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Triple Advantage
Triple Advantage

Season 3, Episode 32 · 10 months ago

Bonus Action - McRoMusic

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Carlos and Braeden sit down with Sean McRoberts, the creator and composer behind McRoMusic, a TTRPG-focused music project, to discuss his influences, creative process and upcoming projects.

...hellow members of the society and welcomeback to triple advantage. Bonus action episode. It's been some time. Today wehave one of the first of many hopeful interview he's coming from the DDTTRPGspace. It's wonderful. We have the creator, composer behind macro music,Sean mcroberts. Sean, hello, welcome to the show. How are you? Thank you so much for having me. I'm very tired, but I'm happyto talk about Dungeons and dragons and music and just dive into this.Love it and, of course, today joining us we have a Braden fromthe regular criple advantage podcast. Say Hello, Braden, if you want hello.I'm also very tired. Thank you for thank you for agreeing to wakeup early with us. Shot. All Right, yes, get your coffeesin you guys, and Oh let's get into this. So, Sean,couple icebreaker questions that we have. In general, we're always curious as tohow people got into ttrpgs and just generally your background in the genre. Sodirect question here. How did you find dungeons and dragons or, if youknow, whatever TPG that you like to play normally? Um, I meanlike off and on through like high school and stuff like. I would tryto like I didn't have like money to buy books, so I would lookup like the three point five e like players handbook and DMG and stuff likeonline and try to find that and try to five front, try to findfriends to play with. But we didn't really know what we were doing.And then that happened like a couple of times and like it was always likethis thing like in the back of my mind, like man, it wouldbe really cool to like play some tabletop games with some friends, hang out, the whole you know thing. And then in two thousand and eighteen,my best friend had a another friend that was starting a new campaign and neededa couple more players and invited me and my wife to join them and likewe were just hooked from session zero, like it just like all gas,no brakes from that point forward. Do you remember where you played? What'sthat do? What did you play on that? I was it was okay, cool, and I guess I was meaning more like what kind of whatclass race, what kind of what kind of character do you have? Oh, sorry, yeah, I was a ranger, pretty classic. Sorry.When I think yeah, I mean I'm a big Fan. Like I playedworld of warcraft back in the day and loved my hunter. When did youstart playing? Wow, like a what did it? What a pretty Ohgee, oh, wow, okay, yeah, so vanilla, Vanilla.Yeah, yeah, I got into world of warcraft in wrath and that waspretty much when I started to high school.

I got I bought a video cardthat came with like a third day wild trial and I remember going tolike the table of friends and I was like, who else plays here?It's suck to my life for about a year. I'll pretty sure. Ialways got into like the auction house and like reselling the alchemy stuff for likeright days and whatnot. My survey it got like very money ball. Ohyeah, it got. It got wild. The WOW economy was insane. Thecrazy game like and like it's so odd because, like for me,I started with like role playing games and then it is very similar to howyou kind of started. I had a friend that I think we got tothe three five, the starter addition, but we kind of didn't even readthe rules. We could just sort of like laid out the maps and minisand we were like okay, we're gonna run mock dungeons and it was likea one on one type thing. We don't even know if like I couldeven say like there was a dungeon master who was like a turn base thingthat we were just doing against monsters and then just rolling against ourselves with theattacks. But yeah, do you have like a fond dd memory that youcan recall or I could probably talk about that all day, if I'm beinghonest. Of the fond and de Memory, I'm trying to think of a reallygood one. So one of my characters was an evil aligned a highlfwarlock, and the rest of the party was not aware that he was eviland kind of doing some things behind their back. So like framing in PC'sand stuff for things that I had done and the like. Seeing those eventsplay out and then like basically seeing the rest of the party turn into likemurder hobos against those INPC's that were completely innocent and like we're just trying tolive their lives and better themselves and stuff, was really like satisfying for that characterarc. It did eventually come to light that like yeah, I meanhe's doing bad stuff, but like now he's trying to do bad stuff forgood people. Yes, it's a little changer. Hurt Braden likes to playa lot of warlocks because I never see might be the the same person Sean, because I've done the exact same thing with an elvin warlock in a party. It's so much fun, it's great. Well, yeah, I mean yougot to have the right group of people for that. are that areeverybody's just mad. But yeah, fortunately, enough like that. That was likeat the very beginning of like playing with a new group, and thenwe all became like friends. So I was like divulging things like out ofcharacter, like actually, this thing that happened. That was Aravan. Idid that. I burned down our boats...

...so we couldn't get back home,so we had to trek forward. Yeah, that's that's fantastic. I just rememberthe sorry Burton, of you like casting someone lesser demons or greater demonsand said some stuff up. That's I made some chop keep made me mad. So I cast someone lesser demons in the shop and everybody didn't like that. Nobody. Nobody like that. But I was also the only one withthe knowledge of the arcade, so I was just like yeah, it happens. You know, Demon's Jevens just pop up like what do you mean?Somebody, some of them get off my back, and everybody just kind ofthought that that was fun. Oh, warlocks, all would we do withoutyou? Have a decent so get a lot more done. Yeah, probably, actually, yeah, so, Sean. I then from starting to play dndto what you're doing creatively now, when and how did you decide tostart making ambience? Is that something that you've always enjoyed at the table?It kind of was a thing that just kind of came about as like abyproduct of the pandemic. Like I was just at home for pretty much liketwo three months straight and had a friend that was creating like battle maps andstuff and releasing them on Patreon and like he started to see like a littlebit of like growth and success and I was like, Hmm, I coulddo that, but with music. And I mean I've liked been playing musicfor nearly twenty years in some capacity, whether that is like middle school band, playing tenor saxophone or like playing shout out tenor sacks. I played thattoo in high school, or like mediocre like rock bands like local to myarea, and then I got into like recording after my wife and I likehad our second child, first child, and then that kind of fell offand not tried to get into like composing for like Independent Video Games, butthat's just a really hard market to break into. So for a really longtime, from like two thousand and fourteen to like two thousand and twenty,I wasn't really like putting any music out into the world and then covid happened. I was bored at home and was like let's see what happens, prettymuch to the same thing about this entire podcast at that point. Really Yeah, I think probably a lot of creative endeavors have have been born from this. What if paddle this sheer board and live in right now? Do youso? You've mentioned you mentioned quite a few influences there. Do you reallydraw from anything that you listen to normally...

...when you're creating stuff for micro oris it's fairly off the dome based on ttrpg alone? It kind of dependson the project. So if it's like a commissioned piece or something like thatand they have like a reference track, you know, I'll definitely like dissectthe theory behind that kind of get into like the Chord progressions like the melodies, the instrumentation, and try to like more or less rip that off,because that's like the vibe that they want, you know, but make it differentenough that it's like this is not this piece of music, this isan original piece of music. That's all music is, right, exactly.But for like normal patreon releases, honestly, what I do is I'll get onlike tick tock and like just search music theory or Chord progressionss and thenfind a cool chord progression that I like and then just build something around that. A lot of the Times, like I've done that like three or fourtimes. So with that is there. Is there like a tick Tock Pastaversion of music that you found? How does it like? How does itwork? I, like I'm not actually even part of Tick Tock to you, as like I haven't really like dove into that space, but there's somany avenues I've heard for like cooking music creators, I guess in this case, like do you find certain artists on Tick Tock that you like to follow, or is it just like the lily? No, like, like I said, I'll just like search that like terminology and then click on some videosand then if I think like what they're playing, like, it's usually likea guy at a piano that's like to here's this chord progression, play somethingover it. Kind of thing like do at this or whatever. Oh,cool, and yeah, I'll just like write down a whole bunch of differentchord progressions and then kind of like work through them like myself and kind offigure out different things because again, like I I would love to be doingthis full time, but like little things like that make the creative process alot easier because it it's already like built a base for me to kind of, you know, build around and like make my own thing out of.But general inspiration, like favorite composers and things like that. Final Fantasy SeriesNobuoyumatsu is a big one for me, as well as like the western composerEnio more cone. Back in like the S, I think, was whenlike all those like Spaghetti Westerns were like a really big thing. Yes,those is what kind of music do you listen to? Normally? Do FindYourself spending time listening to like ambience music,...

...or I do sometimes, but it'salso hard to create music when you're listening to music. I'm not amusic creator I would have thought the opposite usually, because usually I don't know, like a burden. How does that compare to you? I'm with Johnon this one. I do you ever? Do you ever listen to your ownShaw, like if you're trying to get into a creative headspace, likeyou listen back on stuff that you've created in the past? Honestly, allthe time. Yeah, I am right there with you. I think likesome of the stuff that I have like worked on, like, I mean, I'm not trying to toot my own horn, but like I think it'spretty good, or I wouldn't release it's very good. And then sometimes,like my wife and I, we share like an office space and her deskis like on the other side of the room from mine, and sometimes she'llbe like hey, play that one thing that you did for this, becauseshe is also like a creative person, will like work on art we're justsitting in here. Sounds like a really positive little creative office that you guyshave them, because are a sort of feeding back and forth. Jealous.It's pretty nice. Yeah, yeah, and I got to say, likethat's one of the things that like really when listening to your tracks. It'sone of the things that really impressed me about it is that there's such afirst of all, like between the albums right, like there's such a breathof just like styles between the songs that you have, and then within thosesongs there's so many like musical instruments and you can tell that it's truly acomposition and you're bringing a lot of elements together and your orchestrating this into asong, and it's it's really impressive to me. Like I do you?Do you play a lot of those instruments, or do just necessarily pull from theoryand just adapted to to the sounds that you want to add to toyour songs? So it's pretty much like what I'm playing is all like alike a keyboard that is connected to my computer and I have like a massivelibrary of like different instruments as part of like a subscription service thing, kindof like how adobe has like their creative sweet and stuff like that. Stufflike that exists for like music and cool like audio plug and stuff like thatas well. So and then if I'm like, because piano is not mymain instrument, so if I like am unable to play what I want itto be, I'll like just like plug it in on like the piano rollin my workstation. But that's super tedious to me. I can imagine,like I zero knowledge of what like music production is is like. To behonest, it's like lots of fun.

Get Jack Colos I. I'm lookingat so is hotter than hell. I'm not. I'm not a patreon subscriber, unfortunately. I'm sad to say that you need money for that. Wegotta change that. Yeah, we do, Carlos, give me money. Ineed to subscribe to Sewan. But I'm looking at your band camp releases. Hotter Than Hell, is that? Is that your most recent one onband camp? Yeah, I do need to do some updating to that,because you have a lot of stuff on your instagram that's not on band campand Monti. Yes, and like the promotional stuff on like twitter, likeI'm pretty much releasing at least a new piece of music every week, okay, and also collaborating with other creators like in the community, like people thatdo like maps or adventures, and providing like track specific for those and kindof bundling them and releasing them together. I think in February I did likea total of like twelve or thirteen tracks. Wow, and it was honestly overwhelming. So I have scaled that back a bit for March. That's that'scross you to me. I do I do maybe six every month and ahalf and that I couldn't do what you do, my goodness. But lookingat hotter than Hell specifically, so you've crafted a six track soundtrack to goalong with descent into averness, the DD adventure. Have you so? I'mguessing probably. Yeah, you probably played through averness at one point or another. Um to a certain extent, our DM kind of combined that module withacquisitions incorporated, if you're familiar with that one. Interesting. Okay, Idon't know if it played out exactly how he wanted in like his mind,and the averness module was maybe like not as cool as everybody thought it wasgoing to be from like a story standpoint. Advertising made it made it seem likeit was going to be incredible. It's definitely it was fun, butthere's so many other like big, hourful entities that exists, like because you'rein hell. I don't I don't know that you feel like the heroes atthe end. Like it's more like we helped copy the Patties, we help, we have zerial do her thing. Maybe if we rolled a high enoughpersuasion check, but we are what did we do? I don't know.We were just in Helle for a long...

...time. That's and toasty. Sowhen you when you then, when you went to work on hotter than hell, was that, we're there, specific moments that you were trying to bringto life? Was it a general ambient soundtrack, or were you looking atmaybe a specific encounter, a specific location in averness and going that's what I'mtrying to bring to life in my sounds? So for hotter than Hell, thereare definitely like some that are definitely intended to be kind of soundtracks forcertain parts of the module, like infernal war machines. Is just something thatI came up with. You. Have you played the module? Are youfamiliar with it? I've read through it as a couple of times, butI never played it myself. Carlos, okay, I've never had a pleasureplaying up. Nice thing, Gotcha. So the infernal war machines are basicallylike motorcycles that run on Demon Iger Acre. I think it's Acre. Well,we'll ask twitter and so that is like very much just like a straightforwardkind of metal kind of song. To kind of go with that, likeyou're riding through hell on motorcycles, like of course it's going to be likethis driving bassline and like guitar driven thing, and the wandering emporium also is kindof in the description for that area. It talks about like a lot oflike you being able to hear percussive instruments. So that's it's just likea collection of different percussive like sections that I put together really like that.But like I'm a soaker for percussion, like just deep bass, and it'slike any song. So I was viving without a lot and like something thatI really enjoyed was like the again, just like the scope right, likeyou're going from like metal tracks to like very heavy percussive tracks, like what'syour experience composing in that end like that? That's that's a like I don't knowfrom my unexperienced eyes. That's a but the like all that's already kindof like a broad range and then, like all your other songs are likevery different sort of genres within your album as well. I would say that, like being a part of like high school band kind of help shaped that. So like I know like what a composition like that should sound like.I was fortunate enough to have like a very well funded, very large likemusic program at my high school. So I felt, you know, veryfortunate as somebody that loved music that I got to experience like cool kind ofproduction stuff. Like we did a lot...

...of fun stuff. Not Going toget super deep into that. And then also I was in choir as welland we did some stuff with like local orchestras on occasion and working with likeother choirs and like working with the band apartment. So since like high school, like I've just had an idea of like what a full composition, youknow in various genres, would sound like. And our school also offered a coupleof music theory courses like as electives, and I thought that I would begoing to school, to college for like music composition, music education andlike I wanted to be in that space. And then I got lazy as aneighteen year old, but I definitely took advantage of those courses at thattime and a lot of that has like stuck with me. And then,as I said, like I played in a bunch of crappy rock bands.So I was around like other bands and like the this whole like rock andmetal scene. So, you know, I definitely feel like those experiences combinedhave given me like a very wide range of knowledge of different kinds of music. I guess. Yeah, I think it's hard for me to relate tosomething like this, but I know Braden is also part of a of acouple local bands as well, so I do maybe maybe he's connecting with youa little bit more. Yes, I only play in crappy rock bands asmy requirements. If they're if they're good, they don't need me. But Ido. One thing that I do want to pick your brain about alittle bit as a creator is patreon because, okay, we at the Rosary Societywe use DMS guild for our physical releases. Physical, quote unquote digital, but like written releases, I suppose that's the word. We use sounderfor our podcasting platform and then I, as a musician, use band campas a release tool. But we've always we've kind of batted around Patreon assomething we may pursue. Do you feel what do you feel like are thepros and cons of that? is a creative like. Do you feel itgives you more freedom to do what you want? Do you feel like you'realmost behold into your patrons at that point? Like where is it? What doyou what are your thoughts on that? I honestly think that anybody that iswilling to sign up to be like a patron of somebody's patreon doesn't necessarilycare so much about like the rewards that they get or whatever. I thinkthat a lot of times it's more like I support your body of work andlike I've got a couple extra bucks and I want to support it like financially. Like I have no idea like what the like analytics would say about likehow many of my patrons are downloading or like viewing each specific track or anythinglike that. But yeah, I don't...

...know. I patreon is kind ofa weird beast. I just feel like the the name recognition of it iskind of what drew me to it initially, especially like in the TT RPG space. But I'm sure that there are plenty of like alternatives that you couldget the same thing from. You can, it's just the one that I landedon. You would say, though, that you've had pretty much positive experiencesfor the most part with you. Um, for the most part.Yeah, the way that like numbers and stuff sometimes work like are weird,like if people leave, like it doesn't notify you or or reflect that inlike your active patrons until the end of the month, which is kind ofa weird thing. I think that is strange. Sure, suddenly get paidand you realize you have half the paycheck you did last month. It's kindof weird. Yeah, something like that. Me Personally, that has not happened, but I know like a ton of creators that you know, havemore successful patreons, like they do have a significant amount of like positive andnegative flux in their numbers over the course of the month that Patreon just doesnot reflect immediately, and I think that that is strange. To follow that, to follow that question up a little bit. So you did mention previouslythat you had linked up with several other content creators in order to do collaborations, in order to do soundtracks for maps, in order to do all these differentpackages that you do. Are these people that you found through patron,because I know a lot of them looking into it. Do have their ownplatform on here, or did you find them just through general marketing and communication. Um, more so the second one. So there is a very large,I'm on a lie and say that it's prestigious as well, discord groupof creators. I see it. Will it tell me how many people arein it? Like yeah, like a hundred and fifty people maybe. Okay, that are like writers, composers, illustrators, Matt makers, stuff likethat. So a lot of like collaborative stuff comes from there. Like I'lljust shoot out a message like hey, I'm setting stuff up for April.Is Anybody want to collaborate? And there's...

...usually a few responses and then,through doing that, I have a few people that you know, it's gonewell and we liked what each of us was working on throughout the project.So I'll just message them directly on discord and be like hey, you wantto do that again? I I'm sure. Yeah, awesome. It's a reallyI really like this community for the actually, like I've been noticing alot of other groups, especially like people who are trying to make like virtualtabletop services and whatnot, like they're starting to create like bundled packages of mapsand music and preset sort of prestaged environments so it's really interesting what this isallowed, especially like with the boom of like how many players are no activelylike spending time on tabletop games now? MM, it's really cool to seethe actually, like I had no idea that self from a Saturday was athing until Britain found out about and sort of just posting on it on startedspamming our link to everybody that would possibly link you. Yeah, but likeeven just like I love scrolling through and seeing what people are posting is actuallysuper, super, super cool. Like we were talking about it on thepodcast earlier, but there's some people creating really interesting game settings and really interestingpodcast or mats and it's it's inspiring to see all that and definitely you percolatea little bit of that information. You try to adapt a little bit,at least on our end, right because like we're running for trying to runa show and trying to like do this whole sort of creative group type thing. It's it's definitely in our best interest to keep track of what people arecreating, and it's so much and it's so exciting to see. It canbe a little overwhelming. Oh Yeah, for sure, I absolutely there's somuch there's so many. There's so many dnd shows now, like if yougo on twitch, like the categories, just like so many like people aretrying to like shoot their shot and create something and it's really wonderful to see, if I think right, like it's a lot of people that normally wouldn'tget there, like would normally like have the Gusto to do like something unique, but because of the nature of dd right, like the nature of likethe game itself or, you know, ttr pigs, like the Party style, right, it gets everybody together and it's really cool personally. But yeah, Sean, what can we expect from you, like, what are youwhat are the next couple of things you're working on? And that's some ofall. That's so job interview. We like. What do you bring tothe table, Sean so Seawan Um, if you were to tell me whatyour biggest, biggest weakness shown. No, it's your biggest I think I wasa trying to ask is, what do you have coming up next?What do you wi? Can we expects you in the creatives better way about? Biggest weakness is definitely taking on too many projects at once. Upcoming startingon April first and then monthly I'll be...

...releasing to my highest tier on Patreonplaylist modules that you can load directly into foundry virtual tabletop that is like acurated kind of collection of tracks for to set like a certain mood. Sothe one coming up in April is all actually like the first tracks that Idid for Patreon, which are collection of twelve tracks based on the twelve laborsof Hercules for like a thorough setting or other setting based in like mythology.That's really hard. Those the coolest thing I've ever heard. That's really amsaid. And then I'm trying to keep a google sheet of like the whatis coming up monthly after that. So I think probably will do like acombat one. Will probably release the hotter than hell as a foundry module.And Yeah, I've got I've got a couple more in the pipeline that I'mthinking about. Well, I think that this is a really cool way forme to get like a back catalog of my music back out in front ofpeople, because when I started my patreon, like I was mostly just like postingtwo friends for several months in a row and then, you know,like slowly, like people that like I didn't know started trickled in. Iremember, I want to say it was like maybe November of last year whenI got like my first person that like I did not know as a patronand I was like freaking out about it. Well, this ranger likes my stuff. Yeah, I think. Yeah, I think we had a similar feelingwhen like the first person that wasn't in our friend group followed this inRoyal City societies, instagram pagers of the it's like baby steps are over.It's such a good feeling. Yeah, I like it's you want to quitlike your job and just like dive into it, but you know, youcan get that a bad idea. Stupid job security keeping me from a dreams. It's cool, though, because I got this kind of builds out thatsort of quote unquote portfolio. Right. So I'm really hopeful for your Shaana. Hopefully that, you know, some game studio finds you would that befun. But it's been wonderful talking to we're just running onto the end ofthe the show here. Is there anything you'd like to shout out to theInternet in general here? Um, I...

...guess you know. Check out mypatreon. Patreoncomlah mcrow music. Follow me on twitter. At Sean mcrow.I mostly just do a lot of retweeting of other creators and and stuff likethat. So if you're looking for other people to follow, you can probablyfind a pretty pretty good list on my twitter feed. Yeah, aside fromthat, I think, I think that that that's that's all I got.And you have a band camp to so make sure right listeners go check outyour band camp. The forgotten child that took it. We got you.Yeah, I let's log into band camp because I don't remember what the linkfor that is. Those have been pretty fun. I think you're actually thefirst person that we have that's not within the like again, like the littlefriend group that we have that's on this show, and this has been reallyfun for me, I think now just actually interacting with people in the community, and we at the Royal City Society are looking forward to do this moreand more and hopefully we can have you back on in the future. Yeah, I mean, I had a blast. I would love to be back onwhenever you guys want me. Amazing. That band camp everyway, is micromusic dot band campcom. For anybody that's looking at exapt. I justgot it figured out. I will I will be definitely picking up howder thanhell on the next band camp Friday, for sure. I suggest everybody listeninggo do the same. It's a great album. Oh, we'll show.It's been wonderful having a here and till next time.

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