Team Focus – Daniel Garcia Jun 27 - Tosh

"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything."
― Plato

Hello once again everyone, Tosh here, your friendly neighborhood Community Manager. As some of you may have noticed, I have been away for a little while now but I’m officially back, with me will return our Team Focus updates once again on a Bi-Weekly basis. For the next couple of weeks, I’ll be running a small series within these updates focusing on certain teams here. We’ll be starting this out by focusing on our sound team. This week we’re sitting down with Daniel, one of our newer developers to learn more about him and what he does here.

First things first, who are you and what do you do here at Soon Studios?

Hey!! My name is, as you may have inferred from the title, Daniel García. I’m a pianist in training (though, technically all pianists are), and right now I help Jafet with Installation 01’s OST by recording all those pianos you hear on those oh so beautiful songs. Also, in the future, my work will be transcribing and adapting most of our works to piano sheet music, for all you pianists out there. Or not. I don’t judge.

A pianist you say? Wonderful, that's easily one of my favorite instruments. If I may ask, when and why did you start playing the piano?

Well, since I can remember, music has been a big part of my life. My mother is a musician. My grandparents have had a piano since the beginning of time. My dad always blasts off music, especially Salsa, which is basically just a pianist playing like his life depended on it. As to the when… some 13 years ago, when I was a little kid, my brother and I got to choose an instrument, and well, I chose the piano, basically because a girl I liked played it. Then I started liking it. And now I’m 19 and way, way too invested on this.

You can never be too invested in something that makes you happy! So, you come from a long line of musically inclined people. Are you taught professionally or more independently by your family?

Professionally. I’ve been studying professionally for about three years, even though my mom is the best teacher ever.

Haha, moms are ALWAYS the best teachers! (Hi mom). Interesting, so do you feel you must be professionally trained to succeed in the industry when it comes to music, or do you think people can get by being entirely self-taught?

I think people can get by being somewhat self-taught. You’ll always need at least one teacher, even if you aren’t planning to go to the university. The degree always helps, but at the end of the day, the world needs good musicians, not just musicians with a degree. I think being a producer could be the exception to the norm. For example, as far as I know, Jafet is self-taught, and the guy is awesome.

Agreed. Now I'm curious, how often and for how long would you say you practice for? And how do you handle mistakes during a performance or a recording?

I gotta confess that I don’t practice as often as I should. A self-respecting pianist should study at least three hours daily. I... don’t do that. Sometimes I skip days; sometimes I just study for an hour. On average, I’d say around an hour and a half daily. Maybe. As for the mistakes… Well, on a performance you just gotta carry on, and not make it evident (Even though there really shouldn’t be mistakes there). Make it look like everything was intended. A recording is another story: Usually, I just stop and start playing the section again. The problem is, believe it or not, a recording is way, way more taxing than a performance. Tempo and performance must be perfect, and you can’t spend all day recording two seconds of a song that you just can’t get right, so then the stress starts creeping up on you, and then you keep messing up the section, and then you get artist’s block, and then you give up and start pondering on your life choices. Or you just record it on the first try and go home and have ice cream. It’s a gamble really.

The performance must go on! It is interesting to hear a recording is so much harder than an actual performance and artists block is a very real thing, but it makes a lot of sense, everything must be nearly perfect each time. I can only imagine how daunting that is to beginners. What is some advice you could give to the beginners out there who are interested in making music for video games or just starting all-together, so they don't ponder their life choices?

There are a number of things I’ve learned over the years that might have helped me when I was starting. Some of this goes for pianists, but composers and other musicians might find it helpful. First, studying may be tedious, but it’s the solution to all your problems. It helps you remember everything, helps you to be better and better with time, and even calms your mind, and that helps you with your day to day problems. Second, try not to leave stuff for later. Even if the performance is months and months away. Study your piano pieces as soon as you can; believe me, that may be the difference between a horrible and an amazing performance. As with recordings, try to start early. Most of the time, recording a song takes way more time than anticipated. Here is some extra advice: A good musician doesn’t equal a good teacher, and good teachers will shape your career. So look for one. Listen to a lot of music, and learn from it. Remember that there always will be someone better than you. Also, eat well and sleep a lot. Being tired burns you out real fast. And if you wanna make music for video games, maybe a career in performance isn’t for you. Composition is the way to go.

That's all fantastic advice, thank you. You're clearly knowledgeable in your field, so it beckons me to ask, what made you give your talent to help Installation 01 genuinely feel like Halo?

First of all, I’ve always wanted to help make a videogame’s music. So this is a dream come true. Also, I’m a gigantic Halo nerd. The I’ve-read-every-single-Halo-book type of nerd. To top it all off I’m a fan of classic Halo, and when I saw what Soon Studios was making with Installation 01, it was like the second coming or something. Then, I found out my buddy Jafet was making the soundtrack, and then I listened to it and instantly loved it. So when Jafet told me he needed a pianist, it was like Christmas. It still is. I’m really, really happy to be a part of this.

Oh wow, that’s some true Halo dedication right there. Well, we couldn’t be happier to have you on board, you’re a fantastic addition to the team! Now, we know why you’re here, but can you explain what it’s like working on Installation 01 in one sentence?

A rollercoaster ride full of jokes, nice developers, sleep deprivation, recording the same thing a thousand times, accomplishment, and some memes sprinkled throughout the course for good measure.

Oh wow, I think that's the perfect way to describe the i01 team, now I've got one last question for you. You've established you're a hardcore Halo fan, but what is your Ultimate Halo Match?

Oh I gotta go with a classic. Halo Combat Evolved / Capture the Flag / Hang ‘Em High. Either that or Blood Gulch on Team Slayer.

Well, that wraps of this week, I can't thank you enough for sitting down with me this week Daniel and of course kicking off our Team Focus updates once again. If you haven't be sure to go listen to our Original Soundtrack for Installation 01 where you can hear all of the beautiful piano Daniel plays for us. Also, be sure to go check out Daniel's personal channel where he'll be uploading some live performances including our upcoming piano works. That's it for now; I'll see you all Soon™ where we sit down with George, another musician here at Soon Studios.

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