This month, our Creator Spotlight is shining on Aiden Chan, our talented Dungeon Maestro, best known for his original musical themes inspired by Critical Role characters. Aiden is an accomplished and hardworking musician. He recently completed his Bachelor’s in violin performance at the University of North Texas, and also has a Master’s equivalent from Trinity Guildhall London: a Fellowship Diploma for Violin Recital. Our friend likes to keep busy!
Here at Nerdsmith, Aiden is composing Monster Melodies, a series of minute–long instrumental themes based on different creatures in the D&D Monster Manual. He plans to keep working his way through them all, and so far he’s created eerily evocative themes for the Tarrasque and the Kuo-toa. I definitely had a strong, visceral reaction the first time I heard them, and was sent right back into battles at the gaming table that very nearly ended in a TPK.
Surprisingly, he admitted that his best subjects in school were biology and chemistry, and that his music studies were extracurricular. As we talked about our student years, we bonded over our mutual dislike for economics class.
When I asked about some of his favorite movies and music, his eclectic tastes made it hard to pick just one of each. He chose the extended Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, as well as the original Star Wars trilogy, as his favorites. He also thought the newest Star Wars films might make the cut. For favorite song, he again gave me a list since he has love for many genres. This included classical works like “The Rite of Spring” by Igor Stravinsky, which was featured in Fantasia (1940) during the scene with the rise and fall of the dinosaurs.
He told me that if he could have any superpower, he would choose invulnerability to everything. He explained that if he were immune to the negative effects of unhealthy food and immune to aging or death, he could eat whatever he wanted forever. An unsurprising answer from one of our resident Nerdsmith foodies. In fact, when I asked him where in the world he would most like to visit, all the places he listed (yes he gave another list) were largely because of the food found there. France was his first choice, with Germany and Spain as close seconds. The Bahamas also made the list, because he’d visited there before and loved it.
Aiden named his musical inspirations: film composers John Williams and Hans Zimmer. The cast of Critical Role are huge influences on him as well. Their raw, emotional reactions and creative talent inspired him to begin coming out of his shell. He said that they truly helped him to become less withdrawn and also helped develop his music by encouraging him, like so many other Critters, to be his “crazy, nerdy self.”
When I asked Aiden what he hopes for the future of Nerdsmith, he sees a “full fledged, multi-faceted, and multi-media studio that approaches traditional problems in new innovative ways.” He also said that, to him, Nerdsmith is “a home, newly built. Not all the walls [yet,] but it has good bones. The frame is there and the people. And everyone is welcome to join in.”
Nerdsmith subscribers will be able to hear the full audio recording of my interview with Aiden very soon on our Bonus Loot page!