Who Is Minecraft's C418?

We know the one letter, three number name, but... who is C418?

Every great video game needs a great soundtrack. Okay, that’s not true. They don’t need one, but maybe I just really enjoy imitating the perfectly composed sounds with my mouth.

Person playing Minecraft on a TV with musical notes all around
Lifewire / Elise Degarmo

Regardless of that fact, C418’s music has not only changed the way Minecraft is appreciated amongst fans, but it has also changed the way that video games incorporate music during gameplay. This achievement aside, who is the man behind the now very known one letter and three number name? In this article, we will be discussing Minecraft’s very own composer, Daniel Rosenfeld. Let’s get started!

Daniel Rosenfeld

Daniel Rosenfeld, 2011
Daniel Rosenfeld, 2011.

 Robert Zetzsche

Daniel Rosenfeld (or C418 as he is more famously known in both the Minecraft and online music community) is a German independent musician focusing in the genres of ambient, IDM, experimental, and electronic. He is also known as a sound engineer and composer, most famous for his work on the video game Minecraft. We’ll talk more about his relation to Minecraft later, however.

In a Reddit AMA session, Daniel was asked at what moment he realized he wanted to be a musician and what got him started. His response explained how he had believed he wanted to be a musician his whole life, relating that want to the very strong dream of another child who wanted to be a firefighter. What finally pushed him toward making music was his brother’s mention of the digital audio workstation ‘Ableton Live’. In the response to the question, Daniel went on to explain that his brother ended up claiming “Ableton Live, it’s totally so easy that even IDIOTS can make music!”

Thinking he was one of those idiots, he embarked on his musical journey. “I totally thought I was an idiot, so I gave it a shot and didn’t stop.” Since he began his adventure through music, he has created thirteen albums, three EPs, and five other projects ranging from remixes to singles to co-releases amongst himself with other artists to unfinished projects. Gaining much praise for his music, Daniel has continued to create more music for not only himself but his listeners as well.


Minecraft packages

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Daniel began his process of creating music for Minecraft when the game was at its very beginning stages as a tech demo. Meeting Markus “Notch” Persson in an Internet Relay Chat (IRC), speaking about the projects they were making, they decided to team up. With what originally started as Notch sharing the very beginning stages of Minecraft with Daniel, and Daniel sharing his music with Notch turned into much more. Both creatives decided to attempt to merge their projects together, Daniel’s music with Notch’s video game. Little did these two know that this would become a genius step in creating a very interesting dynamic for Minecraft, growing the possibilities of immersing players in the game through music, all the while growing Daniel’s individual music career.

In a 2014 interview with Thump, Vice’s electronic music and culture channel, Daniel went on to explain the connection between himself and Notch as freeing. “Markus gave me complete freedom with what to do, so I just went crazy. When you see Minecraft, it’s immediately apparent that you want a certain style of music because it’s low resolution and everything is blocky.” The songs now known as “calm1”, “calm2”, and “calm3” were the very first songs placed into the game, forever shaping the way that the direction of Minecraft’s world famous soundtrack would be made. Since beginning his work with Minecraft, he’s released two albums that are specifically catered to showcasing and releasing all of the video game’s music. Both of these albums have been claimed by fans as his best work, understandably. Each album has it’s own specific style and reason, while also sharing similar names.

The original album, Minecraft - Volume Alpha, was C418’s first soundtrack release. Containing all songs available since Alpha, the album had a collective total of twenty-four songs. The album also featured various extra songs, adding on to the arsenal of music for listeners to enjoy. While most video game soundtracks only see a digital release in this day and age, Minecraft - Volume Alpha not only saw a physical CD release, but also a physical vinyl release. Since the album’s physical release, copies have sold so quickly that it has become nearly impossible to get them in an unopened condition.

C418’s second soundtrack, Minecraft - Volume Beta, was Daniel’s largest project yet. Having a run-time of approximately 2 hours and 21 minutes, Minecraft - Volume Beta had a total of 30 songs. While the album never had a physical release, it has grown to be one of his most known projects, alongside the Minecraft - Volume Alpha album. Again, the album featured music that had never been released in the game, just like its predecessor. On the Bandcamp page specifically for the album, Daniel described it as, “The second official soundtrack of Minecraft. 140 minutes in length and extremely varied. Featuring the all-new creative mode, menu tunes, the horrors of the nether, the end’s odd and misleading soothing ambiance and all the missing record discs from the game! It’s my longest album ever, and I hope you’ll love the amount of work I crammed into it.”

Loved it the Minecraft community did. Music from the Minecraft - Volume Beta soundtrack has been noted as some of Minecraft’s best music, being more diverse and having tracks that are more specifically recognizable rather than being jumbled together against the other “calm1”, “calm2”, and “calm3” tracks.

Sound Effects

Daniel has not only created the music that all of us gamers officially know and love as we place, break, and destroy blocks, but as well as created many of the sounds within the games. Those footsteps you hear as you walk in a deep, dark, scary cave? That was Daniel! The nasty screech from the Nether’s Ghast? That was Daniel (and apparently some of his cats)!

The artform in which Daniel has created these various noises and sounds is called “Foley”. As defined by Wikipedia, “Foley is the reproduction of everyday sound effects that are added to film, video, and other media in post-production to enhance audio quality. These reproduced sounds can be anything from the swishing of clothing and footsteps to squeaky doors and breaking glass.”

While it may seem simple, it can definitely be an extremely hard art form to perfect. When asked how he created his sound effects in the Reddit AMA years ago, he gave an interesting example, “Horses running on cobblestone? Those are plungers on stone/concrete. A lot of sounds like that in movies are done through Foley and the Foley Artist uses really weird objects to produce the noises.” Another example he gave was for the Spider mob. He explained his process as, “It was just me researching all day if Spiders even made any sound at all, and YouTube told me they screech. So, I spent the rest of the day figuring how to make a screeching sound for a 100-pound creature… and, for some reason, I realized that the sound of a running firehose was pretty much what I needed. So, I put in the sound effect of the firehose into a sampler and pitched it around. Voilá, screeching!”

While he went on to explain that nothing had really inspired him to create the sound effects specifically, we can’t diminish their artistic importance. Daniel Rosenfeld has created many of the elements in Minecraft that shape the way we perceive the game.

Other Projects

Joel "Deadmau5" Zimmerman
Joel "Deadmau5" Zimmerman.

Theo Wargo / Getty Images

As Minecraft grew, Canadian electronic music producer and performer, Joel “deadmau5” Zimmerman grew an interest in the game and the music within. As time progressed, C418 and deadmau5 eventually collaborated on a song that would eventually be released on the C418 album “Seven Years of Server Data”. The song, mau5cave, has a very clear nod to the video game Minecraft in terms of style and the obvious title of the song. For whatever unknown reason, the song was supposedly left unfinished but put on the album regardless. Listed as a description of the song states, “The song I sent to Deadmau5 when we were collaborating. This was one step before the final product.” Since the 2011 release of the album, no public progress on the song has been made.

Another quite notable project that was created by C418 was the album “148”. Released in December of 2015, the album had a very different twist on what a lot of fans of Daniel had expected. Daniel began working on 148 a whole five years prior to its initial release. With a very loud and in-your-face vibe, the album was a success amongst fans. Daniel went on to note about the album, “When I started making this, I was a scared composer, fresh off of Minecraft fame. Unsure what the future would bring me. And when I finished making it, I became a jaded composer, hypercritical of every single piece I ever created, worried that my old work shows that I’m not good enough. That really doesn’t matter anymore, though, because I think I’m happy with this album.”

For the Minecraft fanatics of music by C418, 148 has also featured a few remixes of songs from the game. Songs like “Droopy Remembers” and “Beta” give the 148 album a very familiar, yet different feel when listening and enjoying the music. Up until the album’s release, these remixes had only been previously played and shown at live shows. The 148 album, in particular, has something for every music fan and can be purchased for a total of $8.

In Conclusion

While it may seem like he doesn’t release a ton of music to the public, Daniel has always been the type of person to create and give a beautifully constructed product when officially showcased and brought to the ears of his loyal fans, new and old.

If you’d like to support Daniel on his music endeavors, you can head to his Bandcamp page and purchase all of his available music through there. His music can be purchased individually or can be purchased as an entire C418 Discography. Purchasing the discography gives you a 20% off deal as opposed to purchasing each album individually.

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