Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category


Danny Elfman (The Simpsons theme) Discusses Scoring Terminator Salvation with Omnisphere!

June 17, 2009

Spectrasonics Omnisphere is the first virtual instrument to be based on the Spectrasonics STEAM Engine, the company’s newly developed core technology.

The Omnisphere development team will be revealing the new instrument to the public through a series of video episodes from the Spectrasonics website showing features and behind the scenes details on how the instrument and its unique sounds have been created.

“This is truly an Epic project,” said Eric Persing, Founder and Creative Director of Spectrasonics. “We have been working for many, many years; sampling unique sounds, experimenting, specifying the synthesis features and building the STEAM Engine to run it all. It’s been a very exciting process involving our team of software engineers, sound designers, musicians, and graphic artists from all over the world. We’ve been very deliberate in making it easy to use, and yet extremely powerful. Omnisphere is our new flagship synthesizer, and points the way to all our future virtual instruments. We are thrilled to offer a new product that will new have a host of expansion capabilities in the future.”


With the fourth installment of the sci-fi series Terminator, composer Danny Elfman weighs in with a gripping film score that features Spectrasonics’ Omnisphere virtual instrument on many of the music cues – Elfman often used two Omnispheres for up to sixteen possible sounds at once.

Danny Elfman told us, “I would have to say that discovering Omnisphere this last year has been one of my greatest pleasures. I’m always looking for new sounds and new plug-ins to run with my sequencer, which is Digital Performer. Using Omnisphere along with DP is fantastic for several reasons. First, there’s a great core library to choose from and Eric Persing has, along with all the Spectrasonics sound designers, done a really vast and thorough job. It’s great, finally, to have sounds organized so well with the many ‘tags’ that they provide. Secondly, it’s really easy to program your own custom sounds. My first day, I already had several dozen edits that I really liked and put them in a separate ‘Favorites’ folder. The Omnisphere browser system made it super easy to find them as I needed them.”

“When I began Terminator Salvation I knew I was going to do a lot of synth work and so I began with a bank of their sounds and a slew of my own variations that I thought I could use, and use them I did. On almost every cue,” continued Elfman.


“More specifically, I found myself diving into the ‘Psychoacoustic‘ sounds a lot, frequently in the ‘Experimental’ and ‘Film’ genres. I also found myself often going to the ‘Distortion’ category, also in the ‘Experimental’ and ‘High-Energy’ genres.”

“An example of what I did would be taking the ‘Buzzord’ sounds, which I had half a dozen custom variations that I came up with. Several variations on the ‘Big Boomer Trash Strike’ from the ‘Impacts and Hits’ category was used a lot. From the ‘Pads + Strings’ group I went to the ‘Sweeping Pads’ and ‘Quirky’ tags a lot. The patch ‘Secondary Strike’ from the ‘SFX and Noise’ category and ‘Sound FX’ genre was very useful and like the others, I had a number of variations on it. Finally the ‘Hybrid Organic’ category gave me sounds that I would use both as hits and pads and sometimes a cross between them,” Elfman explained.

“I can’t say enough good things about Omnisphere,” said Elfman. “I love doing my own synth editing, but I’m no programming genius and I have very little patience for new plug-ins that require steep leaning curves to start really ‘working’ the patches I like. Omnisphere was really easy and intuitive. And for each file in DP, I’d make all the edits and variations on my sounds as was required, and having them attached to that file for later use made my life easier.”

“My compliments to Eric and all the folks at Spectrasonics.  Good work.”

Daniel Robert “Danny” Elfman (born May 29, 1953) is a Grammy Award-winning American musician, best known for composing music for television and movies, and leading the rock band Oingo Boingo as singer/songwriter from 1976 until its breakup in 1995. He is a frequent collaborator with long-time friend Tim Burton, and has scored all but two of his films. He was nominated for four Academy Awards and won a Grammy Award for Tim Burton’s Batman and an Emmy Award for his Desperate Housewives theme. Elfman also wrote the theme for the video game Fable. He is also famous for creating The Simpsons main title theme, and his role as Jack Skellington’s singing voice in The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Be sure to check out Danny’s fine score for the film!



Eminem sues his own record label

February 25, 2009

Eminem sues his own record label


Eminem: has royalty issues.

Eminem’s Relapse album might be set to be released via Universal Music, but a new lawsuit suggests that all is not completely well between artist and record company.

It’s being reported that F.B.T. Productions, Eminem’s publishing company, is suing Universal Music Group for $1.6m for unpaid digital royalties.

The case has come about because of a disagreement over whether a download sale – of a song or ringtone, for example – should fall under a licensing or distribution agreement. When music is sold in a physical format, it’s said to be licensed, and artists receive a higher royalty.

However, it seems that Universal has up to now been putting Eminem’s digital sales under the distribution header, meaning that he’s been paid less.

The trial is expected to feature several high-profile testimonies, including one (via video) from Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who’s currently on leave of absence from the company. He’ll be asked to speak about the iTunes Music Store’s relationship with Universal, presumably.

It’s being speculated that a victory for Eminem could be the catalyst for other artists to bring similar cases against record labels.


Top 10 Music Industry Predictions for 2009

January 27, 2009


If 2008 was like the Wild West for the music industry, what does that say about our future in 2009? Brace yourself because it’s not all good news, but from conflict and struggle comes creativity, which is all the more reason to forge ahead.

Economically, 2009 is set to be a very difficult year, perhaps the most difficult one that anyone can remember. That will have a profound impact on the music industry, already in disruptive transition. The majors are in serious decline, outside of the recent economic meltdown. But expect the typical music fan to spend even less in 2009, especially on traditional items like CDs. That means less shelf space at big-box retailers like Wal-Mart and serious downward pressure on label balance sheets. The result? Majors will be further forced into a defensive position. Expect four major labels to move to three, either through acquisition, bankruptcy or another disruptive event. The consolidations will continue.

People are dialing back their spending and stuffing cash in their mattresses. Entertainment typically fares well in a bad economy, but high-price shows may not this time around. Expect thinner crowds at shows for big-name artists who refuse to offer a bargain. The rest is a toss-up: Cheaper club shows will probably still appeal to dedicated music fans, though bigger adventures could face a pinch.

The paid download has surged into the billions since the iTunes Store (then the iTunes Music Store) debuted in 2003. But the excitement is starting to wane, especially as the iPod buzz wears off. And that is a problem, especially as the iPod is one of the biggest drivers of paid download sales. Expect paid downloads to flatten in 2009, especially as disposable cash shrinks.

Almost every music fan now has an iPod (or three). Since debuting in 2001, the device has become both an icon and a commonplace toy. Apple will still sell millions of iPods in 2009, but the new shiny toy is the iPhone, especially as capacities and capabilities improve. The current iPhone 3G has its issues, but Apple is still cutting its teeth. Expect a greatly improved update at a price people can afford. That is the face of the new portable player and part of a quickly growing mobile-music sector.

Some of the greatest music comes from the hardest times, and this will be no different. Actually, the difference this time is that great music is spread instantly, with or without the participation of the artist. Some will successfully monetize that energy and some won’t, but expect more creativity ahead.

Older artists like Guns N’ Roses are suing leakers and making exclusive deals with Best Buy. The rest are playing a new game, one that puts less emphasis on the recording and more on other aspects of the business, including touring, licensing, advertising and publishing. That means less acrimony between artists and fans and a healthier marketplace.

The flush days of well-funded music startups will take a hiatus, at least during 2009. Less liquidity and less credit means less funding from venture capitalists. But the daring entrepreneur will still find a way through “bootstrapping,” a term used by VCs to describe a self-financed startup. Savings accounts, credit cards and sweat equity will power startups in 2009, but expect some steely, strong teams and ideas to emerge. Sometimes, a downtime is the best time to start a company, simply because of the discipline and focus it creates.

This could be the year that BitTorrent truly enraptures the music industry. P2P apps like LimeWire deliver the single, but BitTorrent is the place for albums, discographies and DVD collections. And for those who can still afford their broadband connections, the lure will become irresistible.

Bigger, diversified players will continue to gain steam. That includes LiveNation and Ticketmaster, both companies aiming to deliver a more comprehensive suite of artist products and experiences. It also includes labels such as Universal Music Group, a company pushing more aggressively into publishing, merchandising and management. But time is narrowing for labels, and 2009 could be make-or-break.

Rock Band, Guitar Hero, Grand Theft Auto and SingStar have all helped to layer some bling into the music experience. Instead of listening to “Back in Black,” a younger generation is playing it—and then buying it, seeing it and playing it some more. Expect this story to keep growing in 2009, especially as consumers seek some refuge from the stresses of a down economy.

Source: Paul Resnikoff


Little Boots: Hot New Talent Brings Tenori-On AND Stylophone To Jools Holland!

November 10, 2008

Little Boots is the musical alter ego of Blackpool lass Victoria Hesketh, former singer with Dead Disco. At last week’s Later With Jools Holland show on BBC 2, Little Boots brought together vintage and new technologies, with a stunning performance that used both a Stylophone AND a Tenori-On!

Little Boots and her microKorg

Little Boots came to life when Victoria left her former band Dead Disco because, according to her, ‘It was obvious to me that indie was getting boring, and things were going to go more pop,’

So she got hold of a few synths (including a microKorg she never seens too far from), a stylophone and a Tenori-On – which she claims to push “to its limits”- and started making music inspired by the likes of The Bee Gees, though tracks such as “Medley” played at Jools Holland remind of edgier acts such as Bats For Lashes.

Watch her inspired performance at Jools Holland:

Find out more about Little Boots gear:

Yamaha Tenori-On

Dubreq Stylophone

Korg microKORG


Top Dance Producer Stuart Crichton and sE in Dance Floor Heaven!

August 12, 2008

Whether tracking for Kylie, Pet Shop Boys or Sugababes, Stuart Crichton uses sE mics “on every production I do”…

Stuart with his sE gear

Stuart with his sE gear

For producer and engineer Stuart Crichton, making records that move the dance floor is a passion that can be charted back to the very beginnings of Progressive House. With hundreds of releases to his name, Stuart has not only released tracks on seminal labels (FFRR, Epic, ZTT, Mushroom, Nettwerk, React), but was also instrumental in making Limbo Records a leading light on the early ’90s progressive scene.

Since those early days he has immersed himself in the world of music production. And with over 15 years production experience he’s forgotten more about making dance floor bombs than most producers will ever know – how else do you get to work on tracks for Jamelia and Kylie (Parlophone), Simon Webbe (Innocent), Delta Goodrem (SonyBMG), Jonas (Universal) and Brian McFadden (Sony/BMG).

He’s also just returned from a successful writing trip in Nashville and won The Miami Best Pop Award in 2005 for his artist project Narcotic Thrust (not in any way a reference to ‘disco beans’, but rather an anagram of Stuart Crichton!), with “I Like It” (UK No.7).

Stuart may have his roots in dance but vocals play a huge part in his productions, and he can easily turn his hand to most styles of music, as previous successes with Kylie, Charlotte Church, Pet Shop Boys, Bond and The Sugababes will testify.

His back catalogue reads like a who’s who list of dance and pop heavyweights, and this experience has led him to experiment with practically every type of microphone going…and from all of them one brand sits on top of them all for Stuart – sE Electronics.

“I’m using a few sE mics in the studio right now,” Stuart reports from his Hastings-based studio. “I particularly like the Z5600aII [multi-pattern tube condenser], the SE1a [small diaphragm condenser] stereo pair, and the new GM10 [guitar mic]. The Z5600aIII use on every vocal production I do.
…and having just got the GM10, well, I’m using that absolutely every time I record acoustic guitar… it’s just amazing!”

As is often the way when deciding on new microphones, it was a suggestion from a fellow engineer that got Stuart into the sE mics in the first place. “My friend Javier Weyler recommended the Z5600aII to me when he was an assistant engineer at Sahara Studios. He told me that sE mics offered amazing quality for a great price – and he wasn’t wrong! He’s now the drummer in the Stereophonics… clever chap!”

“Sure, with microphones it’s all about the sound, but sE mics make my life easier. These mics are just so flexible. I don’t think I’m being overly dramatic when I tell you that I couldn’t live without my sE mics now. These mics can handle all of my recording needs – period!”

“When you’re capturing a performance there’s one rule that I use to decide if I’ve got the recording I need: if it sounds right, it is right. And with sE mics I can be really confident that they’re giving me exactly the results I need.”