11/13/2008

audio_ Output: Devine Sound

For some reason it has taken Richard Devine and Josh Kay both an exceedingly long time to do the inevitable: Launch their own sound design company. The boutique company, Devine Sound, has a well rounded client base that includes Coke, Lexus, Nike and other companies in their 'Clients' link (Hey, do you think I really know this off the top of my head?). So if they already have an incredible clientele why is this important? They want your business. They will be offering an extensive library of sounds that will make your next post-production project stand out from the rest. I was able to throw some inane questions at them hoping to shed some light on their processes.

The Point
I wanted to start a small boutique company that focuses on designing interesting sounds for all types of media applications, film, TV, video games etc. The direction is more on sound effects, but is open to an entire world of sounds, everything from foley acoustic sounds, to high tech interface sounds, surreal ambience's to microscopic tiny mechanical sfx. It really is us trying to create high quality cutting edge sound effects. Our true love has always been electro acoustic music where a single precisely placed, and extremely unique sound can have a tremendous emotional impact. This is very similar to our approach.

Richard, melodies are missing from your tracks, can you explain why this is a conscious decision?
Yes, I have always considered my music to be more focused on sounds and textures. I would say that I am more of a sound collage artist. It's quite obvious when you listen to my recordings you can hear layers and layers of complex sounds, which are sometimes synthetic, and acoustic. I love trying to use alien sound scapes to take the listener into entirely different realms of the mind. I try to stay away from using conventional instruments, structures and melodies. I am more interested in having the sounds tell the story.

Josh, what do you make of Richard's lack of melody?
Richie is like a voltage controlled switch. He can make a sickly sweet, sappy, and tear jerkingly beautiful melodic song with little or no rhythmic content or he can make a song that sounds like the inter workings of space elevator. Maybe via osmosis I can influence him to somehow mix the two. =)

Could you describe the life cycle of a sound from beginning to end?
We have started creating sounds hundreds of different ways. It will never start the same way. Sometimes we will sample something that is completely insane, like fireworks, or burning trees, or huge mechanical utility fans, and playing them like steel drums. We try go try to come up with some really left field sounds, and try to go in the not so typical approach to making the sounds. I might start out by making a kick drum on the Cwejman S1mk2 then run it through an Eventide H-8000 for detailed frequency modulation then run that into the Arp-2600 Spring Reverb, then finally coat the final sound in the Kyma system for really intelligent FFT time spectral blurring and smearing of the sound to create maybe a completely strange new sound. Like making an entire 5 minute ambient track out of only using 1 second of sound. We really have a completely different approach to what kind of sound we want to create, and hopefully we will inspire composers, sound designers, anyone interested in experimenting with sound. The sounds that we ware working on will hopefully work for many musical styles like Minimal techno, Electronica, Electro, IDM, Electro Acoustic, Noise, Experimental Breakcore, or sounds for Film & TV. We are basically creating sounds that are very complex and strange, and at the same time give users something really fun and useful for making music with. We also aim to try and make sounds for software and hardware companies, developing the sounds of the future. We work on many projects for some of the most well respected hardware/software companies. Our clients have included everyone from Apple Computers, Microsoft Software and Gaming Division, Sony, and literally hundreds of corporate media companies.

How do you guys compliment each other in this endeavor?
There are many benefits to working with another partner. First you have a second set of ears that hears thing from a completely different prospective. So having second opinion is always great when you have been working on a project long period of time. Having someone come in and listen to what you have been working on with a fresh pair of ears will usually reveal some things that you may have overlooked or not have thought about. Plus you have someone that you can bounce ideas off of. Having an extra hand help out with editing files, and file sorting is great. I have worked with Josh for many years in the record industry and we have a great relationship with him. He is an excellent programmer/sound designer. He has always brought really innovate ideas to the table, and is great with problem solving in really tricky situations. He is also very dedicated and works very hard, and cares about the quality of the work.

What should users expect out of your Free Downloads section?
We wanted to give away sounds every few months so users have something to play around with. I love hearing what other artists and composers do with our sounds. Hearing how other people use these sounds will teach us a lot about how we can make new sounds in the future that will even be more interesting and useful for anyone interested in using sounds that are really unique. So the whole idea was to give away a selection of sampled sounds that could be used either as sound effects or as percussion sounds for electronic drum programming, or sprinkled into a music composition/sound design project. It's really completely open, and we have no rules as to how the sounds should be used. The most important thing is that we want to inspire everyone to make cool music with these sounds.

These sounds will range from everything from field recordings, prepared & exotic instruments, unique convolution impulses, and samples from our ever-growing collection custom acoustic and electronic instruments. We are also planning on releasing a completely new sound design library that will be sold on the web site early later next year. Giving away these free samples will give people an idea of whats to come and maybe stimulate interests in our other future libraries.

They have a Sound Design Library available as well as an open Remix Contest sponsored by Native Instruments and Sony. You can also read about their last Library: The Electronic Music Manuscript in a previous article Justin wrote!

2 comments:

Torley said...

Great interview and insights! It'll be pretty kewl to see more sound libraries from Devine Sound — all too often, there's excellent sound design for corporations and movies that isn't available to other people who want to access these "sonic secrets", and I'm glad that Richard + Josh are so forthright about wanting others to use their materials to make music! :D

surachai said...

I know what you're saying. I don't have any idea who keeps any 'sonic secrets' - I understand there is some stigma with the electronic music community for their secrecy but honestly I've never encountered it. Everyone I've met have been so open and willing to share their techniques. I'd love to do an article on these people and their secrets.