Interview with Matti Paalanen – celtic music composer from Finland

Matti Paalanen is a finnish composer who has produced celtic / fantasy / epic music in his home studio for 15 years. He published his music under creative commons non-commercial licence on Jamendo and his music is free to download / listen / share if the use is limited to personal use. He is also known for his project names Celestial Aeon Project, Project Divinity and Frozen Silence.

You can follow him on youtube on his channel Matti Paalanen – celtic music – epic music

Hello Matti and thank you for joining us!

Heya! Thanks for inviting me!

First of all, what have you been listening to lately?

Lately I have been mainly listening to ambient / chillout stuff from really talented composer Keith Kenniff. He is mainly known as Helios and Goldmund artist names. Both of the projects are just excellent. I seriously recommend to check him out. The other side of the coin is this progressive modern metal style also known as djent, sometimes I like to listen to more intense stuff as well. A few bands I have to point out are Disperse with genius Jakub Zytecki, Tesseract and Uneven Structure.

Wow, quite diverse stuff! I guess your musical taste varies quite a lot?

Yes you could say so. I mean if I look at my spotify playlists they can range from the most chill out ambient ever to the most hardcore metal ever. Electronic, celtic, anything goes. Only genre I listen really little is modern pop music. There are just so few tunes that offer inspiring and or interesting listening there. Everything is just soooo easy to predict and follows the same structures. Or it is so hectic and twitchy that it makes me nervous. I definitely know that producing good pop music requires talent and work but the genre itself just doesn’t interest me at all.

I think I understand what you mean. You produce quite a wide range of music as well. When I look at your Matti Paalanen artist profile on Jamendo, it seems that you have hundreds of tunes ranging from genre to genre?

Yes, my Matti Paalanen artist is the one I mainly use for royalty free stock music stuff. A few years ago I was wondering if there could be a way to use the internet more professionally as a musician and to gain some extra income and I decided to dabble around with stock music marketplaces such as AudioJungle and similar sites. I searched around a bit and decided that to make this work I have to go non-exclusive, produce high quality material as fast as possible and makes as broad portfolio as possible. After a few months I was producing 3-4 tunes a day and genres ranged from hip-hop to acapella. And it worked quite well. In just short amount of time I rose to the top 300 artists on AudioJungle and few other places as well. But yes, that stock music side of my music is really really heavily optimized for media company use.

Wow, sounds like you really have the knack for this kind of thing

You can say that yes, I think I have good balance between artistry and technological / methodological / analytical side of things. I’m a programmer as my daytime job so it is natural for me to pick up excel and see things through from technology / game point of view. When I compose I enter the other realm that is purely emotional. But it has helped a lot as I usually find fast the best ways to optimize the music sales and visibility.

What are your favourite genres to produce?

I have to say that fantasy music / celtic music / epic music has always been the genre combination I come back to. There is just something about whole this realm that doesn’t let go. I’ve always had a vivid imagination and this kind of music instantly takes me elsewhere you know. To realms that you need to go to get respite from the normal reality, hahah 🙂

I know indeed 🙂 What are your main influences / favourite artists in this genre?

I love many video game composers. Michael Hoenig’s work on Baldur’s Gate was stellra. Jeremy Soule has blown me away with his work on Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim. Hans Zimmer of course, then from celtic side of things I like Clannad, Enya, Mike Oldfield. Vangelis is pure genius as well. Two Steps From Hell is best epic I’ve ever known. There are many.

What are the main things you’d like to get better at when it comes to production?

Mixing and mastering definitely. It’s a bit embarassing really but I have zero knowledge when it comes to these things. If I could choose I’d just play the notes and then some magical system would do everything to make it sound just right. I don’t have interest in the engineering side of things at all. But still, I have to learn to do it at least in some form or the other.

I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it soon! Thank you for the interview and I hope we’ll hear new music from you soon!

Thank you, I believe you will 🙂

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