Saturday, March 31, 2012

Composer Spotlight on Mirby

Taylor Brown aka Mirby is perhaps best known in the video game music community for her journalistic pursuits. She has written numerous articles reviewing arrangement albums as well as interviews with remixers. Mirby has also collaborated with members of the community for original material and for VG-based fan works. More recently she is heading the Final Fantasy remix project Audio Engineering, covering all the Cid themes from the series. I asked Mirby a few questions about her influences, her creative goals, and her short-lived ReMixing Bout compo.

Mirby revealed that her earliest exposure to music was probably as soon as she came into the world. She explained that, My dad was a bassist in a band, so music has always been a big part in my life. The band was disbanded before I was born, and due to a drunken mishap they weren't signed. That said, my brother and all his friends (henceforth referred to as my brothers) are musicians, so through them I learned all sorts of things. In fact, if it weren't for them I might not have any interest in making music at all.” She felt that this early experience influenced her current work: “Since all my brothers did was jam sessions, all my music is basically just made as I go. Adding in what sounds good, tweaking things to make it just right... they definitely influenced me as a musician.”

It's been noted that Mirby’s solo work carries a heavily improvised style, sometimes implementing on-the-fly keyboard riffing. She elaborated that, “When I can, I like to mess around with whatever music-making thing I can; keyboards are usually what I use, but I did recently make a nice rhythm via the ocarina in Ocarina of Time 3D, and have since figured out how to play it on a keyboard. When I'm actually recording, I stick to FL Studio and soundfonts. I've found quite a few good ones, and am slowly getting more familiar with the track. I also have a friend who is willing to record live violin, so that's cool too.”

Mirby has participated in a number of compos, and eventually organized her own, Mirby's ReMixing Bout. When asked what her motivation for joining compos had been, she said, “I think I first learned about them because of JHCompo. I'd never really made music in a short time frame before, so having that restriction really inspired me. One Hour Compo is also great fun because it's half the time and thus double the rush.” She also explained why she started her own competition: “I just have a lot of tracks I want remixes for. That's literally the main inspiration for it. But thanks to my Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story remix of Plack Beach, I have been inspired to make my own remixes now instead of purely original stuff.”

She is currently organizing a Final Fantasy Cid tribute project, and described the experience of bringing artists together for collaboration: “I have a few WIPs so far, so it's going well. Considering I got all the main Cid tracks claimed in just ten days, I'm rather amazed. I guess that everyone likes Cid, so that's good.” At the time of the interview, the album was simply known as the Cid Tribute Project. She joking mentioned she had an idea for a fake cover: “Everybody Loves Cidolfus with FF12 Cid on the front.” It was later given the title Audio Engineering: A Cid Tribute Project.

Mirby revealed some of her current plans for her outlets, known collectively as Mirby Studios. “I'm always up for an interview with a remixer. Other projects include the numerous games I've been working on and have never finished. Whether I do finish those someday or not is still up in the air.” She noted that her collaboration with Wildfire remixing Subrosia’s theme from Oracle of Seasons is coming together. Regarding composition competitions, Mirby concluded that, “Basically, compos are good. If you're looking to improve on your skills, find a compo and participate. I didn't learn as much in FL Studio just messing around as when I had time restrictions. There are plenty of competitions, so it's not hard to find one.”

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