Two students hold unique jobs while taking classes: Bill Shillito
By Emily Tate / Student Publications
Major: Second-year Mathematics
Job: Digital music composer
Bill Shillito is a music composer. He also goes to Tech and is a second-year Discrete Mathematics major.
So in true Techie fashion he composes music, not with score paper or an instrument in hand, but in front of his computer as part of a growing group of artists who write electronic music.
He uses a program called Fruiti Loops Studio and releases his music online.
Recently, his music has become "very widespread and popular online...and has been posted on sites in Israel, Norway, Japan, China and other countries," he said.
Shillito started writing electronic music seriously during his junior year in high school when he wrote a remix of the popular song Max300 in Dance Dance Revolution (DDR).
His remix, entitled Neomax, won first place in a contest, Tournamix4, which is a step-making contest that rates submissions like what players see in DDR with the background music, the banner and the step choreography.
With this win, many opportunities opened up for Shillito and he currently writes music for two online games.
The first is O2Jam (www.o2jam.com), which is a music game in which the player hits keys on the keyboard in time to the background music.
The second game he writes music for is Dance Trax.
There are a lot more artists writing music for this game and there are "some cutting edge pad technologies."
Shillito also releases songs on his own website, www.dmashura.com/music.
Dmashura is the name he writes under in which the "dm" stands for digital maestro and the "ashura" part is just a name he made up.
"I feel like you have a lot of freedom with electronic music that you don't necessarily have with instrumental music, because you can literally create whatever sound you want and use it however you want...and that kind of freedom is amazing," he said.
While writing music is mostly something he does in his spare time, the money he gets from these projects is helping him pay for college.
"It doesn't take away from my schoolwork because it happens so randomly...I just get an inspiration and I'll spend some time on it and then go right back to my schoolwork."
"It's like my free time...it doesn't feel like work to me," Shillito said.
In addition to his major, he is pursing a minor in Japanese and a certificate in linguistics.
He speaks Spanish and Japanese and has also studied Latin, Ancient Egyptian, Chinese, Korean, Hebrew and Arabic.
He wants to use his expertise in linguistics and math to develop better algorithms for translating between languages and work for Google one day.
"I just want to keep writing [music] and keep getting on more projects...just to see where it takes me," he said when of his musical future.
He says that any person can pursue writing, though talent and having a musical background helps. He himself has played piano since he was two and viola since sixth grade.
His advice for aspiring artists is to "experiment a lot...literally look at everything and think, 'What does this do?' and, 'What will happen if I change this?'"
"Just toying around with stuff can help you get a feel for it," he said.
"Also, don't give up...people are going to criticize you...but if you take that criticism well and try to improve...you will succeed."