Join Ali Hylton, composer for audio drama Dining in the Void, in a grooving soundtrack to a gay space opera story. An immersive listening experience. Headphones recommended.
The piece of music we’re listening to in the background is called You Probably Shouldn’t Trust Me. It’s a villain theme song from season two of the audio drama Dining In The Void, a sci-fi podcast about sleuthing and secrets in space. Today, we’ll break it down and get into why and how it was made. You’re listening to How I Make Music, we’re audio drama composers get to tell their own stories. Every Wednesday, we break apart a song, soundtrack or composition and take a trip into how it was made. My name is Ali Hylton. I’m a synesthetic podcast creator and composer located in South Texas, and this is How I Make Music. Welcome back to How I Make Music Episode 88. And you can trust me when I say this is the song You Probably Shouldn’t Trust Me by me, Ali Hylton, who you can trust. Thanks for listening in.
Dining In The Void is about six alien celebrities and they’re all brought on to a space station for a dinner party. Upon arrival, they find out that someone has trapped them. And someone among them has trapped them there. Who trapped in there, why are they trapped? It’s basically like Clue in space. And really gay…is like…a simple way of explaining it.
So I have this thing, kind of a condition called synesthesia. So when I hear music or voices or just sound in general, my brain tells me what color that is. When I was a kid, I would sit on the bus and close my eyes and kind of move my hands and the gesture of how the music is going. And there’s always been this color to it. And it’s always like a black blank space like a black black background. And then this color moves in time with the music in different colors come in and out. And I paint a lot of podcast music, and I try to interpret the whole song into one piece, or at least the biggest part of the song and get kind of the feeling for that song in one image. One of my friends AR Oliveri sent me a superhero clip. And they’re like “you’re the superhero!” I don’t remember which one – it was some Marvel superhero who turns sound into light energy. And I’m just like, this is so cool.
03:25 CHARACTER SONGS
So it’s telling stories through music, they’ll have different themes for different characters and then those themes will come together to tell the story of who they are. I’ve used this song You Probably Shouldn’t Trust Me to merge it with some other character songs. So we’re going to play the first track Like Mother Like Daughter and fade it into the song I’m Here To Kill You. Let’s see if you can figure out where one ends and the other begins.
03:51 COLORS IN THE WOODS
This piece in the background is called Remembering. It’s another song I wrote for season two, two of the characters in the show called Katie Bell and Waverly. It plays in the scene where Katie Bell and Waverly are talking about how they both grew up. They both grew up in these places filled with nature and forests and life. Picture the scenes going on in the background and those colors will come into play. Later, like when Katie was describing running in the woods away from the danger, I always pictured these blues and greens and some reds and yellows. And you can see bits of those colors coming into the song.
05:08 GARAGE BAND
I just started composing this year. When I compose music, I use GarageBand loops. I taught myself how to do this, I have no idea how to read music. jumped in feet first and we’re still going.
05:40 AUDIO DRAMA INFLUENCES
When composing music, I’m influenced by a lot of my friends within the audio drama community. James Barbarossa from The Orphans, who has also been on How I Make Music Episode 68, which you should listen to. He has played such a big part in being an inspiration because we often are talking about how we compose music and stuff and he’s always so encouraging. And I love the music from The Orphans because it’s a space show, science fiction as well. And it’s so colorful. Like all these reds, blues, teals and purples and pinks and the colors are so vibrant and fun. What you’re hearing now it’s one of the pieces James composed for The Orphans. Another influence is Sam Boase-Miller from Marsfall. What you’re hearing now is one of the songs composed for the show, Through The Irrigation Pipe. The show also has a lot of character themes and specifically in Marsfall you can pick out the different motifs and the different songs for each character. I’ve painted a lot of the Marsfall music. It’s got a lot more muted colors than The Orphans. But also sometimes it can get very bright like their main theme, literally a rainbow of color. Another influence would be my co-composer Benny James. They actually compose the main theme for Dining In The Void and all the music for season one. I love their music so much. Take a listen.
08:46 THEME BREAKDOWN
You Probably Shouldn’t Trust Me is a character theme for our main villain. I want to walk you through some of the musical moments throughout the track and what they represent. So it begins with this violin loop that plays throughout the whole song. And then we have our beats come in. There’s two different beats there’s like this. There’s like your standard beats. And then it’s like … it’s called African talking drum. I use it a lot in my music because it adds like a good beat to the song. And then we have a few more strings and our bass come in and there’s this loop called Low Oath strings. It’s just like a very low string instrument that adds more depth to this character. And then we have our piano come in, adds a lot of space and these brighter colors to it. And then in the middle, we hear these two different loops. It adds this kind of innocence and represents the mask that they put on during season one. The second half of the song is about who they are now and how dangerous they are. So the music just comes back in full swing, like we’ve picked up where we left off before. So the vocals come in to represent the stars in the star souls that have been stolen. And so the song crescendos and then it kind of fades out. A challenge I come into face when composing music is I don’t know how to read music. I’ve never been able to read music I have tried for years, I can’t do it. And part of the problem is I have dyslexia, which is why my brain sees the notes on it but it doesn’t transcribe into what those notes are. And sometimes those notes have moved places. And when I was in choir, I learned how to sing the songs by learning through ear and kind of using it as like a guide. So I teach myself as I go, and I do it all through ear and stuff.
That’s about it for this week’s episode. We’ll listen to the full track in just a moment. But before we do that, thank you so much for listening to How I Make Music. Catch new episodes every Wednesday on Spotify, Apple or wherever else you listen to podcasts. We were listening to music featured in the audio drama called Dining In The Void. To hear the full story or check out my other compositions, follow the links in the show notes. Check out patreon.com/howimakemusic for a behind the scenes video of us recording this episode. Visit howimakemusic.com for more about the aims of the show. How to make music is created by John Bartmann. For more audio experiences that keep people listening, contact John Bartmann via the show notes. And now here’s You Probably Shouldn’t Trust Me in its entirety. My name is Ali Hylton, and thanks for listening to How I Make Music. Catch you next Wednesday.
* Dining In The Void podcast zebulonpodcasts.wixsite.com/main/ditv
* Ali Hylton www.instagram.com/missalihyltonart/
James Barbarossa – Three Months Forevers
Benny James – Midnight Revamped
Sam Boase-Miller – Through The Irrigation Pipe
ABOUT THIS SHOW
How I Make Music is a dramatically edited sound experience where behind-the-scenes musicians get to tell their own stories. Every Wednesday, we challenge audio drama composers to break apart a song, soundtrack or composition and get into why and how it was made.
How I Make Music is created by John Bartmann. For audio experiences that keep people listening, visit johnbartmann.com