Daniel Koestner

Alexandria, USA



Behind the Music

As a trained oceanographer, one of my favorite parts about working on this project was having the chance to experiment and create a unique oceanic soundscape. For me personally, being on a ship — at the whims of the weather and waves — makes me feel like I’m somewhere majestic. As humans, our relationship with the sea is always one step removed by necessity — we’re always on a boat, in a life jacket, or just separate in some way. The ocean is not our territory, but we often act in this landscape as if it was and use technology to explore as well as exploit it. 

The theme of the ocean often tends to show up in my songs, but it’s often subtle and not entirely intention. This project gave me the opportunity to tap into many of my own experiences, and use my art combined with Ian’s audio samples to capture some of them. Overall, the impact of music can be incredibly individual and subjective. Nevertheless, I think songs have the power to transcend words and tell a story in a more abstract way, thus expanding their reach providing a shortcut to a world of imagination. I hope my contributions to The Outlaw Ocean Music Project help listeners envision themselves in the environment of the ocean, where they can find and tell their own story of the sea.


Daniel Koestner
About Daniel Koestner

Daniel Koestner is a freelance composer and musician best known for his soundtrack to Apple’s 2018 iPhone Game of the Year “Donut County. He is also an oceanographic scientist, whose work in the Arctic Ocean is centered on understanding the interactions between light and seawater, which are full of different types of particles and microorganisms.

The Journalism behind the Music

All music in this project is based on The Outlaw Ocean, a New York Times Best-Selling book by Ian Urbina that chronicles lawlessness at sea around the world. This reporting touches on a diversity of abuses ranging from illegal and overfishing, arms trafficking at sea, human slavery, gun running, intentional dumping, murder of stowaways, thievery of ships and other topics.

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