Ryan O'Neal of Sleeping at Last
Sleeping At Last, a.k.a. Ryan O'Neal, is a long time friend of Sonoma Wire Works. An early adopter of FourTrack and StudioTrack, Ryan has been using tools from Sonoma Wire Works to write music that's winning praise the world over. We were incredibly excited and proud to learn that Ryan landed some tracks on the soundtrack of one of the year's most anticipated films, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1. We had the pleasure of chatting with Ryan about his latest acheivement and ask him what his latest plans are.
How has being included on the "Twilight: Breaking Dawn Pt.1" soundtrack affected your life?
Well, the Twilight fans are some of the kindest, most welcoming folks I've come across, so from the moment the track list of the Breaking Dawn soundtrack was announced, it's been a complete joy to interact with and meet so many people who are brand-new to my music, such a privilege! Now that the film is out, I just couldn't have hoped for kinder feedback and response. This whole thing has truly been incredible experience at each step of the way, definitely a dream come true!
Did you write "Turning Page" specifically for the movie? If not, do you know how their music director came across it?
I wrote it for the film. The submission was sent in as a shot in the dark, really... being a fan of the previous soundtracks, I thought why not give it a shot! So I crammed and watched all previous 3 films back to back - studied up and where the story might be going and tried to write the sound of where I thought the story and relationships in the film might end up in "Breaking Dawn". After I wrote the "Turning Page", I sent it over as a hopeful submission and didn't hear anything back for several months. I just assumed nothing was going to come of it at that point, and suddenly I got an incredible phone call from Alexandra Patsavas, the film's incredible music supervisor, who informed me that it was looking very good that the song was going to end up in the film. Needless to say, it was an incredible day! One I will not soon forget.
Were you a fan of the "Twilight" books or films prior to landing a spot on the soundtrack?
After already being a fan of the soundtracks, as I was watching the previous 3 films to try and write something for "Breaking Dawn" - I totally got sucked into the series. I wanted to know what was going to happen next! so i became a fan when I was "studying," which made the writing of the song that much easier for me!
What are you current projects?
Well, I just finished a multiple-EP project called "Yearbook," which consisted of writing, recording and releasing 3 new songs every month for one entire year. 36 songs later, I was able to complete it this last September. So now, I've been playing shows in support of that, and of course in support of the breaking dawn film! After that, I have more new music projects in the works, touring, etc - planning on a very busy 2012! Can't wait!
Do you have any method to writing songs or does it just come organically?
Each song sort of takes it's own path in the way it gets constructed, but I've learned a few disciplinary tactics to at least keep busy while I'm waiting for inspiration to arrive. For lyrics, I try to free write as much as possible. Accumulating journals of random ideas, words, thoughts and just whatever comes to mind... and I do the same for music - I always have a mini recorder nearby to record little snippets of piano lines I like, or guitar phrases i stumbled upon. I stock up those recordings and occasionally, in listening back, something will stand out and I'll start chipping away at it. I usually begin working on music before lyrics enter the picture... when it's time to assemble lyrics, I dig through those journals of ideas and thoughts and see if anything emerges. Other times, i'll have a very specific concept in mind and will glance through my journals for sparks that support the concept. That's a general idea of how i approach writing. I do a lot of collecting of micro ideas... and eventually, with some patience and wrangling, a song sometimes comes of it!
Have you used FourTrack or StudioTrack to sketch out any song ideas?
When I'm messing around with an instrument, FourTrack and StudioTrack have given me the incredible ability to not only capture these little sparks of ideas quickly, but also the ability to layer and explore ideas in a seamless and effortless way. It's been such a HUGE help in my creative process, and because the recording quality is so good, on several occasions I've ended up using those initial FourTrack/StudioTrack "sketches" in my final recordings.