Bachelor of Music on Technology and Applied Composition at SFCM
What is your hometown?
What is your favorite recording?
I'll never forget that time I recorded the Aspen Chamber Symphony in 2019 at the Michael Klein Music Tent for their performance of "Petite symphonie concertante for harp, harpsichord, piano, and two string orchestras" by Frank Martin. The mic setup and live mixing during the performance was exhilarating.
What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?
When it comes to networking, first impression is everything.
What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?
The first time I held a game controller and fought a terrifying zombie spider from the first Resident Evil game.. and defeated it on my first try. The music and sound scared me to my core, and that's the moment I knew I wanted to create that experience someday. Did I mention I was about 5 years old?
What was a turning point in your career?
The first time my instincts were a saving grace. I'll never forget that moment I was recording a multi-track recording session for a string ensemble, and saw all incoming signals in ProTools turn OFF mid-performance. All of a sudden, we didn't hear ANY audio. We had the film director, the composers, and not to mention the executive director of TAC at the time all present at the booth. I had a split second to think and before I knew it, my instincts told me that something must have been unplugged in the live room where the musicians were. I stood up AWAY from ProTools (which you should never do..) and bolted from S04 to Osher Salon.. and I remember running straight to the unplugged MASTER cable that had accidentally been kicked off by one of the musicians. I remember everybody cheered - in a sense, I felt like I was a hero!
If you weren't a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?
Making video games. Perhaps as a sound or software engineer.
What is your daily practice routine?
I try to do at least one task that's outside of my day-to-day job. A hobby or a personal project..even if I only have 10 minutes, I try to dedicate my time to my own project.
If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?
Can I change the question to *record* only three composers? I'd say Rachmaninoff, Debussy, and modern composer would be Daria Novo, our very own Composition professor!
What do you think makes a concert experience unique?
One that will make you think on the way back home, "Wait, how did they do that?"
What are your most important collaborations?
- Jason O'Connell. Not only has he taught so much about audio and especially recording, but he's the reason I work in this industry today.
- My PlayStation Music teammates. They're a circle of trust I can always count on!
- My Aspen Music Festival recording engineer friends. Some of them now are Grammy-nominated audio engineers and I'm so grateful to have worked with them.
What recordings can we hear you on?
Music Design on the latest Marvel's Spider-Man 2 (2023); Dialogue Design on Cinematics in God of War Ragnarök (2022); Music Editing in Call of Duty: Vanguard season 5 (2021); Japanese Dialogue Editing and Script Supervising for the Japanese Sleep Stories from Calm.inc (Japanese language package)
Seira McCarthy is a Japanese/American Music Designer and Audio Engineer based in the Bay Area. She grew up in Tokyo, Japan; the center city for music and video games, where she found her passion in games early on. She's currently a Music Designer at Sony PlayStation in San Mateo, CA where she is working on a recently announced title: Death Stranding 2 (Kojima Productions). Her recent works include Spider-Man 2, God of War: Ragnarök, Death Stranding, Ghost of Tsushima: Director's Cut, and Call of Duty: Vanguard. More at seiramccarthy.com