Brief list of credits
Burning Sands, Life on the line, Chris Brown Documentary, Mighty Mighty Monsters, Wild Canada, Panopticon
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do for a living?
My name is Kevin Lax. I’m originally from the Pacific Northwest and grew up surrounded by music: whether playing piano, performing with a jazz/rock band, singing with a choir, scoring films, or studying scores at the local public library. I studied music composition and film scoring at USC, where I met many upcoming filmmakers who I work with now. I compose for anything from movies to commercials to video games, and also arrange, conduct, and perform piano. Outside of music, I very much enjoy the outdoors, playing sports, traveling, and playing board games.
What is your niche or specialty, that makes you stand out from rest of the audio professionals?
To a degree, I believe my specialty is my versatility because whether I’m writing lush orchestral music, producing contemporary hip-hop/pop music, or composing experimental electronic music, I can find something creatively stimulating about any idea and/or genre I’m working with. Beyond versatility, perhaps my specialty is writing captivating melodies because regardless of the genre, the melody is always part of the equation and something the listener can always appreciate. I think this makes it far easier to jump from one genre to another when you always have a catchy line to work with.
Can you give us a brief summary of the equipment you use regularly?
I regularly use my piano, Moog Voyager, and various other acoustic instruments in my studio, including ethnic woodwinds, guitar, and vocals. I also just started getting into analog signal processing and sampling, which is still a little new to me, but quite thrilling so far.
What are your go-to plug-ins and software? (Virtual instruments, audio processing, etc.)
My work kit includes Omnisphere, Ivory, Symphobia, Serum, Iris, plus Spitfire, Cinesamples, Cinematique and various Sonic Couture libraries. My go to processing plugs are Soundtoys, Fabfilter, Waves, Valhalla, and iZotope. I use Digital Performer and Pro Tools regarding DAW and recording.
When do you find you are most creative?
I think I’m the most creative early in the morning (around 7 a.m.), and then again I get around midnight. Natural settings always stir the creative pot too, especially if I’m in the mountains.
Tell us about your creative process for creating audio content for video games, movies, tv series, etc.?
I make sure to listen to a large variety of music before I start working on any project. Opening my ears to unconsidered musical directions and styles helps me avoid falling into a rut.
Usually, I listen to music that inspires me, or music from the genre of the project at hand, and allow it sufficient time to seep in. Then I focus on developing themes, whether these are melodic/harmonic ideas or more textural/sound design in nature. Once all of this is in place, scoring the project typically goes pretty quickly.
Are there any particular secrets to your creativity?
Collaboration is an aspect that unleashes creativity for me. The interchanging of thoughts and perspectives can definitely be influential whether working with a director/producer or colleague.
It opens directions one might not have considered otherwise.
Do you have any audio creation techniques that resulted in something interesting?
I recently started using the synth iZotope and taking old vinyl samples to run through it. While I’m still learning how to use synth in-depth, the potential is tremendous, and I look forward to generating more sounds with it!
Any specific “lessons learned” during your recent work on Chris Brown’s Documentary that you could share? What was it like working with a pop star? Did you feel lots of pressure?
I would say before you begin working on any documentary, spend some time learning more about the subject (or in this case, listening to a bit of their catalog), so the music you write is more well informed. In this case, Brown has a pretty extensive inventory of songs, so I drew inspiration from his material to set the background for his story. I did feel, there was a little pressure knowing Brown would be evaluating my music, but he was really pleased with the score when the whole film wrapped, so that was certainly an encouraging factor.
Can you tell us about any new projects you’re working on?
Unfortunately, I can’t really share too much about the projects I’m working on at the moment, but I can say that it is stirring me in a very different direction from music documentaries. Audiences will be hearing a new side of me and my work and will be sharing the news soon!
Any directors, composers or specific people you’d like to collaborate with in the future and why?
I’d love to work with Miyazaki or Joe Hisaishi because I think their work is so inventive and definitely transports you to a new world, o f course it would be an honor to work with Spielberg or John Williams and a remarkable catalog.