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Triple Advantage
Triple Advantage

Season 3, Episode 32 · 1 year 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 welcome back to triple advantage. Bonus action episode. It's been some time. Today we have one of the first of many hopeful interview he's coming from the DDTTRPG space. 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 happy to talk about Dungeons and dragons and music and just dive into this. Love it and, of course, today joining us we have a Braden from the regular criple advantage podcast. Say Hello, Braden, if you want hello. I'm also very tired. Thank you for thank you for agreeing to wake up early with us. Shot. All Right, yes, get your coffees in you guys, and Oh let's get into this. So, Sean, couple icebreaker questions that we have. In general, we're always curious as to how people got into ttrpgs and just generally your background in the genre. So direct question here. How did you find dungeons and dragons or, if you know, whatever TPG that you like to play normally? Um, I mean like off and on through like high school and stuff like. I would try to like I didn't have like money to buy books, so I would look up like the three point five e like players handbook and DMG and stuff like online and try to find that and try to five front, try to find friends 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 like this thing like in the back of my mind, like man, it would be 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 needed a couple more players and invited me and my wife to join them and like we 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's that do? What did you play on that? I was it was okay, cool, and I guess I was meaning more like what kind of what class 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 played world of warcraft back in the day and loved my hunter. When did you start playing? Wow, like a what did it? What a pretty Oh gee, oh, wow, okay, yeah, so vanilla, Vanilla. Yeah, yeah, I got into world of warcraft in wrath and that was pretty much when I started to high school.

I got I bought a video card that came with like a third day wild trial and I remember going to like 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. I always got into like the auction house and like reselling the alchemy stuff for like right days and whatnot. My survey it got like very money ball. Oh yeah, it got. It got wild. The WOW economy was insane. The crazy 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 how you kind of started. I had a friend that I think we got to the three five, the starter addition, but we kind of didn't even read the rules. We could just sort of like laid out the maps and minis and we were like okay, we're gonna run mock dungeons and it was like a one on one type thing. We don't even know if like I could even say like there was a dungeon master who was like a turn base thing that we were just doing against monsters and then just rolling against ourselves with the attacks. But yeah, do you have like a fond dd memory that you can recall or I could probably talk about that all day, if I'm being honest. Of the fond and de Memory, I'm trying to think of a really good one. So one of my characters was an evil aligned a highlf warlock, and the rest of the party was not aware that he was evil and kind of doing some things behind their back. So like framing in PC's and stuff for things that I had done and the like. Seeing those events play out and then like basically seeing the rest of the party turn into like murder hobos against those INPC's that were completely innocent and like we're just trying to live their lives and better themselves and stuff, was really like satisfying for that character arc. It did eventually come to light that like yeah, I mean he's doing bad stuff, but like now he's trying to do bad stuff for good people. Yes, it's a little changer. Hurt Braden likes to play a 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 you got to have the right group of people for that. are that are everybody's just mad. But yeah, fortunately, enough like that. That was like at the very beginning of like playing with a new group, and then we all became like friends. So I was like divulging things like out of character, like actually, this thing that happened. That was Aravan. I did 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 remember the sorry Burton, of you like casting someone lesser demons or greater demons and 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 with the 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 of thought that that was fun. Oh, warlocks, all would we do without you? Have a decent so get a lot more done. Yeah, probably, actually, yeah, so, Sean. I then from starting to play dnd to what you're doing creatively now, when and how did you decide to start 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 a byproduct of the pandemic. Like I was just at home for pretty much like two three months straight and had a friend that was creating like battle maps and stuff and releasing them on Patreon and like he started to see like a little bit of like growth and success and I was like, Hmm, I could do that, but with music. And I mean I've liked been playing music for 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 that too in high school, or like mediocre like rock bands like local to my area, and then I got into like recording after my wife and I like had our second child, first child, and then that kind of fell off and not tried to get into like composing for like Independent Video Games, but that's just a really hard market to break into. So for a really long time, 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, pretty much 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 you so? You've mentioned you mentioned quite a few influences there. Do you really draw from anything that you listen to normally...

...when you're creating stuff for micro or is it's fairly off the dome based on ttrpg alone? It kind of depends on the project. So if it's like a commissioned piece or something like that and they have like a reference track, you know, I'll definitely like dissect the 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 different enough that it's like this is not this piece of music, this is an 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 on like tick tock and like just search music theory or Chord progressionss and then find 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 four times. So with that is there. Is there like a tick Tock Pasta version of music that you found? How does it like? How does it work? 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 so many 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 videos and then if I think like what they're playing, like, it's usually like a guy at a piano that's like to here's this chord progression, play something over it. Kind of thing like do at this or whatever. Oh, cool, and yeah, I'll just like write down a whole bunch of different chord progressions and then kind of like work through them like myself and kind of figure out different things because again, like I I would love to be doing this full time, but like little things like that make the creative process a lot 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 Series Nobuoyumatsu is a big one for me, as well as like the western composer Enio more cone. Back in like the S, I think, was when like all those like Spaghetti Westerns were like a really big thing. Yes, those is what kind of music do you listen to? Normally? Do Find Yourself spending time listening to like ambience music,...

...or I do sometimes, but it's also hard to create music when you're listening to music. I'm not a music 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 John on this one. I do you ever? Do you ever listen to your own Shaw, like if you're trying to get into a creative headspace, like you listen back on stuff that you've created in the past? Honestly, all the time. Yeah, I am right there with you. I think like some 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's pretty 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 desk is like on the other side of the room from mine, and sometimes she'll be like hey, play that one thing that you did for this, because she is also like a creative person, will like work on art we're just sitting in here. Sounds like a really positive little creative office that you guys have them, because are a sort of feeding back and forth. Jealous. It's pretty nice. Yeah, yeah, and I got to say, like that's one of the things that like really when listening to your tracks. It's one of the things that really impressed me about it is that there's such a first of all, like between the albums right, like there's such a breath of just like styles between the songs that you have, and then within those songs there's so many like musical instruments and you can tell that it's truly a composition and you're bringing a lot of elements together and your orchestrating this into a song, 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 theory and just adapted to to the sounds that you want to add to to your songs? So it's pretty much like what I'm playing is all like a like a keyboard that is connected to my computer and I have like a massive library of like different instruments as part of like a subscription service thing, kind of like how adobe has like their creative sweet and stuff like that. Stuff like that exists for like music and cool like audio plug and stuff like that as well. So and then if I'm like, because piano is not my main instrument, so if I like am unable to play what I want it to be, I'll like just like plug it in on like the piano roll in 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 be honest, it's like lots of fun.

Get Jack Colos I. I'm looking at 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. We gotta change that. Yeah, we do, Carlos, give me money. I need to subscribe to Sewan. But I'm looking at your band camp releases. Hotter Than Hell, is that? Is that your most recent one on band 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 camp and Monti. Yes, and like the promotional stuff on like twitter, like I'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 that do like maps or adventures, and providing like track specific for those and kind of bundling them and releasing them together. I think in February I did like a 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's cross you to me. I do I do maybe six every month and a half and that I couldn't do what you do, my goodness. But looking at hotter than Hell specifically, so you've crafted a six track soundtrack to go along with descent into averness, the DD adventure. Have you so? I'm guessing probably. Yeah, you probably played through averness at one point or another. Um to a certain extent, our DM kind of combined that module with acquisitions incorporated, if you're familiar with that one. Interesting. Okay, I don'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 was going to be from like a story standpoint. Advertising made it made it seem like it was going to be incredible. It's definitely it was fun, but there's so many other like big, hourful entities that exists, like because you're in hell. I don't I don't know that you feel like the heroes at the 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 enough persuasion 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. So when 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 bring to life? Was it a general ambient soundtrack, or were you looking at maybe a specific encounter, a specific location in averness and going that's what I'm trying to bring to life in my sounds? So for hotter than Hell, there are definitely like some that are definitely intended to be kind of soundtracks for certain parts of the module, like infernal war machines. Is just something that I came up with. You. Have you played the module? Are you familiar with it? I've read through it as a couple of times, but I never played it myself. Carlos, okay, I've never had a pleasure playing up. Nice thing, Gotcha. So the infernal war machines are basically like 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 straightforward kind of metal kind of song. To kind of go with that, like you're riding through hell on motorcycles, like of course it's going to be like this driving bassline and like guitar driven thing, and the wandering emporium also is kind of in the description for that area. It talks about like a lot of like you being able to hear percussive instruments. So that's it's just like a 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's like any song. So I was viving without a lot and like something that I really enjoyed was like the again, just like the scope right, like you're going from like metal tracks to like very heavy percussive tracks, like what's your experience composing in that end like that? That's that's a like I don't know from my unexperienced eyes. That's a but the like all that's already kind of like a broad range and then, like all your other songs are like very 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 like music program at my high school. So I felt, you know, very fortunate as somebody that loved music that I got to experience like cool kind of production stuff. Like we did a lot...

...of fun stuff. Not Going to get super deep into that. And then also I was in choir as well and we did some stuff with like local orchestras on occasion and working with like other 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, you know in various genres, would sound like. And our school also offered a couple of music theory courses like as electives, and I thought that I would be going to school, to college for like music composition, music education and like I wanted to be in that space. And then I got lazy as an eighteen year old, but I definitely took advantage of those courses at that time 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 and metal scene. So, you know, I definitely feel like those experiences combined have 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 to something like this, but I know Braden is also part of a of a couple local bands as well, so I do maybe maybe he's connecting with you a little bit more. Yes, I only play in crappy rock bands as my requirements. If they're if they're good, they don't need me. But I do. One thing that I do want to pick your brain about a little bit as a creator is patreon because, okay, we at the Rosary Society we use DMS guild for our physical releases. Physical, quote unquote digital, but like written releases, I suppose that's the word. We use sounder for our podcasting platform and then I, as a musician, use band camp as a release tool. But we've always we've kind of batted around Patreon as something we may pursue. Do you feel what do you feel like are the pros and cons of that? is a creative like. Do you feel it gives you more freedom to do what you want? Do you feel like you're almost behold into your patrons at that point? Like where is it? What do you what are your thoughts on that? I honestly think that anybody that is willing to sign up to be like a patron of somebody's patreon doesn't necessarily care so much about like the rewards that they get or whatever. I think that a lot of times it's more like I support your body of work and like 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 like how many of my patrons are downloading or like viewing each specific track or anything like that. But yeah, I don't...

...know. I patreon is kind of a weird beast. I just feel like the the name recognition of it is kind 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 could get the same thing from. You can, it's just the one that I landed on. You would say, though, that you've had pretty much positive experiences for 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 in like your active patrons until the end of the month, which is kind of a weird thing. I think that is strange. Sure, suddenly get paid and you realize you have half the paycheck you did last month. It's kind of weird. Yeah, something like that. Me Personally, that has not happened, but I know like a ton of creators that you know, have more successful patreons, like they do have a significant amount of like positive and negative flux in their numbers over the course of the month that Patreon just does not reflect immediately, and I think that that is strange. To follow that, to follow that question up a little bit. So you did mention previously that 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 different packages that you do. Are these people that you found through patron, because I know a lot of them looking into it. Do have their own platform 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 group of creators. I see it. Will it tell me how many people are in it? Like yeah, like a hundred and fifty people maybe. Okay, that are like writers, composers, illustrators, Matt makers, stuff like that. So a lot of like collaborative stuff comes from there. Like I'll just 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 gone well 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 want to do that again? I I'm sure. Yeah, awesome. It's a really I really like this community for the actually, like I've been noticing a lot of other groups, especially like people who are trying to make like virtual tabletop services and whatnot, like they're starting to create like bundled packages of maps and music and preset sort of prestaged environments so it's really interesting what this is allowed, especially like with the boom of like how many players are no actively like spending time on tabletop games now? MM, it's really cool to see the actually, like I had no idea that self from a Saturday was a thing until Britain found out about and sort of just posting on it on started spamming our link to everybody that would possibly link you. Yeah, but like even just like I love scrolling through and seeing what people are posting is actually super, super, super cool. Like we were talking about it on the podcast earlier, but there's some people creating really interesting game settings and really interesting podcast or mats and it's it's inspiring to see all that and definitely you percolate a 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 run a 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 are creating, and it's so much and it's so exciting to see. It can be a little overwhelming. Oh Yeah, for sure, I absolutely there's so much there's so many. There's so many dnd shows now, like if you go on twitch, like the categories, just like so many like people are trying 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't get 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 like the 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 you what are the next couple of things you're working on? And that's some of all. That's so job interview. We like. What do you bring to the table, Sean so Seawan Um, if you were to tell me what your biggest, biggest weakness shown. No, it's your biggest I think I was a 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 starting on April first and then monthly I'll be...

...releasing to my highest tier on Patreon playlist modules that you can load directly into foundry virtual tabletop that is like a curated kind of collection of tracks for to set like a certain mood. So the one coming up in April is all actually like the first tracks that I did for Patreon, which are collection of twelve tracks based on the twelve labors of 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 am said. And then I'm trying to keep a google sheet of like the what is coming up monthly after that. So I think probably will do like a combat 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'm thinking about. Well, I think that this is a really cool way for me to get like a back catalog of my music back out in front of people, because when I started my patreon, like I was mostly just like posting two friends for several months in a row and then, you know, like slowly, like people that like I didn't know started trickled in. I remember, I want to say it was like maybe November of last year when I got like my first person that like I did not know as a patron and I was like freaking out about it. Well, this ranger likes my stuff. Yeah, I think. Yeah, I think we had a similar feeling when like the first person that wasn't in our friend group followed this in Royal 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 quit like your job and just like dive into it, but you know, you can 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 that sort of quote unquote portfolio. Right. So I'm really hopeful for your Shaana. Hopefully that, you know, some game studio finds you would that be fun. But it's been wonderful talking to we're just running onto the end of the the show here. Is there anything you'd like to shout out to the Internet in general here? Um, I...

...guess you know. Check out my patreon. Patreoncomlah mcrow music. Follow me on twitter. At Sean mcrow. I mostly just do a lot of retweeting of other creators and and stuff like that. So if you're looking for other people to follow, you can probably find a pretty pretty good list on my twitter feed. Yeah, aside from that, 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 out your 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 link for that is. Those have been pretty fun. I think you're actually the first person that we have that's not within the like again, like the little friend group that we have that's on this show, and this has been really fun 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 more and 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 on whenever you guys want me. Amazing. That band camp everyway, is micro music dot band campcom. For anybody that's looking at exapt. I just got it figured out. I will I will be definitely picking up howder than hell on the next band camp Friday, for sure. I suggest everybody listening go 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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