Likes: Seeing a song go from the tiniest iota of an idea to a master. Long meals with close friends. Discovering music. Traveling often. And doing all of those things with my wife, E, and my dog, Dr. Harvey.

Dislikes: Bored people, bland food, and bullshit.

Favorite Food:  Tacos    (all variations)

Quote: “If you don’t know what to do, there’s actually a chance of doing something new.” – Philip Glass

Mick Utley is a writer/producer and composer based in Nashville, TN. He spent his childhood playing piano and went on to study jazz at The University of Miami. It was there that he fell in love with writing music and playing in bands. Through his exposure to the recording process during this time, he started experimenting with production. After years of recording, touring, and performing in bands, he now spends his time writing songs, producing, and composing for film and television.

Mick Utley VGM Artist Interview

Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) of choice

Ableton Live

Favorite Media Composers

Johann Johannsson, Max Richter, Olafur Arnalds, Philip Glass, Nils Frahm

Favorite Scores

High Noon, Fargo, Arrival, There Will Be Blood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Discuss your personal creative workflow

I generally like to start by writing a theme at the piano, away from my computer. But for this project, it just so happened that I did a lot of traveling over the course of the year. I did most of the initial writing away from any instrument. When I found an idea worth chasing, I’d make a quick voice memo on my phone so I didn’t forget. I also found a lot of inspiration from the noises in my surroundings as I traveled and I carried a Zoom handheld recorder with me. I was able to capture some samples that I used throughout the project. Then, whenever I was ready or had the time to sit down and work on the piece, I would record the melody and start building from there.

Discuss the theme of your Artist Series album

Thematically, I approached this project with a less is more attitude. I wanted to achieve minimalism with every choice I made on the album, keeping everything as simple and concise as possible. For instance, I found myself removing melody notes that were better implied. I also didn’t introduce instrumentation that didn’t continue to play a role throughout the piece.

Discuss gear that is important to your workflow

I like to approach reverb and saturation more as instruments than effects.I find that changing and automating parameters on the plugins really helps develop the piece. On a couple of the more ambient tracks on the album the reverb actually acts as the lead instrument.

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