Explore the key elements of creating genre-hopping, innovative stock music with guitars with PremiumBeat composer Chase Horsman.
It never ceases to amaze our team how much talent exists on PremiumBeat’s artist network. On PremiumBeat, creative music composers from around the world compose extraordinary tracks for commercial licensing to customers and filmmakers globally. One of those artists is composer, musician, and producer Chase Horsman of Reaktor Productions. Chase creates stock music with guitars as a focus, and his music can be found in over 75,000+ multimedia applications internationally.
Since picking up his guitar at the age of eleven, it’s rare to see Chase Horsman without one close by. Stock music with guitars are used by companies around the world, from broadcast television to apps and games. Chase’s music is exceptional in that genre of stock music.
Interested in creating stock music? Click here to apply to PremiumBeat.
We caught up with the composer behind Reaktor Productions to learn a bit more about his background as a composer and producer, how he got started in stock music, and the projects he’s currently working on. Here are a few words with PremiumBeat composer Chase Horsman of Reaktor Productions.
Thanks for meeting with us Chase! Tell us a little bit about who you are, and what you do.
I’m a 28-year-old musician and music producer from Vancouver, BC. My mom got me started playing guitar at the age of eleven. Pretty soon I was looking up to artists like Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Led Zeppelin like they were gods. I was heavy into those bands and artists in high school, and that really motivated me to work on honing my guitar skills.
After high school, I went to music production school (Recording Arts Canada) in Montreal, where you learn about the technology and equipment to actually record and produce your own music — on your laptop! This opened up a whole new world to me. This was something that wasn’t available to all my musical influences. I got a bunch of production tips and tricks from a buddy I met in Montreal and that kind of set me off on a new path of expanding my music style and genres.
I started producing tracks in styles I wasn’t used to — like pop, EDM, and trailer scores. That’s where I am today.
The ability to self-produce really has changed the music industry. How did you get started creating stock music with guitars as a focus?
After school, I had scored some subcontract jobs for clients until I was introduced to a manager who submitted some of my demos to PremiumBeat on my behalf. I was accepted and went full throttle on producing original content to get up there. I had some early success with my first couple tracks and that just motivated and inspired me to work even harder. That first couple of years I barely left my place!
Well, we’re happy to have you! Has music always been a passion of yours? Could you see yourself doing anything else?
Before music, I was into sports. But as soon as I got a guitar, I pretty much quit everything else and just focused on music. It was always what I saw myself doing and I can’t see myself doing anything else at this point. I never knew that producing royalty-free music was a career when I was coming up, and it’s cool to see the industry constantly changing. I’m super blessed to be able to do this for my work.
You currently live in Canada. How would you describe the industry there?
I feel like the Vancouver scene is really starting to pop. Just in the last couple years I’ve been meeting more and more amazingly talented artists, and on social media I’m discovering a bunch of killer producers and musicians who are out here. I think we have some way to go in terms of a live scene, but I think that’s starting to grow too.
And you also work out of Montreal. How does that shape the music you create?
Montreal was a dope place to come up. We were all in our late teens and early twenties so there was a lot of excitement and learning and experimenting going on. We would have freestyle jams for hours, just writing and playing and making beats.
Sounds fun! Tell us a bit about your company, Reaktor Productions. How and why did you start it?
I made Reaktor Productions around the same time I got accepted onto PremiumBeat. I wanted to convey a more professional image and have the ability to grow the business beyond myself.
What type of music do you have on PremiumBeat? Do you have a particular style you lean towards?
I put on all kinds of different hats when I’m composing for PremiumBeat but my favorite genres are hybrids of pop and electronic, rock and electronica, and cinematic percussion focused tracks geared towards fast-paced advertisements.
You identify as a musician, composer, and producer. Can you tell us how those roles work together to form the music you create?
Being a musician is all about learning to speak the language of music. Honing technique and creating these abstract connections between chords and notes, and feelings and emotions. That’s like a base.
Composing is an exercise of trying to express some kind of internal feeling or mood through the framework of harmonies and notes.
Production is where it really all comes together though. Aside from note/chord choice, sound and texture choice is what really defines the overall mood. I can produce songs with the same “music” that makes you feel completely different, just based on what kind of synths, drum beat, guitar tones I use to create stock music with guitars.
Do you have specific genres of sound that you enjoy creating over others?
Not really. As long as I’m bouncing in my desk chair it’s all good.
You have some really great stock music on your PremiumBeat portfolio. Do you mix and master all of your own tracks?
Wow, thank you! Yeah, I mix as I produce, and I’ve been using a custom mastering chain for years. It includes a mid-side eq and mono-maker for low frequencies, Ozone 5, and a mastering limiter, either the Waves L2 or FabFilter L2.
How does technology assist in the tracks you create as a composer?
I’m amazed at how far technology has come even since I was in school. The new keyboards and beat pads barely require any knowledge of music or “musicianship.” Anyone can really plug and play and start making music, it’s beautiful.
I don’t utilize technology for note selection but I like to utilize some websites for samples and inspiration ideas. Also, third party plugins and software instruments are amazing these days. I love everything Output makes. They have killer software instruments for synth bass (Substance), and I love their vocal sample generator (Exhale and Arcade).
What do you think are key elements in creating great stock music?
I feel it’s important to have a finger on what’s happening culturally. Trends seem to sweep over the advertising industry. For example a few years ago a lot of commercials were using uplifting folk or ukulele with happy female vocals. Then it shifted to more of a modern Odesza sound, with cool electronic elements and vocal samples.
Now it’s moving into fast-paced rhythmic tracks with dynamic elements to keep viewers interested amongst so much other content. It’s good to be aware of what’s happening and predict trends in the future to provide filmmakers with what they want!
What is your process for creating tracks for music libraries? How do you decide what to create?
It usually starts with being inspired by something I hear, that has a distinct mood and energy, and thinking “man, that would be great for PremiumBeat.” I start by breaking down the macro elements, and trying to decipher what gives the song its character. Is it how the big drums and bass play off each other? Is it the feeling of the vocal hook? How do I get a guitar tone like that?
When creating stock music with guitars, I experiment with trying to combine some similar elements, not in terms of musicality but in terms of mood and energy. Sometimes something happens and a lot of times it doesn’t but it always ends up wildly different than what originally inspired it. That’s kind of the process of making a new track.
As a composer on PremiumBeat, your work is listened to by customers around the world. Have you ever found your music in unexpected places?
I’m so blessed and grateful to see my music in all kinds of cool projects. The coolest is when I’m out of the country and I hear my music playing on some random commercial in another language. It just speaks to how far-reaching and global PremiumBeat really is.
It was really cool to see my music used in a bunch of Guess promos. The production value of the campaigns was incredibly high and featured models such as Hailey Baldwin and Camila Cabello. That was a trip!
I can only imagine! What about any personal projects? Anything exciting in the works?
Yes, in 2019 I kicked off Chill Winston. It’s my artistic project — the style is RnB, electronica, and chillwave. I’ve been working with a lot of amazing talent in my circle.
I have released five singles so far, three being collaborations with some great vocalists. We made a music video of one of the tracks, “Medicine,” which just hit 225k views on youtube! Got a lot more on the way too.
Sounds amazing! And as the last question, do you have any tips for music composers looking to create great stock music that sells in the industry?
I’d say make a different name for your stock music endeavors. That gives you the ability to separate yourself from the music which enables this kind of experimentation and openness to make new and weird things without having to invest your personal or artistic identity into it. It allows you to wear all kinds of different hats without being impeded by constant self-judgment and asking yourself “is this me, artistically?”
I sometimes see producers trying to create stock music that is too “artistic,” and it turns into a song that would be better suited for Spotify.
All images provided by Chase Horsman.
Want to know more about creating music for stock? Check out these articles.
- PremiumBeat Composer Oliver Lyu on Creating Music for Stock
- How You Can Become a Shutterstock Music Contributor
- The Budget Friendly Guide to Shooting a Music Video
- PremierePro Tips on Editing and Mixing Audio, Music and SFX