of sounding good when orchestrated.

Then I harmonized it a few ways and came up with counterlines. I'm a big believer in Bach and his focus on line - each instrument getting an interesting part to play that can blend seamlessly with the others. I then composed a B theme to answer the A and then arranged the cue into a loose song form (AABA). Then it was just a matter of orchestrating each section to provide more interest!

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

R: Once I was satisfied with my A theme, my B theme didn't come as naturally. I went through a couple of ideas before finally settling on something that deviated rhythmically from the A. I stepped away from my desk for a few hours to go for a walk and then almost out of nowhere I was humming my B theme. Sounds more romantic than how it usually goes for me, but perhaps a lesson in taking breaks.

S: What was your favorite part of the process?

R: No surprises here, programming all the percussion! I try consciously to not put in any percussion until I have a complete idea in the DAW with melody, harmony, counterlines, bass line, etc. John Williams is a great example of this because he won't use orchestral percussion to create a groove like a drum set, but rather to color what the rest of the ensemble is doing. However, once I have all the necessary elements in there, I go nuts with percussion (for better or for worse!).

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

R: Another cliche but I'll say my family, my faith, and nature. My grandmother recently passed away and I was in awe to see how many lives she influenced. It put into perspective to me how important relationships are and to cultivate them daily. A little corny, but I really believe our friendships make us rich.

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