An Interview With Composer Dan O’Connor

dano-head-shot

Dan O’Connor is a composer and the owner of the website Dano Songs, here is a link to his website:

http://www.danosongs.com

Q: What is Dano Songs?

A: It’s my royalty free music site where I allow producers of films, videos, games and other media to use my original music for free if they credit me. Sometimes media producers are doing commercial work and cannot credit me so I offer paid options for that too.

Q: What gave you the idea for the site?

A: The site started with just one page because I wanted to promote a pop rock vocal CD I made in 2008. I began by giving away a few tracks for free. At that time I started playing around with making instrumental music using software on the computer and I added a few mp3s to the page. The instrumental music I made was just for fun, I never wanted to be a composer, just a singer/songwriter. So I let people know they could use it in their videos, games, films or whatever using the creative commons license.

The page started to get many visitors and I got more and more requests for music. So I kept expanding danosongs with a blog, community and now over 100 instrumental tracks. My composing, mixing, arranging and production skills have improved dramatically too, mostly through trial and error. After over 4 years I make a good part of my income from DanoSongs which is amazing to me.

Q: What makes your music unique?

A: Because I use virtual instruments and MIDI I can make music quickly and the production quality is mostly very high. That is mainly why I am able to offer the “free with credit” option. I also have the need to create with fresh sounds and experiment with new styles for every track. So this has made the library of music pretty diverse now that I look at it.

Most of all, with every track I create, I have the intention of inserting a certain vibe I feel in myself – into the music. So each track carries a piece of me in it. It’s hard to explain, but it’s really much more than just music to me. It’s like a meditation.

Q: What are some of the projects that have used your music?

A: Well much to my surprise, if you go to YouTube and search “danosongs” you can see about 160,000 videos that use my music. Also, you can go to my page on the Internet Movie Database at imdb.me/dano to see the film projects that include the songs on the soundtrack. Plus I have some corporate customers like Disney, IBM, and 3M that use the music in training videos and other content.

Q: What inspires you?

A: Finding, listening to and composing in new styles – DubStep, Dirty South, UK Funky House, Tribal House are a few if the recent genres I have been experimenting with. I also get excited about making really useful music that I know will work well in videos to set a mood. That type of music has to be subtle as not to overpower the dialog – usually light piano, guitar and strings. It’s really inspiring to see my music being used by schools, churches and charities all over the world. I’m really thankful to see danosongs being used as an actual community resource.

Q: Who are some of your musical influences?

A: For electronic music production my main influence is Will.i.am. I admire his fresh sound and ability to mix pop, rock, jazz and other styles. As a singer/songwriter I grew up with the Police/Sting, U2, Bily Joel – 70s and 80s classic songwriters. Now I’m crazy about Coldplay and Adele. My favorite singer is Nat King Cole. I don’t sound like him, but I strive for the warm, full clarity of his vocals.

David Bowie, Sting and David Byrne are my biggest influences overall as they are successful as musicians, actors and fine artists. That is always what I wanted to do so those guys have made a big impression on me.

Q: What is your strangest work story?

A: When some guy downloaded all my songs, released 5 entire CDs of my music, did not credit me and sold them on Amazon and iTunes. Then he added all my songs into the YouTube Content ID system under his name and started collecting ad revenue. It was a nightmare. I think the guy thought the music was public domain, which it is not. Thankfully the digital distribution company took it all down!

Q: What do you like about show business?

A: It’s really fun! Making the music, meeting new friends online and seeing my tracks used everywhere on the planet is a blast. But mostly I enjoy the creative process of experimentation, exploration, learning and making something that feels true to me.

Q: What don’t you like about it?

A: Well since I run my own business online I need to deal with server issues, taxes, making invoices, technical support, reading contracts and lots of other tasks that are boring but necessary! I’m still a beginner when it comes to running a business and it can be daunting at times.

Q: If you couldn’t work as a professional musician what other job do you think you could do and how would it incorporate the skills you have?

A: Well that is easy because I have been an actor my whole life. Acting in film and video is even more fun, dynamic and engaging for me than music. I really enjoy the combination of story, performance, visuals and audio. My acting resume, reel and latest videos are at http://www.danobuzz.com

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

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