US TV music composer, Josh Molen has been working on Investigation Discovery (I.D.) network’s Murder Chose Me and Murder Calls using his iD22 USB audio interface and ASP880 8-channel mic preamp, which have helped refresh his composing technique. “I had to start thinking about how to set myself apart,” he says, having noticed that the same loops from popular virtual instruments and libraries were appearing in many shows and commercials.
“Once I got the Audient gear it was just perfect. I don’t know how I survived before having the function controls on the iD22. They make switching to alt monitors and checking mono super easy.”
“I thought if I set up a mic and recorded myself playing a real instrument, no one else would have that sound,” he explains. “The Audient iD22 and ASP880 are a huge help because I’m no longer trying to figure out how to record four things when I’ve only got a couple of good preamps,” he says, admitting that when moving his setup from his dad’s well-stocked Mojo music studio to a writing/composing room at home, getting hold of good mic pres was top priority. “Once I got the Audient gear it was just perfect. I don’t know how I survived before having the function controls on the iD22. They make switching to alt monitors and checking mono super easy.”
Describing his new way of working, he says, “I started acquiring a bunch of different kinds of instruments and using them on tracks I was writing. When I turned in this new music, I noticed that the clients seemed to be really digging it. So I just went all in. Now I try to only pull up virtual instruments as a last resort or when I need to write music very quickly. You lose a little flexibility and speed when you are setting up mics and tuning instruments, instead of simply opening a virtual instrument, but – nine times out of ten – the payoff is way better by recording the real thing.” He adds, “On top of that, it’s also a lot of fun and gets me away from simply sitting at a computer like I’m doing my taxes.”
“I like to use the iD22 internal pre’s as a kind of anything goes, stereo pair on my desk.”
Let’s hear more about Josh’s setup in Tennessee: “The iD22 is the hub for all audio. At any given time, I have a few synths hooked up as well as a couple of mics. I have a guitar cab ISO booth in another room. I’ll often run a ribbon mic from there into an external preamp (usually a Daking) and then into the ASP880’s converters. I also keep a roaming condenser mic (usually a Jolly modded mk219) set up for any miscellaneous stuff I might need to record for a track.
“I like to use the iD22 internal pre’s as a kind of anything goes, stereo pair on my desk. For example, if I get a weird little synth or effects box, I’ll just stick it on my desk and plug it in. That way, I can leave everything that’s in the ASP880 untouched.”
So how does he go about composing for a new TV show? “Once a style is decided, I’ll listen to music the producers like and music I think would work in that style. I’m just trying to absorb different ideas and sounds before and during the writing process. Doing this usually keeps away writer’s block since you’re constantly taking in different musical ideas.” Does he see any footage during the composition process? “When I first started, nearly twelve years ago, we always used to work to picture; however, deadlines got tighter, and now it’s usually necessary to write a large collection of tracks that they can pull from when editing.”
“I’m such a big fan of iD22, but I didn’t want to take it out of the studio every time I needed something for a small mobile rig. I figured the iD14 would be perfect.”
Not only does his music appear on I.D., Discovery Channel, ESPN, History Channel, TLC and many well-known cable TV networks, but Josh also runs production music library, The Tune Peddler which provides royalty-free music to everyday content creators including YouTubers, film-makers and gamers. “One client of note that features my music is the Fine Brothers’ REACT Channel with videos amassing well over 40 million collective hits on YouTube.” Chances are, we’ve all heard something Josh has recorded – impressive!
Most recently he invested in an iD14. “I’m such a big fan of iD22, but I didn’t want to take it out of the studio every time I needed something for a small mobile rig. I figured the iD14 would be perfect.”
An excellent choice, we think.