Ask @benprunty:

Do you want to become popular with everyone and anyone with your music, or are you happy with the simple, small, like-minded community that you have now?

Kailan Walker
I would definitely like to be more popular than I am now, simply because being more popular directly translates to more financial security for me and my partner Allison. That said, I do enjoy my tiny community of fans. It's nice to be able to engage with everyone. Past a certain point in popularity, I would no longer be able to talk with everyone so easily, which would be a shame.

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Why did you go to GaymerX? (I feel obligated to add that this is just out of curiosity and I have nothing against homosexuality)

Honestly I simply try to go to every game event that I can. I have *a lot* of game developer friends and events are a great way to hang out with everyone, and to meet a lot of the people I interact with on twitter. It's a great way to meet fans, too.
Also, I really like the message of inclusiveness that GaymerX stands for. Many of my game dev friends are from marginalized groups and have directly experienced some truly horrific shit just by being different. I want things like GaymerX to continue to exist, so showing my support by buying a ticket and attending is important. This is my industry, and I hope to be in it for the rest of my life, so working towards making it a cool place for everyone works out for me, too.
I wasn't aware that GaymerX happened 15 minutes away from my home until a few days before the event, otherwise I would've attended for more than just one day!

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Do you collect physical albums/soundtracks?

While I appreciate the aesthetic value of, say, cool vinyl albums, I don't really like collecting *anything*. I strongly dislike having extra stuff in my home, and physical clutter gives me a very real anxiety that is detrimental to my work and overall health. Maybe if I had a large house and could display a collection in an aesthetically pleasing way, I might take up collecting something, but I wouldn't even know what to collect. :P

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Ben, thanks for being so involved with your community. You inspire me, and you've given me lots of helpful advice through your blog :)

You're welcome! It's really important to me to be helpful, and I'm glad it can be useful to you. :) hope you're able to watch the livestreams too! Twitch.tv/benprunty YouTube.com/benprunty

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Do you think your music would be very different if you had started out using a different DAW?

That's a good question! I think there probably would have been many differences. Cubase's array of audio effects is obviously different from other DAWs, and I use them heavily. Everything I made on a different set would have sounded distinctly different. Also, Cubase has no live/improv mode like, say, Ableton. That's definitely going to affect things.
I'm not sure how much Cubase affected my writing style, but it must have had *some* effect.

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Have you done much ear training? How well are you able to hear what chords, notes, and intervals are interacting in your songs? Are you able to keep those things in mind when writing or do you just go off what sounds good?

I haven't done a lot of ear training, but I can usually identify chords and intervals. I usually can't name individual notes in a chord though. I work off a combination of what sounds good and my music theory knowledge. This article covers that in more detail:
https://benprunty.com/2014/09/29/color-sky-how-i-composed-metro-molecule/

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With your current partner, did you start out polyamorous, or did it evolve into that?

Khan amil
We had been together for 3 years before we decided to be polyamorous. We had talked about it here and there in those first three years, but never really seriously. It was Allison who finally decided to start a serious discussion about it. That was 11 years ago, and we haven't looked back since. :)

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What is the optimal ratio of lettuce to beef in a hardshell taco? Additionally, what is the optimal ratio of strips of steak to peppers/onions in a fajita?

3:1 ratio of beef to lettuce in a hardshell taco. Keep in mind that lettuce has more volume but less mass. For a fajita, each individual large ingredient (steak strips, onion slices, pepper slices) should be distributed in *roughly* equal amounts, with a slight advantage given to peppers.

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How long would you expect a game composer to take to come up with music for a game?

It's definitely a matter of months. And more precise than that and it depends entirely on the length of the soundtrack, the style of music, and the state of the game itself when the composer joins. Let's make a bunch of assumptions:
1. Hour-long soundtrack
2. The developers have a good handle on what the game will be like upon release
3. The style of the music is something the composer is familiar with
In that case, I'd say about 6 months, but even within these assumptions there can be a lot of variation.

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Let's say you do boss fight music, how do you make the song start slow but than get "awesome" when the fight gets interesting. Do you make the awesome part into an extra loop ? hope the question makes sense

I think you have the right idea. There are multiple ways to try it. One way is to have an "intro" part that's more low energy, and then after a certain event the music switches to a more exciting part.
Another way would be to take the layered approach like we did with FTL. Just have more exciting elements of a song quickly fade in as the fight progresses. For example imagine a rock piece for a boss fight. At first only the drums and bass play, but when the boss gets to half health and angry and more dangerous, the guitar part comes in. You write a guitar part that covers the whole track, but it only actually appears when the game fades it in.

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I love listening to your music while I work on my programming projects for school. What are your inspirations?

Thanks! Believe it or not , novels inspire me a lot. Getting lost in a good book is still one of the greatest feelings in the world, and it always makes me want to do more creative things.
I also listen to lots of music in different genres whenever I get the chance. Spending time with creative, driven people has also proven to inspire me in a powerful way, which is why I love going to the Game Developers' Conference and other game events.

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hey sorry if this is too personal a question, but being poly, any tips on dealing with feelings of jealousy / wanting someone "all to yourself"?

I think the most important first step is acknowledging that jealousy is a natural feeling and that it's not going to go away anytime soon. Allison and I have been poly for over a decade and we still get feelings of jealousy. It's always useful to talk about it with your partner in a respectful way. Tell them that you're feeling jealousy, you don't want to feel that way, and you want their help.
In our experience, here are a couple of practical things that we've found were helpful. (For clarity, Allison is my primary partner, and "outside partner" refers to one who is neither me nor Allison, but someone else that one of us is dating. This language is only used for clarity and not what I would normally call someone. :P )
1. If one of us is dating an outside partner and the other isn't, then things tend to feel imbalanced, and the person who is not currently dating is more likely to get jealous. It's not usually a huge deal, but it's worth remembering so that you can anticipate it.
2. We've found that things work MUCH smoother if an outside partner is fully comfortable meeting both of us, even if it's just for a single hangout. If you have an outside partner and they're uncomfortable with meeting your primary partner, then things might get difficult later.
Once everyone involved has met everyone else, you'll have an easier time knowing that the people you love are being treated with respect, and I think you'll find that helps A LOT with jealousy.
I hope this helps! Being polyamorous is a subtle thing and can be difficult to explain. It can be difficult, but I don't think we would ever choose to go back to monogamy. :)

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Thanks for answering my productivity question! I have a quick followup question. Your weekly routine looks like a great idea, but whenever I tried something similar, I felt like I never had enough time to fully immerse myself in a project. Do you ever get that and how do you deal with it?

If I'm really on a roll with something and I love it, I'll simply adjust my schedule so that I can keep working on it. It's important to keep it flexible.
I remake the schedule every week, so I'm not beholden to some kind of routine week after week. I'm really only planning a few days ahead. So it's easy to adjust. Priorities shift too much on different projects for me to stick to a rigid schedule, so planning only a couple days in advance works much better.

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Have you ever been interested in creating orchestral music?

Not all that much, actually! I bought a big book called MIDI Orchestration and I dabble in orchestral music occasionally. But my musical interests really lie at the intersection of pop, electronic, funk, dance, and ambient.
I'm in talks right now to do maybe a soundtrack that will probably be mostly orchestral, but it'll still be a hybrid of some kind.

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