Talking Music with Joe Miller


So on this episode of the podcast, I'm talking with an old friend named Joe Miller about music. And he's a good guy for this conversation. He's an accomplished musician. Not only as a performer, but a composer and educator. At this point, I think he may have spent more semesters teaching music at the collegiate level than I actually spent in college.

I met him in 2005. He had a standing jazz gig at a brunch place that a friend of mine owned and that I frequented for the Eggs Benedict and excellent Bloody Marys.

I told him what I was doing with the Seanachai and one way and another he composed the theme loop. You know, this one.

{Play loop}

When we reconnected, he told me that The Seanachai theme was the beginning of the end for him. It was the first thing he had composed, even remotely for hire. Shortly after that, he left town because he got a scholarship to get a master's degree in Jazz Guitar. But halfway through that, he decided he wanted to focus on composition rather than performance.

Between that moment and now, he's scored over 300 pieces of client-approved music for commercial projects. Including 26 film scores. His company is Sounds Like Joe.

He really can do just about anything. Obviously, jazz, scoring films, 17th-century French court music… but personally, he's pretty into ambient compositions at the moment, for reasons that we talk about.

As you'll hear, our conversation ranges far and wide -- and I learned a lot of things. But the impulse for this conversation was that we, professionally, are in similar spots, just with different toolsets. I use words and images, he uses sounds. And we both do this for hire.

And what I really wanted to get at, aside from my natural curiosity about everyone's creative process and music -- is something like a creative ethos or work ethic. What the best way to approach creative work to get the most done while producing the highest quality.