Dren McDonald founded Nerdtracks in 2009 and has worked in the game industry as an audio director, composer and sound designer on titles such as Gathering Sky, Gordon Ramsay Dash, Transformers: Age of Extinction The Official Game, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Commander, Dangerous Dave in the Deserted Pirate's Hideout HD, Skulls of the Shogun, Elevate (2014's Apple App of the Year), Cooking Dash 2016, Diner Dash 2015, Ravenwood Fair and over 60 other game titles. He's worked with legendary game designers such as John Romero (Doom, Quake, Id Software), Brenda Romero (Jagged Alliance, Wizardry 1-8, Train) and Tom Hall (Wolfenstein 3D,Commander Keen, Anachronox). His music has been enjoyed by, literally, millions of gamers worldwide on several games that reached 20 million monthly players or more. His work has been nominated for awards by GANG, GDC Online and IndieCade He won a GANG award in 2015 for  The String Arcade recording (Best Game Music Cover Song) and won 3 GANG Awards in 2016 for his work on Gathering Sky (Best Indie Game Audio, Best Sound Design in a Casual Game and Best Game Audio Article.)


He is a frequent speaker at GDC, GameSoundCon, Casual Connect, and IndieCade. He has also taught part time as a visiting faculty member at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in their Technology and Applied Composition Program (T.A.C.) where he is also on the advisory board, and at UC Santa Cruz in the Games and Playable Media post-grad department.

Daria Novo is a composer, orchestrator, arranger, sound designer and audio engineer. In St. Petersburg she worked in film and TV on titles such as Prizrak, Attraction, Quackerz, and Luntik (cartoon series). As conductor/arranger of the St. Petersburg Concert Choir she has composed or arranged over 80 pieces for choir. She's composed complete musicals for the Stray Dog Puppet Theater and has recently began contributing to several game titles including Cooking Dash, Restaurant Dash with Gordon Ramsay and several upcoming indie titles.

Both Dren and Daria are happiest with their music when they are working with musicians either on the scoring stage or in the studio. Most all of their work includes performances of live musicians, whether it's a group of their favorite musical collaborators or their own performance on voice/piano (Daria) or guitars/bass/banjo/mandolin (Dren). 

Their experience in interactive audio informs their ability to arrange/record music to be played back through audio middleware that puts the focus on the 'big picture' of the game experience, focusing on game design and narrative. Knowing how the sound design, music and VO all fits together within the middleware and game engine informs every decision that they make. 


FMOD • Unity3D • Wwise • Logic Pro X  • Pro Tools 12 (certified) • SVN • Git • Perforce • Assembla • Jira • Sibelius

Extensive microphone collection (ribbons, condensors, dynamics, contact mics, portable, tube etc), mic pres and compressors, and a large collection of vintage amps, guitars, basses, and unusual homemade instruments.



  • Game Developers Conference 2017: Rising Tides: Stories in Mentorship and Community (a microtalk)

  • GameSoundCon 2016: The Music and Sound of Gathering Sky

  • GDC 2016: Audio Track MicroTalk moderator "Outside the Studio Walls"

  • GDC 2015: Interactive Audio Demo Derby Panel

  • Game ON! Game Audio symposium at SF Conservatory of Music 2014

  • GANG Awards 2014: co-host

  • GDC 2014: "Small Team Game Development" (part of Audio Boot Camp), Sound Design Demo Derby panelist/organizer

  • Game Audio 215: Lecturer for UCSC Games & Playable Media Master's Program, Winter 2014

  • GameSoundCon 2013: Panel Moderator: “The Rest of Us: game audio careers outside of AAA”

  • IndieCade 2013: Panel Moderator: “Mechanics of Sound and Design”

  • Casual Connect 2013: Panel Moderator “Guidelines to Successful Hires, Practices and Results”

  • Casual Connect 2013: Panelist “Tips for Being a Successful Game Audio Contractor”

  • GDC 2013: Sound Design Demo Derby Panel

  • GameSoundCon 2012: composer panel

  • GameDesignCon 2012: “That Magic Moment: When Design & Audio Make Music Together” 30 minute, single speaker presentation

  • GDC 2012: “Evolution of Audio in Social Games” 1 hour, single speaker presentation

  • GDC 2012: Demo Derby – Sound Design

  • GameSoundCon 2011: composer panel

  • GANG Fall Summit 2011: Audio in Indie, Mobile and Social Games + demo derby

  • GDC 2011: Demo Derby – Sound Design

  • Visiting Faculty - San Francisco Conservatory of Music Fall/Spring 2015/2016, Fall/Spring 2016/2017

  • Guest Lecturer - UC Santa Cruz, Games and Playable Media Master's Program Winter Quarter 2013


​2016 Game Audio Network Guild (GANG): Best Audio in a Handheld Title: (nominee) Gordon Ramsay Dash

2016 Game Audio Network Guild (GANG): Best Music in a Casual Game: (nominee) Gordon Ramsay Dash

2016 Game Audio Network Guild (GANG): Best Sound Design in a Casual Game: (nominee) Gordon Ramsay Dash

2015 Game Audio Network Guild (GANG): Best Indie Game Audio (WINNER) Gathering Sky 

2015 Game Audio Network Guild (GANG): Best Sound Design in a Casual Game (WINNER) Gathering Sky 

2015 Game Audio Network Guild (GANG): Best Game Audio Article (WINNER) Audio Journals: Gathering Sky (Gamasutra)

2015 Game Audio Network Guild (GANG): Best Interactive Score (nominee) Gathering Sky 

2015 Game Audio Network Guild (GANG): Best Music in a Casual Game (nominee) Gathering Sky 

2015 Game Audio Network Guild (GANG): Best Handheld Audio (nominee) Gathering Sky 

2014 Game Audio Network Guild (GANG): Best Remix/Cover Song (WINNER) Grasswalk (Plants vs. Zombies) 


2014 Game Audio Network Guild (GANG): Best Soundtrack Album (nominee) The String Arcade 


2014 Game Audio Network Guild (GANG): Best Sound Design in a Casual Game (nominee) Diner Dash 2015


2012 Game Audio Network Guild (GANG): Best Audio in a Social, Casual or Indie Game (nominee) Ghost Recon Commander


2011 GDC Online : Best Audio in an Online Game (nominee) Ravenwood Fair


2010 Game Audio Network Guild (GANG): “Distinguished Service Award”  (WINNER)

2011 IndieCade Best Audio (nominee) Skulls of the Shogun


NARAS Voting member (GRAMMYS®)
GANG [Game Audio Network Guild]
AES [Audio Engineering Society]
IGDA [International Game Developers Association]

SF Conservatory of Music's TAC Advisory Committee
UC Santa Cruz Advisory Board: Masters in Games & Playable Media
Audio Advisory Board: Unity Technologies
ICAN (International Choice Awards Network – Game Choice Awards)


Nerdtracks began in 2009 and has now contributed interactive audio to more than 60 shipped game titles, apps, experiences and hardware...


You can send me a message

to the email below or on

Skype (drenmc), Twitter (@drenmc)

d r e n [a t] n e r d t r a c k s [d o t] c o m

o r

d a r i a [a t] n e r d t r a c k s [d o t] c o m

Purchase music...

If you are looking to purchase nerdtracks recordings, you can visit BandCamp (which has the most), or iTunes, or Google Play

  • Twitter Basic Black
  • Black SoundCloud Icon
  • Black YouTube Icon
  • Black LinkedIn Icon