Grant Borland

Music for Storytellers

Composer for Film, Television, Advertisements 

How I create cinematic music

Warning: this section DEFINITELY shows what a nerd i can be about tools and gear

I hear people fantasize all the time about how they wish they could live in a different era of time, and I always think to myself, "do they know how great it is to create music in this time period?" I feel extremely blessed to be living in this absolutely crazy period of time. the fact that most hollywood trailers you hear were created from some guys bedroom blows my mind away. Throughout the years of writing music i've always been the type of person who wanted to create a bigger sound. I'd listen to music my peers would create, and i'd think to myself, "Now how can I take that, and make it sound bigger and more moving?" I think this mindset really ended up pushing me into writing the kind of music I make now. I feel like I'm only limited by my imagination at this point, and i have to thank technology a lot for that. More on that below.

So, How do I do it? How does one create cinematic music?

While recording a real orchestra is still probably the best approach to writing film scores, there is still a lot you can do without having to hire all those musicians. I'd say 90% of the sounds you hear in my music are all from samplers and sound libraries I have saved on my computer. The other 10% are real instruments I have laying around my studio such as guitars, synths, vocals, and many other miscellaneous instruments. A piece of software I highly recommend looking into is native instruments' "Kontakt 5". Kontakt is a sampler that i use on almost everything. All my Strings, brass, woodwinds, percussion, etc... are from that sampler. I use it a lot for sound design as well. The thing that's really nice about using Kontakt is that there are so many third party developers out there that make libraries for it, so you can pick up some really interesting sounds. To save some time, I won't list every single library I use, but I'll make a list of some developer's libraries that I use, that I'd highly recommend to you.

Heavyocity, Orchestral Tools, CineSamples, Audio Imperia, Spitfire Audio, Embertone, Native instruments, sonokinetic, soundiron, projectsam, musical sampling, performance samples, hybridtwo, zero-g, output, 8dio, sampletraxx, and anything Eduardo Tarilonte has made



Computer: Imac (late 2015) 3.2 Ghz Intel Core i5 (32GB RAM)

SSD: Samsung 850 EVO X2

Synthesizers: Arturia Microbrute, Korg Minilogue

Rackmount Gear: Lexicon Mx 200, Furman M-8dx, Focusrite Scarlett 18i20, ART Pro VLA II

Monitors: Focal Alpha 65

Headphones: Beyerdynamic DT770 PRO 250 OHM

Controller: M-Audio Oxygen 49

Pedalboard: Ernie ball VP Jr, Boss TU-3, EHX Micro POG, Line 6 DL4, Strymon Bluesky, Walrus Audio Jupiter, EHX Cathedral, EHX Freeze, Earthquaker Devices Bit Commander, Voodoo Labs power supply

Guitars: Fender Telecaster, epiphone SG, Schecter Omen-active 7, Mitchell Md-100s

Microphones: AKG Perception 220



DAW: Logic Pro X & Studio One 2

Samplers: Kontakt 5, Uvi Workstation, Engine, XLN-audio: Addictive Drums, Addictive Keys, anything built into Logic Pro X

Soft-Synths: Omnisphere 2, Tal-u-no-lx (Juno 60), alchemy

Mixing/Mastering: Waves, Soundtoys, Izotope, Arturia, Eventide, Native Instruments, Illformed, Valhalla, Tokyo Dawn

Amp SImulators: Native Instruments Guitar Rig 5, Peavey Revalver 4




If you've got any questions on getting started whether it be a certain Recommendation or something completely different, feel free to reach out and I'll help you to the best of my abilities. I know when I first started all of this seemed pretty overwhelming.