We plan to put five questions to each of the WXG (www.wxg.co.uk) conference’s speakers to give you a look into their talks, histories and what inspires them to do what they do. Introducing the tenth speaker, Xavier Riley. Why did you agree to speak at WXG?
I went to both of the previous WXG events and thought they were great. When I heard that some speaking slots were available I jumped at the chance. The Sonic Pi project is something I'm really excited about.
What do you think delegates will get out of your talk?
Hopefully they'll come away feeling that coding music (and coding in general!) is actually quite easy to do. Also I think programming music is a nice change for experienced programmers as it offers different challenges to programming for the web or apps. I'll also be covering some of the fundamentals of things like synths and sampling so that people without much musical experience can get involved.
How did you get into programming?
Funnily enough, through programming music. I did a music degree at Birmingham and one of the modules on offer was "Interactive Music with Creative Computing" which turned into one of my main subjects in my final year. I'd done a little bit of HTML/CSS at that point but that was my first real experience of programming. After uni I went into working with the web where I've been for the past six years so it's nice to get back to talking about music.
Who is your inspiration in the industry?
I'm a Ruby programmer but I get a lot of good ideas from people in the Clojure community. Rich Hickey, who invented the Clojure programming language, does some great philosophical talks which have influenced me quite a lot. I also owe a lot of credit to Sam Aaron for creating Overtone and more recently Sonic Pi as I wouldn't have anything to talk about without him! He is working on some great projects that combine music and code so he's well worth checking out.
What advice would you give to someone new to the industry?
If you have 10 years of experience, make sure you don't have the same year of experience 10 times over. Keep looking for new challenges and have an open mind about 'hard' things. Also try to keep up with industry news - I like http://reddit.com/r/programming for that but remember to take things with a pinch of salt!
If you want to find out more or reserve tickets to the WXG event visit: http://wxg.co.uk/