Uses This

A collection of nerdy interviews asking people from all walks of life what they use to get the job done

A picture of Dan Golding

Dan Golding

Academic, author, composer

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Dan Golding, and I do a bunch things. I'm primarily an academic at Swinburne University here in Melbourne, Australia, where I teach and research in media studies.

I'm an author. My next book is tentatively titled Star Wars After Lucas, and it looks at everything that Disney has done with the franchise since taking over in 2012, with some deep analyses of The Force Awakens, Rogue One, Rebels, and The Last Jedi. It will be released in early 2019 from the University of Minnesota Press. My previous book was called Game Changers, which was coauthored with Leena van Deventer, and was about gender and videogames. It was published by Affirm Press in 2016.

I also make video essays, and I have a YouTube channel that recently reached over one million views. I'm one of three hosts for Art of the Score, a podcast about film music. It's super fun. I'm also now the host of an ABC (in Australia, not the American ABC) series called 'What Is Music'. You can see our first little video, which is a preview for the kinds of things we're going to be doing, about the Star Wars theme, here.

Finally, I'm also a composer. I wrote the soundtrack to a fun local multiplayer PlayStation 4 game called Push Me Pull You a few years ago (it was made by the same people who are making that Goose game). You can listen to my soundtrack album here.

What hardware do you use?

I'm on a MacBook Pro, which I use to make pretty much everything described above, including writing, research, recording, video editing and music. I also use an iPhone X, which is great, though I'm a little creeped out by the facial recognition tech, which has reshaped the way I think about my phone. I use a pair of Sony noise cancelling headphones, which are their entry level cans so I'm looking to upgrade eventually, though I like them a lot for now. Noise cancelling headphones are pretty essential for getting into my writing zone.

I use a Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S49 keyboard (though a slightly older version than the newer ones, which also look ace), which is just about the best digital keyboard I've used. I love being able to control my music software from the same interface that I'm playing with. It just gets out of the way and allows digital music-making to be one step closer to using old fashioned instruments. I also use an old Behringer vocal microphone for my video essays and vocals. It's nice, but the time has probably come to upgrade.

And what software?

For writing (especially long-form work like books and theses), I love Scrivener. I use Logic Pro X for my music and audio recording, and a wide variety of plug-ins and virtual instruments. My favourite is Cinematic Studio's Strings, which are really beautiful and naturalistic, and made here in Australia, too. For writing, I don't know where I'd be without Spotify, too, on which I have more than 36 hours worth of film music playlisted by decade and ready to go. For keeping track of my academic research, I use Zotero, which is free and open source.

What would be your dream setup?

I can't wait to get my music-making stuff into a new room after I move house, with a dedicated screen and some beautiful studio monitors that I'm shopping around for. To be able to drop my laptop in and out of that set up will be just fantastic.

I'll also be throwing a new audio interface into the mix there for recording my voice, along with that new vocal microphone, so creating new video essays (and there are more in the works) should be just as easy. I'll also be getting a wireless charging mat in there for my iPhone and wireless devices.