As C418, electronic composer and producer Daniel Rosenfeld creates music to enhance the blocky yet apparently limitless and ever-expanding world of Minecraft. Minecraft Volume Beta is, appropriately enough, the follow-up to the Minecraft Volume Alpha album/soundtrack, so we chatted with Rosenfeld about all that and more…
L.A. WEEKLY: For a bit of background, when did you start writing and producing music and when did it get serious?
DANIEL ROSENFELD: I started writing when I was about 14-15. Well, I say seriously, but it was honestly jokingly. I didn’t pretend that I was good at writing music, so I wrote terrible music, intentionally. As time went on, the terrible subsided, and I started getting good. It became serious when the game Markus [“Notch” Persson, Minecraft developer] and I worked on, Minecraft, started being published everywhere. And mainly when the game sold 24,000 copies in 24 hours.
How did you get involved with music for Minecraft?
At the time, I hung around in an IRC channel (which is like Discord or Slack, but in the before times) dedicated to independent games, sharing my music while hanging with developers that ended up releasing big hitters like FEZ or Super Meat Boy. Markus was on the same channel, and we’ve jived well together as far as our taste buds were concerned. So he just asked me if I would be willing to work on his blocky prototype game, writing music and making SFX. As you probably know, I said yes.
Describe your sound… How has it evolved building up to this latest album?
I started out being quite an eclectic composer, not quite sure where to fit in. I tried my hand a bit at everything, except perhaps music with lyrics. I’m a lousy writer, and it shows when I try to write poetry. With Minecraft, I’ve started creating serene ambiance music. As the game went on to become famous, people started identifying me as the ambient music person, which I never actually thought I was. Minecraft Volume Beta was much more percussive, melodic, and progressive as a result.
Have you been watching any of the Minecraft and Fortnite concerts/festivals? Thoughts?
I have! It was an exciting concept in the before times when we were allowed to hug, but in recent months it has become a, I would say, an essential tool for us to “go out and party.” I’ve seen the latest Fortnite event with Travis Scott. Being a dev in Unreal, I’ve seen their announcement of software that is very reactive to music, and I was wondering why they decided to develop it. I got my answer when I saw the show, which was very colorful and to the beat of Scott. Wonderful stuff.
Since we’re all stuck at home, I’ve also been spending some time hanging out with a friend of mine in Toronto, but in VR. Every weekend we go out and join random VR servers and talk to strangers. It feels like going to a bar, but… safely. It’s great.
What else do you have coming up?
I’ve moved to Austin, Texas, where I’m the lead audio person in a brand new game dev studio helmed by Davey Wreden. We haven’t announced what we’re working on yet, but I can tell you that there’s going to be a lot of me.
C418’s Minecraft Volume Beta is out August 14 via Ghostly International. Preorder and stream here.