Tom Rory Parsons Q&A

Hey everyone! 

Just a bit of background. Tom Rory Parsons is our composer, he's a pretty awesome creative partner and I'm lucky to have worked with him the last few years! Last week we opened up channels so you could send in your questions, below are all the questions and answers!

Q: How did you first get started in podcasting? Have you made scores for other forms of media like games or movies?

A: Well I got into making audio drama on my final year of my music degree and I made one of my final major project. The following year in 2016 I met Daniel Burnett who told me about someone called Jon Grilz who he had just met online about a new project called Small Town Horror. This was my first series to work on and I can't believe it's been several years now since it first came out. It was good fun to work with Jon and our 3 editors Daniel, Zachary and Steve. In terms of other media I did score a fan made Doctor Who film back in 2017 and I am currently working on my own video game project.

Q: What software do you use to make music and how long have you been making it (music)?

A: I started writing songs back in 2011 during college at this point I just wrote stuff for guitar and vocals. By 2012 I started writing songs on Sibelius which is notation software program. 2012-2015 I got to compose music on logic and also on pro tools. In 2014 was when I began an interest in composing music for media and in 2015 I made an audio drama for my final project on my music degree. Since leaving college I now mostly compose In reaper using a ton of virtual instruments from companies such as Native Instruments, Cinesamples and Spitfire Audio. Since composing for loads of audio dramas since 2015 I have built up quite the arsenal of sounds.

Q: What’s your process when you receive a new episode? What do you listen for to inspire each episodes music?

A: When I recive a file it will contain all the dialogue and sound effects which have been edited by Pacific those far. Before I receive I file I have a roughs synposis of what each episode is about which means some of the bigger tracks can be prepared before hand. 
Most of the music is composed within the project ill insert the file into my daw reaper and then ill start adding midi tracks so I can start composing to the audio. Once I have roughly what I want ill listen back and start adding more layers, chopping, adding effects and changing levels etc. Having the synopsis and being able to read the SCPs on the website can be usefully but hearing the actors and sound effects is what I think is most vital to respond to.

Q:  Are there any specific composers and/or music artists that have or still do influence your work?

A: John Carpenter who composed the scores to films such as Halloween, The Fog and Escape From LA. One thing I really admire about Carpenter was ability to create simple pieces and make them memorable and iconic. One of the Pieces from Halloween that go used in some of the chase sequences even uses a single piano note with synth sounds underneath but yet despite that one note when you hear the track you know were it is from. 
Daniel Licht who scored the TV series Dexter.The music for Dexter often varied from the Dark and mysterious to light and Mischievous. The music for Dexter was always very immersive it could truly pull you into the mind of a serial killer. Many of the pieces utilize the piano with synths or strings underneath. I do really love the sounds of a piano sustained over a synth or some strings and hearing the piano ring out over some lightly pressed notes or chords. I recommend listening to the Blood Theme
Malcolm Clarke who composed music for a number of 80s Doctor Who stories such as Earthshock and Terror of the Vervoids. The Soundtrack to the episode Earthshock is a lovely combination of sound design and synths that truly create a wonderful sense of fear of the Cybermen. The metallic hits represent a march of an army one made of metal. The sound of modern Doctor Who tends to focus on a more orchestral approach and while I enjoy this also it doesn't quite feel the same as the way the show use to those older pieces of music really did sound alien and I think this is something modern music fails to capture.
David Bowie 
Bowie had quite the influence on me back in my guitar/vocal songwriting days were I would try my best to replicate the sound of his voice and also by creating strange and bizarre lyrics. Since going into composing Bowie's instrumental work now plays as influence to some of the pieces I compose. If any of you have heard some of the tracks from Low or off Outside you will know Bowie could create some truly haunting pieces
Bear McCreary 
Composer of the TV series The Walking Dead and films such as The Boy and the upcoming Child Play remake.
The walking dead isn't wall to wall music like other shows in facet there are long stretches without music but when the music is there it plays a crucial role. The theme music itself I have found quite interesting in that the composer recorded tons and tons variations so the theme music however so subtle is never the same as the last. Bear has used his sound design skills on the show to even incorporate a Kazoo were he layered the sounds of the Kazoo and dropping the sounds an octave. 
I have done this myself on a few SCP episodes by layering sounds such as camera shutter sounds and changing the pitch and added many effects such as delay or reverb. 

Q: How long does it take you to score each episode?

A: This really depends on how long the episode is, how much music is needed and how complex the music is going to be. Also it can depend on how many tracks I have prepared before hand. Some episodes I have done in an evening while others take about a week.

Q: What’s your favorite episode of SCP?

A: Some of my favorites so far are 682, 106 and 1981

Q: Do you have any formal training in music? Or did you teach yourself?

A: 2 years on a music diploma, 3 years on a Bachelors degree and 2 online courses in Music for the Media and Cinematic Orchestration 

Q: What’s the hardest part of composing music?

A: Time and dealing with health conditions. Health conditions being the main focus I have scoliosis so it is difficult to stay in the same position for to long without getting in a lot of pain. Another health conditions which effects composing is that I have sensitive hearing and tinnitus so loud noises, certain sounds and anxiety can effect the severity of those on a daily basis.

Q: Tell us a bit about our personal life? What obstacles have you had to overcome to get to where you are today?

A: Adding to the conditions I mentioned earlier in another question I also have Aspergers Syndrome so I am not the greatest a socializing and can come across as rude to others. I was badly bullied as a child and in my teen I was attacked almost every day at my first 2 schools and then when I got to high school it was a bit less severe but it still went on. Over the years of being bullied for such a long time I had very little confidence and learnt from a young age the world can be a very cruel place.

Q: Are you playing any video games and if so, which ones are your favorites and which are you currently playing?

A: Past few weeks I have been playing Dead by Daylight, Friday the 13th and Batman Arkham Knight. Other games I enjoy include The Suffering, Gears of War, Lego Dimensions, The Evil Within, We Happy Few and Alan Wake

Q: What TV shows/movies do you like?

A: For TV some of my favorite shows Include Doctor Who, The Walking Dead, Buffy, The X-Files, Dexter, Merlin, Sherlock, Dirk Gentleys Detective Holistic Agency, The Following and Farscape  For movies I live Marvel and DC movies, Friday the 13th, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Psycho, It, Alien and The Thing.

Q: Do you like Horror? Do you have another favorite genre?

A: I love horror but I also love sci-fi action, fantasy, crime 

Q: Where are you from/where are you located?

A: The UK

Q: Tea or coffee?

A: I am very fussy with what I drink all I have is water, fruit juice and milk.

Q: Do you play any instruments and if so which ones? 

A: Guitar, bass, Stylophone, ukulele and little bit of piano.

Q: What other podcasts have you worked on that we can check out?

A: Small, Town Horror, Aftershocks, All's Fair, Organism and Pulp, Pourri Threatre to name a few.
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