Matthias Wolf is a staff musician for Create Music and has been composing professionally for 8 years. He’s from Mainz, Germany, where he lives and works from his home office.
He is self-taught at music: Though he’s never gone to a music academy or studied music at university, he’s spent a long time and a lot of hard work at mastering the audio arts. He shows us that it’s never too late to follow your dreams. Even if you have doubts and head off on a different path, you always have time to correct yourself, pursue what you love, and be successful at it.
He began with Create Music’s mother company, Dynamedion, doing audio engineering and sound design, and eventually he worked his way into composing, his dream all along.
After release of his hugely successful album Hope & Victory, we decided to sit down with Matthias and introduce him to you, our Creator family.
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into music?
As a child, my parents weren’t musicians. But my grandfather was, though not professionally. He was very talented and played the keyboard and the horn and all these different little instruments he has at home. He was very into music. He was probably the person who led my brother and me into it. First I played the glockenspiel and flute and then piano and drums and guitar. I also played the clarinet – a very long list of instruments really. I wasn’t a professional, but I started with playing every kind of instrument I got my hands on.
That was the start. Then I played in a band in school, where I played drums and keyboards and that was my start in actually studying music. I didn’t study it at university or anything. I had teachers here and there, piano teachers and drum lessons and so on, but nothing very intense.
Notes or sheet music was never my favorite thing to play. It was more like what’s in me, I played my own stuff as a child, and so I started to compose something in my early years. But I never thought I had a future as a composer. I started to study Business Administration and Sociology.
How did you first make it part of your career?
I started with Dynamedion 8 years ago. I was an external, editing samples and so on. At that time, they had just done their first library. Before that, I was doing work-for-hire stuff for Dynamedion and BOOM Library. I started my internship with them at the time their Sonuscore label released their first product. My first job was to edit, record, and map Kontakt instruments for them.
I wasn’t very satisfied with what I had been studying and I didn’t see my future in just sitting in the office and calculating invoices and financial stuff. I wasn’t in University anymore. I had to do something else. Dynamedion was a chance for me. A little bit of talent and the feeling for sound and composition helped me pursue my goal with them.
I think that was how I started making music and started to compose at a high level. I’ve been doing that for Dynamedion now for 7 or 8 years, writing every kind of soundtrack for every kind of game.
So I studied for one year then, how to be a recording engineer. It was a very fast time to study, too. And I learned how you do a mic set up for recording and to mix and to master and what are effects and things like that. But I didn’t learn composition. It was more the technical stuff, but it helped a lot.
Getting into the material and the composition, though, I learned by myself.
Tell us about your latest Create Music album, Hope & Victory.
Hope & Victory is cinematic and uplifting. Music for people who want to create an emotion in an image or film. It’s for material that is very touching. It’s also for films about an adventure or a journey; like guys who’ve had a backpacking trip and they’ve collected tons of images of them reaching for their goal. And when they’ve reached their climax, the music becomes uplifting and emotional.
It’s more like atmospheric orchestra than complex pieces of music. It’s more like an emotion.
What inspired you to write it? Is this your usual style?
I write more out of my belly, you know. For me, it’s not that I think of the theory and say, okay, after A, then D minor, then there has to be A major or something like that, and now we are already doing this theoretically. It’s more like if it sounds good for me, or if I get a certain feeling and then I continue with it.
It’s my style too. Hope & Victory is my usual style.
What did you enjoy most about making this album?
I’m very fast with the results. I already have an idea and that’s my favorite part. It sounds good to me. There are other projects for clients you have to figure out and you have to think about it a lot and there is always a customer or client who says I want it like this or I want it like that. And you have to do it in the next version and so on. With this music, I can just write me.
For such projects, I always write music which is good to my ears. Sometimes we have to write music for a client. You say, well, that’s not my favorite music. But not so for this album.
From the first track to the last track, I like it. If I had to decide which track was my favorite, I think “The Golden Path” is very stylish. I like it, with the whole orchestra building up. I like it a lot.
How do you see these tracks being used?
I think people doing travel and adventure pieces could really use the tracks in Hope & Victory. Or perhaps, weddings… like when you have a wedding “best of” video. There are so many compilations about weddings or other very emotional stuff, like for birthdays, parties, or other ceremonies, and also for those slow motion videos of people doing crazy things.
What would you advise for people wanting to get into the music business?
Listen to music. Listen a lot to classical music. It’s not that you have to listen to Mozart over and over again, but listen to orchestral music and piano music and spread your musical inspiration. I would think I started listening to music over and over again in every kind of genre, and that’s why I can write from my belly.
The complete inspiration of my whole life is listening to music. Is it my brain extracting the melodies and progressions of music I listened to earlier? It’s not new music. Every chord progression has been written in the past. But the complexity and context changes.
Try to make a cover of the type of music you listen to. Take a favorite musical piece and try to copy the sound.
Aside from Hope & Victory and various singles throughout the Create Music backlog, he’s also composed for us the album, Reflection, a collection of beautiful and deep cinematic piano pieces.