From Singapore, Gregory Tan is a cinematic music composer for multimedia. Due to his background and training as a violinist, it becomes evident in most of his compositions. The string arrangements in his compositions can be heard working together sequentially with the orchestra, while sharing with the melodic piano melodies. The percussion itself can't be missed and it is what makes the music really heightened. Tan has provided music for commercials and sonic cues for well known TV networks such as HBO and MTV. Recently, Tan has gotten into composing for indie game development companies as well as creating an entire soundtrack for a gaming system.
“Rising Sun” can easily be paired with the next big action /adventure movie. Its fade in to a string section/orchestra brings us into the setting. This track incites a feeling of hopefulness and a sense of a new beginning. The percussion section is amazing in its entirety, with its crescendos to fortissimo making it evident for the listeners. Tan’s ability to control and now how to manipulate the dynamics really helps encapsulate the whole setting he wants to portray with his compositions that would be suited for any film maker in need of an epic track to accompany their cinematography.
Our #BuzzMusic Exclusive with Gregory Tan.
Care to introduce yourself to our readers? Can you give us a brief history of your musical career?
Hi, my name is Gregory. I hail from Singapore but lived in Melbourne Australia for a short while.
I’m a composer for multimedia (Film, TV, Commercials and Games), but it was not always that way. I was classically trained as a violinist from the age of 6. When I completed the ABRSM syllabus at 16, all I wanted to do was avoid Classical music entirely. I mean, Classical music is so uncool when you’re a teen right?
So when I heard a classmate play Master of Puppets by Metallica on guitar one day, I decided I had to go pick up the instrument. Soon after, I purchased my first electric guitar and never looked back. Slowly, I got involved in various genres of music that featured the guitar prominently. This led to stints in bands and even appearing on Australian radio numerous times. When Berklee College of Music launched its distance learning course, I enrolled online to obtain a Specialist Certificate in Blues, Rock and Jazz guitar.
In 2013, I found myself gravitating especially towards Post-Rock and Epic Orchestral music. So I started learning and exploring how to write soundtrack/trailer-styled music.
When I finished University in 2016 and returned to Singapore, I was fortunate enough to find organisations that needed music for their brand commercials. I also found music publishers in the US that placed music in network TV and soon after, started writing TV cues for shows aired by HBO and MTV. In 2017, I was contacted by various game developers who had heard my work to compose music for their games. The latest game I’ve scored for is entitled “Hero Sentry”; a VR game developed by a company known as Refocus-Solutions in Denmark soon to be released on Steam in the Fall of 2018.
So this is where I’m currently at.
How did you come up with your name? Is there a meaning behind it?
My real name is pretty much what I use when I showcase my work. Gregory Tan or G.T. Music; which is a short abbreviation for the former. I don’t see a reason to use a moniker given that I’m not a performing artist or a big name in the industry that has to protect my privacy etc. I’m quite happy with my own identity.
Do you write your own music? Can you tell us a bit about your writing style?
I write, perform, mix and master everything that’s available to the public. Obviously there’s varying degrees of quality depending on when the song was released, given that I’m still growing in my craft, but I was sort of “forced” into wearing all these hats, and I’m grateful that I get to grow in multiple areas simultaneously. I also don’t feel ashamed of the
“weaker” tracks that are out there and instead tend to use them as markers in my journey to remind myself where I’ve been.
My style of writing is very stringed based, given that I’m a strings player, but it’s also heavily piano driven at times. The one thing that’s HUGE for me is melody. Sometimes I form melodies in my head and they stick in an almost obsessive way and play on repeat till I get them out into my D.A.W or instrument of choice. I craft songs around these melodies and use a variety of other instruments to support these tunes until finally, everything culminates in an intense or majestic piece.
These days, I’m obsessed with Orchestral sounds. Scoring Orchestral tracks was a huge learning curve for me even though I’ve played in ensembles before. It’s easy to just focus on your part, learn it and regurgitate it. It’s something else to know how each instrument sounds like, it’s role in the orchestra, how it’s timbre or the note arrangements paired with it would affect the overall song.
I also have Synesthesia – a condition that allows me to see colours when I listen to music. This has been very helpful in my career insofar and definitely affects the way I compose.
We’re really into your new song! Can you tell us a bit about it? Where did the inspiration behind the song come from?
Thank you so much for the kind words and for listening. “Rising Sun” was initially written for an exclusive music library’s album compilation. The project fell through, but I was left with a short, relatively impactful uplifting orchestral track that radiates positive and inspirational vibes.
At the time, I was working on a video game OST and most of the compositions in there were rather dark, intense, or gloomy. Being contacted to write an uplifting orchestral piece by this library was sort of like a breath of fresh air. I never knew how much I needed it until I sat down at my workstation and everything just flowed from there.
What’s next for you?
I’m in the midst of prepping a personal release of mine. It’s a compilation EP of 6 Hybrid Orchestral compositions I wrote between July and August this year. It feels refreshing to finally have some room to focus on my own music instead of always having to tailor my work to fit a form of multimedia. That said, I’m not complaining as I know how privileged I am to be in such a position where I can do what I love for a living.
My wife and I also intend to head to the States (either LA or NY) sometime soon to live and work. We hope to be able to further ourselves and grow in our respective fields. More importantly, we hope to provide value to the community around us and leave the place(s) we’re called to a little better than how we first found it.
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