Composer J. Ryan Moat’s inspiring music

J. Ryan Moat, composer and all around extraordinary person

J. Ryan Moat, composer and all around extraordinary person

     I’ve known Ryan Moat for decades. I’ve always thought he was an inspiring person, but my respect for him skyrocketed recently, when I learned his talents include composing.
     The music Ryan Moat writes is breath-taking (see here, and here). His music is available on Amazon.com, too. I’m seriously thinking of book trailers now because of this man’s music.
     He agreed to be interviewed on my blog. I’m happy to be able to share some of what he does here, especially for my writer friends who love working with great music in the background.

The interview:

     What is it you find most inspiring about writing music?
     I find it inspiring that through writing music, it can take you to other places, to other worlds, or can reach into the listener’s soul, striking a chord within, so to speak. With music, it can help you relax, focus, bring back memories, and take you on a journey. I write it for this purpose for others to enjoy, since music is a sort of universal language. It speaks to others no matter what language they speak.
     What kinds of music do you most like writing?
     I really enjoy writing in the style of film score, television, and movie trailer (cinematic) music. It wasn’t always this way, but soundtracks are actually my favorite types of music to listen to, and it kind of led to film scoring. When I started composing, I was still a student at Utah Valley University, but had gotten a great student deal on some producer software. The software was mainly for techno and dance, which I enjoyed, but it ultimately led me into my so called genre of film scoring. Although most of my music could be considered the film score genre, I do really like composing Celtic, and other world music. 
     What kinds of experiences give you ideas for your music and fuel your muse?
There are a few different types of of experiences that give me ideas for music. The first is traveling. I love other cultures, and I love traveling the world. Not only are each individual cultures different from each other, but they also have their own individual styles of dance, or traditional music. I like a lot of the traditional music around the world, and traveling has helped me experience this as well. My first music album, La Belle Vie, which means “A Beautiful Life” in French, was based off of my experiences traveling through Europe, specifically some while exploring amazing buildings such as a Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. Many of the choirs and ambient sounds I heard within those cathedrals or great halls in palaces influenced me to write an album on that Europe trip.
     A second experience is going to the movie theaters themselves. I love sitting in a theater, IMAX, Dolby Atmos, or any great sounding theaters and being immersed in the music. What would a movie be without music? It adds such an amazing affect. Sometimes sitting in the theater, a soundtrack can just give you chills. I hear the music from the popular composers and think, “That’s EXACTLY what I want to do”! Often I go home after a movie inspired to write a little bit better, to compose epic music just the same. Often I think, “I can write music just like that”, or, “I want to learn to write music like that”.
     Another experience that gives me ideas for my music is the way I feel. We all have those days that don’t go quite right, and we also have those days where we feel on top of the world. I find that it’s so easy to write music when you put your whole soul into it.
     How long have you been writing music?
     I started dabbling a little with techno music back in 2004 to 2005, and started again in around 2009. I was acting in between 2006 and 2009, so I set the music aside, especially since techno wasn’t what I really wanted to compose. It wasn’t until the acting and entertainment industry got hit really hard in 2009 that I started to get back into music. In 2010 I had started saving enough money to slowly move to Hollywood quality sound libraries, and had moved to industry standard composing software. Since 2010 I have been composing many tracks yearly.
     What were some of your first music experiences? How do they play into your successes now?
     I never had much music experience growing up. But there were three things I loved, the first was our family record player. I’d listen to that for hours, and I’m pretty sure I’m the one who wore the record player out. The next was my sister’s 40-key piano with music presets for bossa nova, polka, and other styles that come built in. My parents also had a guitar, and I’d strum it and make up lyrics. Whenever I would go to either of my grandparent’s homes, I’d sit down and play their upright pianos. I didn’t know how to read music, I’d just create my own songs on the piano, or learn the keys to common songs.
     As I grew older, every chance I got to play on a keyboard or piano, I’d just play. At my first year of college I decided I’d go learn how to read and play music on my own, and went to a building every night after classes to learn a song. A couple years later, I took a semester piano class from Utah Valley University, as well as took a group voice class. From there, it just sort of led me into music composing, and I compose mostly everything using a piano which goes directly into my computer, a digital audio workstation (DAW), similar to what famous movie composers such as Hans Zimmer have.
     How do you find time for writing music?
     Often there are times that I go weeks without sitting down at the piano. However, playing the piano and/or composing music is really a stress relief. It often lets me take what’s going on in my life and translate it into music form. When I really just need to do something that makes me happy, I’ll sit down and play, and it always seems to do the trick. Often I’ll have ideas pop in my head, and I’ll quickly write a little bit and save it, so that when I get more time on the weekend, I can return and just go with the flow.
     Do I understand correctly that you’re also into acting and modeling? What can you tell me about this?
     I was really into acting, and only did one or two modeling gigs. In the modeling industry in Utah, the requirement is normally 6’0″ for men, and I am not that tall. I did get the opportunity to walk on the runway in a tuxedo, which was quite fun. That was the only modeling gig I did, until this year when a friend asked me to come model for Porsche Design, a subsidiary of Porsche AG the German automobile manufacturer.
     Backing up to 2004, I wanted to try something different, and had heard that Utah had many talent agencies. Little did I know, Utah was in the top states for acting in the entertainment industry. In 2006 I decided to sign with an extra acting and modeling agency in Salt Lake. Right off the bat, they had me calling a production company which was over The Warner Brother’s Everwood TV show starring Chris Pratt (Jurassic World, Galaxy of the Guardians) and John Beasley (CSI, CSI: Miami, Sum of All Fears), and I was off acting in my first episode on Everwood. It was perfect timing, because it was the last season of Everwood. I had no idea who I was acting with either, and had scenes walking by Chris Pratt and John Beasley having a conversation in their characters for the TV show.
     I went on to be a featured extra in a couple movies, and even got a couple lead roles, including a lead role as an elf from a book series by Anna Del C. Dye entitled, “The Elf and The Princess”. I loved my time acting, and I acted from 2006 to 2009.
     I switched to a new agent in 2009, and got professional training, but then the industry had a rough patch in late 2009 and my agent had to close his doors. I was left without an agent, and with my day job keeping me busy, I switched back to composing because I could compose any time I wanted. With acting I needed to be able to drop whatever I was doing when a call came in. While I was acting, Cosmopolitan magazine contacted my agent after they scouted me out on the agency website, and asked me to apply for the Cosmopolitan Bachelor of the Year contest. I thought that was pretty cool.
     What kinds of writing do you like best? Do you ever gain inspiration from books?
I love a lot of fantasy writing. In the range of Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit (J.R.R Tolkien), elvish stories, and books such as The Eye of the World (Robert Jordan), Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind), Mistborn (Brandon Sanderson). When I find time to read, I enjoy most fantasy novels.
     I do gain inspiration from books, especially when they paint a vivid picture. Even a picture helps gain inspiration for writing music.
     I do like a good thriller or mystery as well. They make great ideas for writing music too!
     I know we’ve talked a little about the possibility of doing book trailers. Is this something you’d be interested in doing for other authors? If so, what could you offer them, and what would you charge?
     Yeah, I’d definitely be interested in doing book trailers. I have the tools to write nearly any genre style, and I’d work with the author to get a general feel for what they wanted, and then work together on creating a sound they thought would work.
     As for charging, I’m more concerned about creating something they would want, and something that they are happy with, and to work out with them what they feel is fair. Even if that means there is no budget, I would still enjoy writing it for them, because I am more interested in getting experience than I am money.
     What kinds of things do you hope for or plan for in the future regarding your music?
     I really just want to create music that people will enjoy. One day, I’d love to walk into a theater and hear my music playing on a film, or on a trailer. But if not, I still get the satisfaction of writing my own music while streaming and sharing it to the world.
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