Dive into the Dark is the debut album from composer Steven Winiarz, who is working under the name Raging Embers. This was followed by the release of a single, Separate Ways. Dive into the Dark is a re-imagining of rock through an orchestral lens, a symphonic take on popular tracks that brings out a whole new dimension to each song and offers a unique, transcendent score with an epic style and a masterful blend of real and virtual instruments.
Dive into the Dark is a project that offers a wholly new way of listening to these well-known tracks. It turns them into something novel, exciting, and a little dark, with a symphonic sound that is sure to thrill fans of instrumentals, those looking for new and original takes on the songs they love, and those who want a spectacular set of orchestral arrangements. Dive into the Dark and the whole approach of the Raging Embers projects brings an exciting aspect of the songs to the forefront: they transport the listener to other realms and worlds, they inspire the feeling of an adventure.
Dive into the Dark will please fans of rock who are looking for orchestral arrangements, but it is also likely to thrill those who might not have listened to the songs in this way before. Winiarz offers a thrilling combination of instrumentals that inspires the same feeling as a full orchestra and creates an amazing effect.
Dive into the Dark also features a beautiful cover that reflects the mood of the album: dark, orchestral, and fantastic. The project is a solid endeavour from start to finish, with a distinct aesthetic, solid composition, and gorgeous covers that unveil a whole new side to rock songs without losing their essence.
Dive into the Dark began during the pandemic as a project that meant to turn Fleetwood Mac’s songs into an orchestral version. Today, the album is fully available with an effective artistic vision and a beautiful musical arrangement. It consists of eight tracks that make the most out of the orchestral arrangements and also of the original meaning and sound of the music Winiarz chose to include.
You can find it streaming on Apple Music. If you are interested in the project Raging Embers, make sure to follow it on several platforms and stay tuned for new releases from the composer Steven Winiarz. This was a solo project from this New York-based artist, and it shows a lot of promise for future releases that are sure to achieve equally impressive orchestral arrangements.
Dive into the Dark is a unique project that takes covers to a whole new level. It explores the instrumental potential in classic rock and creates a sound that is sure to take the listener on a wild adventure and keep them hooked through all eight tracks that blend virtual and real instruments to create a unique melody with depth and power to it. It’s sure to gain a lot of fans.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Steven Winiarz, a.k.a. Raging Embers. Here are the excerpts from the interview.
Hi, Great to have you with us today! Please share with our readers about yourself.
Hi, I am an orchestral composer, songwriter, and musician. I am from New York City and currently working on large-scale orchestral pieces blended with traditional rock elements to create an enhanced sonic experience. I work with musicians from around the world to bring lively and expressive performances.
Please tell us more about your journey.
I have been a musician for over twenty years, studied formally in orchestras, and obtained a B.A. in music. Having initially started out as a percussionist and guitarist, I found myself enthralled by how much an orchestra could do. The extensive range, the aggression, the gentle emotion – all of it was possible. During and after college, I began performing with my wife, Dawn Winiarz, who is an incredibly talented singer and vocal teacher. She was also a producer on my first album, Dive into the Dark. Although I have a deep love for live performances, when Covid hit, and we were all forced inside, I had to come up with a new medium. Having little else to do with the world shut down, I was able to dedicate time and focus on exploring more orchestral composition/arrangement and began covering some of my favorite rock songs. A small project kept getting bigger, and I began working with musicians from around the world via Zoom to piece together a virtual orchestra. That project turned into my first album, and I am excited to be currently working on my second album.
What inspires your music?
My music strives to expand the listener’s musical palette and bring orchestral music to audiences that don’t typically find themselves putting it on. By re-imagining well-known rock songs through the lens of an orchestra, we are able to appreciate many elements that may not have stuck out in the original. For example, the beautiful vocal melody and harmony in Green Day’s “Basket Case” may not be fully appreciated when combined with the more aggressive pop-punk elements.
By changing the feel of a song, it also provides additional options for listeners to fit their current mood. The hard-hitting “Superman’s Dead” by Our Lady Peace may not find its way onto your relaxation playlist, but this intimate piano and expressive violin rendition surely should.
What are the strategies that helped you become successful in your journey?
I initially focused first on developing a deep understanding of my tools. This started with my DAW, which was Ableton, and now is Studio One. I spent dozens of hours going through courses and learning as much as I could so that I could later focus on the music composition and not technical limitations. Next, I tried learning about virtual instrument libraries so that I could get as realistic of a sound for my demos as possible. I did in-depth research comparing VST libraries from various companies until I found the sounds and articulations I was looking for. Researching virtual instrument libraries can quickly become addicting, and I found myself wanting every single one I looked at. Much of my first album used Spitfire libraries for the demos.
With my tools in place, I began composing and arranging. Whenever I found myself feeling stuck or not satisfied with a chord progression or melody, I took a few hours to take some courses of those specific topics to feel inspired and expand my knowledge.
Very early on, I realized that while individual tracks sounded great, the entire mix was awful. Having not mixed before, I had even more research to do to get a basic understanding of mixing and mastering. I used Izotope’s tools and went through all of their videos, and while I am not great at mixing, I am significantly better.
Setting aside dedicated chunks of time was crucial. In those times, I had to be purposeful about what I was using that time for. A lot of it was deciding if I was going to focus on technical aspects, like installing/organizing VST and audio files, learning, or actually creating music. This helped me avoid jumping around too much and stay focused.
Any message for our readers?
Have a sense of purpose and focus on what you are doing. There are a ton of distractions that can throw you off course. Truly understand that your first draft of anything is going to likely be very far off from the finished product. A large amount of songwriting/composing is about re-writing/adjusting what you have already done. Do not compare your first draft to someone’s final draft. If you feel like you’ve got something really good, but it just doesn’t sound right, try changing the instrumentation or tempo.
Fantastic! So tell us, how can people find out more about you?
Thank you so much for giving us your precious time! We wish you all the best for your journey ahead!
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