Interview with music composer and digital artist: Joshua Hardin

joshua-hardin

Joshua Hardin is a music composer and visual artist with a wide range of experience in the creative industries both in the UK and the US. Joshua has built a diverse career having worked for TV, film and Games companies. His work includes illustrations, sound effects, music soundtracks and digital art.

Find out what makes Joshua passionate about his work, and how he has used his skills to approach and create projects.

Iain: How did you get into the audio and visual design domain?

Joshua: My background is heavily rooted in music and fine arts. I’ve been a musician for the majority of my life and during my first two years in high school, I was fortunate to had been awarded scholarships to attend fine art classes every Saturday at the Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD – www.ccad.edu), which I feel helped me to remain focused and grounded during my teenage years. Shortly after high school I attend a small college university called the School of Advertising Art (SAA – www.saa.edu) located in Kettering, Ohio, USA, where I studied visual communications and advertising illustration. After graduating from the university, I landed a decent job working as a production visual designer for a regional publishing company. Two years into working for the publishing co., I decided to expand my career towards the interactive creative industry, so I began working part time as a freelance visual designer/sound designer, creating engaging animated Flash authored websites and also composing custom music and audio for multimedia.

Iain: What can you tell us about your approach to artistic projects and could you reveal to us how you prepare your designs?

Joshua: My approach is pretty much ‘text book’ in implementation. I start projects with brainstorming sessions and rough doodle sketches in order to come up with solid creative concepts and ideas, which I will later present to a client in verbal and written form. If a client initially brings their own ideas to the table, no problem, I’ll usually work with what is presented and simply perfect and take their idea further… (Without a strong visual concept or idea, the design usually tends to fall flat and will not effectively communicate the intended message to the client’s target audience.)… Concepts are king.

After the client has approved the concept and initial rough sketches/wireframe layouts (having sent me a tangible written e-mail message of approval), I’ll then move directly into the fabrication of the actual design, creative style and layouts.

Iain: What’s the process you go through to make a sound effect, or loop?

Joshua: That’s a bit classified (chuckles)… But seriously, I think many music composers and sound designers have their own special secret ingredient recipes for creating sound. However, the process of producing audio and music is straight forward… I start with a simple analysis by examining, who is the audio to reach?… Such as the intended audience. Secondly, what is the audio to accomplish?

To further elaborate on my audio production process… Often times I have certain sound ideas and audio impressions already in the works (in mind) and I’ll go directly into writing/playing out melodies and rhythmic concepts which randomly develop within my imagination, just to get the creative juices flowing. I create ‘audio sketches’… Very similar to going through the motions of brainstorming and rough doodle sketches during the visual design process. I am a twofold creative professional who thinks in both visual and audio, therefore the actual creation process is somewhat parallel.

Iain: Where do you get your musical inspiration?

Joshua: My musical inspiration is fed by many diverse sources. The most prominent sources are film scores and popular music. Sounds and rhythmic patterns heard in nature also inspire me. Nature is dynamic, and never repeats itself twice. We experience and hear entirely new palettes of majestic and beautiful sounds every time you and I step outside our front door… That is, if we stop and take the time to listen.

Iain: How do you work with film directors and clients to produce original music?

Joshua: During in-person meetings or telephone conference calls with a director or client, it is important to be an excellent listener, possessing an attitude of humility and arrive with the purpose in mind to support the director’s vision or client’s desires. In return, I’ve found that clients generally show the same respect and consideration. How I work with a client tends to vary from person to person. I have worked more with commercial clients than actual film directors. However, I look forward to the opportunities of working with serious film directors in the near future.

Iain: Can you tell us a bit about the situation in the UK at the moment for music composition?

Joshua: Over the past six years I’ve lived in both the UK and the United States of America, so I understand the situations in both countries. The demand for talented, skilled music composers and sound designers is steadily and rapidly increasing. However, the competition out there is fierce… Many great composers around, yet there is enough work available to go around, if an individual is proactive and diligent in his or her efforts towards actively going after opportunities in order to become successful in the industry.

Iain: What kind of technology and tools are you using at the moment to create your work?

Joshua: I’m a PC workstation enthusiast. My primary digital audio workstation (d.a.w) is Steinberg Cubase. I also utilise Pro Tools and FL Studio Producer for various projects. Sony Sound Forge and Adobe Soundbooth are my go to Swiss Army tool sound editors. I also enjoy playing/recording analog musical instruments.

Iain: Any projects in the future we should know about?

Joshua: Be sure to follow and stay tuned to www.JoshuaHardin.com for new arrivals of visual art, design, music and sound productions.

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