Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Don't Dream It's Over - Film Clip

A few months ago, I was approached by film crew who wanted to create a film clip for my dark interpretation of Crowded House's Don't Dream It's Over.

I was very excited at the opportunity to be part of a film clip and jumped at the chance.

The final clip is quite a confronting piece and takes cues from the musical treatment of the traditionally uplifting song.

I'm really pleased with the final clip and thank all those involved for their endless enthusiasm for the clip as well as their technical achievements.

Check out the clip below

- Andrew

Music/Audio Credits
Original song by Crowded House
Original arrangement written and recorded by Andrew Rostas in collaboration with John Walsh
Thanks to Brad Jackson for an excellent sounding mix

Film Clip Credits
Director: Ryan Macabenta
Producer: Tegan Lynch
Cinematographer: Owen Stephens
Art Director: Luce Macleod
Editor: Christopher Mann
Assistant Director: Rebecca Binfield

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Sound Design - Exciting Times!

I have recently started working on a project with an old school friend.  Way back when... well... a long time ago now, I was in the same year at school as Sandy Sutherland.  We worked on a few things back then, but ultimately pursued our various interests and life continued.

Sandy has done some amazing work with computer generated graphics and visual effects, working on films including: Gravity, Dawn of the Planet Apes, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Dark Night, Sherlock Holmes.... you get the idea.  He's kind of awesome at what he does.

Anyway, a few months ago, he approached me to see if I would be interested in working on a VR game that he was working on.  We have started down the long road of brainstorming ideas, writing an awful lot of lists, design documents and to-dos, but I'm happy to say that so far, things are moving along really well.

I've also started to learn FMOD (a middleware program for adaptive audio and its integration for apps and games).  I'm really enjoying the challenge of designing interactive sound as opposed to doing foley work on fixed timing films.

Here is a little peak at what it looks like.

FMOD - My first interactive or adaptive sound!

I hope to upload some screencasts once I have a few more things to share so I can talk about what I've done and how I've put them together.

That's about all that I can share with you at this time, but I hope to upload some progress reports in the coming months.

- Andrew

Friday, April 15, 2016

Writing an Arrangement for ViƱa del Mar International Song Festival

I was recently employed to arrange an original song written by Melbourne artists Allison Ellguetta and Shawnee Brennan.
I've done a number of large scale arrangements before, but this is the first one that I've done for an international TV ensemble.

I think it turned out quite well in the end.  Skip to 10:36 for the song.  Big congratulations to Allison and Shawnee on the song and to their achievements in the competition!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Guest Speaker @ Ableton Live User Group

Ableton User Group (Melbourne) Guest Talk

On Wednesday 16th September I gave a guest presentation with long time collaborator and friend, John Walsh.  We had been asked to talk about the art of collaboration, specifically talking about how we managed the process during our most recent collaboration Don't Dream It's Over, by Crowded House.

It was a really rewarding experience and I think it was well received.  I would strongly recommend anyone in Melbourne who is interested in using Ableton to come along to these monthly events.

Presenting Don't Dream It's Over at the Ableton User Group @ The Channel

Text from the event blurb:
This month's session is about collaboration.

We have a couple of guest speakers Andrew Rostas and John Walsh who are coming in to talk through their recent collaborative project.

Andrew Rostas started his musical education at an early age on the piano, and has completed a Bachelor of Music (double major in composition and music technology) from the University of Newcastle and Newcastle Conservatorium in 2003. Since completing his bachelor degree, Andrew has continued to involved himself with a broad range of musical activities. Playing in a number of local original rock bands, taking part in experimental improvisational ensembles (with Tom Donald), working as a session musician for a number of Melbourne studios, composing music for video artists (Shaun Wilson), arranging and working as a producer/engineer for many original artists in his home studio.

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/stass/tracks

Website: http://www.andrewrostas.blogspot.com.au/

His creative collaborator is John Walsh, comes from much more of a technical, rather than musical approach, reading manuals rather than manuscript. Andrew and John will talk through a recent collaboration, opening up their live set and explaining how their drastically different approaches to music creation have complimented each other.

Entry is free, and we welcome all attendees no matter what level of experience you have with Ableton Live. The user group is a chance to meet with other producers, share our knowledge, get feedback and hang out with other like minded enthusiasts.

Ableton User Group Melbourne is thrilled to be partnered with "The Channel" in Arts Centre Melbourne, for these events. If you have never been to the Channel before, it is right on the Yarra above Hamer Hall. (See pics/map)

It is easy an easy walk from Flinders St. station.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Transcription and Engraving Work

Well, it has been another long while since my last post, but things have not stood still. Quite the opposite.  I'm currently working on a few music education projects but I thought that I would tell you all about the latest few musical things that I have done.

The last two weeks seem to have been transcription and engraving heavy.  It started with Australian composer Ric Mills contacting me to create a score of three of his piano works: PeaceIrrelevant and Grounded.   

The process of transcribing Peace and Grounded was relatively straight forward (unfortunately I can’t show the score as I don’t have copyright of it).  However, the process for creating a score for Irrelevant presented some interesting challenges.  The nature of the piece was described to me by the composer something like "a melody which is desperately trying to show itself through a thick dissonant texture".

The nature of the work lends itself to a more or less consistent four / four meter, but I thought that the composition might work better without bar lines as there isn't a suggestion of emphasis every four beats.  Perhaps I was influenced by Philip Glass's experiences working with Ravi Shankar??

I ended up creating two versions of the score; one with bar lines and one without as neither of us were willing to commit to one or the other.  I hope to hear about the performance of these works at an upcoming concert in the near future.

The other large transcription work which has now been completed was organising a team of musicians to create piano/vocal rehearsal scores for a new Australian musical “Cook”, composed by Gareth Hudson & Nick Higginbottom from Newcastle (NSW).  We had less than 2 weeks to create these scores from recorded songs.  I had to organise a team of musicians to assist me as there was too much for a single person to do.  I’d like to thank Stewart Taylor, Gemma Turvey, Sam Donovan and Joseph Beckitt for their efforts to to get this done.  Using Google Docs and Dropbox to coordinate everything we managed to complete this mammoth task. 

Tutorial on Enharmonic Spelling of Written Intervals

This seems to be something that many students have difficulty understanding, especially once you start talking about diminished and augmented intervals.  This tutorial goes through a two step process which I like to teach students which allows (hopefully) students to confidently identify any written interval between a perfect unison and a perfect octave.

I hope this helps you and/or someone you know better understand the process of correctly naming written intervals.

- Andrew

Enharmonic Spelling of Written Intervals (Tutorial) from Andrew Rostas on Vimeo.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Effective Rehearsals - How can I get more out of rehearsals?

Effective Rehearsals

Over the years I have attended many rehearsals both as a musician and as a supervisor.  All too often I have seen large amounts of time wasted because bands/ensembles have a misconception about what rehearsal is.  Time spent in rehearsal studios need to be productive.  Often musicians are time poor and need to maximise the little time that they have together.  The following is a list of what I have found to greatly assist the effective use of time within a rehearsal context.  I hope that these tips will help you get more out of your rehearsal times and therefore be able to achieve greater musical performances.

Set Goals

Each rehearsal should have some goals attached (even if those goals are something like “jam out and experiment with a section of a new song”).  Having clear goals can really help to make rehearsals an efficient use of time.  As I said above, musicians are often time poor.  The less time is being wasted, the more likely other musicians will be willing to give their time to a project.


At the end of each rehearsal, each musician should leave with a clear idea of what they need to work on between now and the next rehearsal.  You should try to set individual tasks as well as ensemble tasks.  Some example tasks might be:
  •        Learn the lyrics of a specific song(s)
  •       Chart the form/chords
  •        Learn a specific solo/part
  •        Set up sounds (guitar/keyboard especially)
  •        Practice vocal harmonies

Keep notes (come prepared)

This is really part of Homework.  When you make notes of things to work on between rehearsals, write them down; either using pen and paper or digitally.  Make sure you complete the tasks and come prepared for the next rehearsal.  The last thing that anyone wants is someone who continually comes to rehearsal without making progress as this is a waste of everyone else’s time.
Another great tip is to make notes during rehearsals regarding chord and/or form changes.  This is especially important when working on originals. 

Rehearsal is NOT practice

As I said above, time spent in rehearsal studios with the whole band is so precious; you don’t want to waste it.  You should not use band rehearsal time to practice things that you can work on individually.  Again, this leads to other band members feeling like their time is being wasted.  Make sure you come to rehearsals having achieved your goals from the previous rehearsal session.

Provide Charts/Lead sheets.  If none exist, create your own

One of the biggest time wasters is playing a song over and over with the whole band so the form can be learnt.  It is far more beneficial to write down the form of the song as a chord chart which can be shared with all band members.  Not only is this great aural and chart writing practice when writing the charts, but it’s great reading practice too.  This will also allow you to really work on performing the song. 

Listen – It’s not just about you

When playing with other musicians, always try to listen to what is happening within the ensemble.  You might hear some conflicting rhythms or notes within the ensemble which could be addressed.  I remember countless times when writing original songs within a band where I had come up with a part that I was really happy with, only to realise that it was conflicting with another instrument/part.  By acknowledging this, you are able to isolate the issue and work out a solution (either to be solved then and there or set as a homework task).
Sometimes during rehearsal it’s hard to have a critical listen, I’d suggest regular recordings on portable devices (digital recorders or phones).  Not everyone has to do it, but if there is someone in the ensemble who is good at that stuff, sending around an MP3 of a song or rehearsal for review can be really beneficial.  A review can be done either individually or as a group, or both.  Don't forget that this could form a homework task to be discussed at the next rehearsal.  

Acknowledge when you made a mistake so it's not necessary to revise with the whole band

Don’t be afraid to acknowledge if you make a mistake during rehearsals.  No one is perfect.  By acknowledging that you have made a mistake you can save valuable time in rehearsals.   I learnt this technique while singing in a chamber choir.  The signal was raising your hand briefly after the error.  This indicated to the choirmaster that: “I am aware that I made a mistake and it was either a one-off, or I know what I did wrong and will fix it in my own time.”  Feel free to experiment with your own system but try to implement a similar system.  You’ll be surprised at the results. 

Be Punctual

This sounds like basic stuff, but again I see it happen all too often.  If your rehearsal is from 3pm – 5pm, make sure you are ready to start at 3pm.  If you require 15 minutes to set up for rehearsal, make sure you are there 15 minutes beforehand.  As a common courtesy to others using the rehearsal space, make sure you vacate the rehearsal studios at the allocated time.  This usually means finishing 10-15 minutes before your time is up so that you can pack up and debrief from the rehearsal without eating into another band’s rehearsal time.  If you find you are running late to a rehearsal it’s good manners to let the rest of your band know.  On the flip side, if a band member is running late, there are always things that can be worked on without members.  Break it up, try something different.

Hope you found this helpful.  Happy rehearsing!

- Andrew Rostas

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Session with Lesle Lewis

Wow! Almost a whole year has gone by with out a single post on my poor music blog!  Rest assured that I have not been doing nothing.  2011 was a huge year full of wonderful things, just not a lot of them musically oriented.  

Now where was I??..

Last week I had the pleasure of doing a session at The Base studios in South Melbourne.  It was a two day session with Indian producer/composer/musician Lesle Lewis.  Others involved were local musicians Luke Hodgson (bass), Leigh Fisher (drums) and Marcel Yammouni (guitar).  First of all, it was an absolute pleasure to play with these musos.  I think the thing that I appreciate the most about good musicians when they play is the communication through physical gesture, aural interaction and just nutting out an arrangement on the fly.  Big shout out to Phil Threlfall at The Base for being an all round legend!

Musically, the session was quite interesting because Lezz was trying to weave a delicate blend of western influence into his music.  The result was like a western accompaniment to an Indian melody.  I found it really interesting listening to how subtle some of the differences were between western melody and Indian melody, yet the differences give distinctly different flavors of melody and phrasing.

Lezz running us through one of his songs at The Base
I'm not yet sure exactly what Lezz has planned for these songs that we recorded last week, but I'm really curious to hear the finished product.  He was taking them back to his studio in India to record vocals and mix.

I'll keep you posted.

- Andrew

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Timothy Cannon Album Finally Available

Well it's been about a year since we started working on Timothy Cannon's first solo album and I'm happy to say that it's now available for listening and purchasing on iTunes, Amazon and a number of other online music retailers.
We are all super happy with how it all came out and can't wait for you all to hear it.

To help you get a bit of a feel for the album and how it progressed, we put together some little video snippets throughout the recording process.

Last but not least, here is a sneak-peak at one of the tracks off the album.  The song, "Coming Home" gives you a good snapshot of what the album is like arrangement and sentiment wise.  Hope you like it.

Preview track: Coming Home by Timothy Cannon

We hope to start playing gigs around Melbourne and hopefully make it to other cities around Australia to promote the album and eventually get some physical copies of the album out too.

Till that time though, you can buy the album digitally from the link below.  Thanks for reading.

- Andrew

Sleeping On the Shoulders of Giants - Timothy Cannon

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Back Back Forward Punch EP Launch

A few months ago now I helped out a great electro band called "Back Back Forward Punch". I recorded vocals for their single "What Do We Do" and assisted with some of the structural elements of the song. You can hear the finished product in the link below.

What Do We Do? by Theory Works

Also on the topic of Back Back Forward Punch was their actual EP launch which they did in conjuncture with Kiss FM. It was a great launch sitting in a nice little courtyard with the afternoon sun streaming in with cold beer and warm pizza in hand listening to a live broadcast set from the electro three piece. You can watch highlights from the launch in the video below, which includes a great cover of the John Farnham song, "Age of Reason" to which I also recorded the backup vocals for! =)

If you get the chance, I'd recommend getting along to see these guys!

- Andrew