Chris Haigh interview


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Music licensed for trailers of Saints Row 4, Pacific Rim, The Wolverine, Spartacus etc.

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do for a living?

My name is Chris Haigh, I’m from the UK and for my living I compose music for motion pictures, TV and Games Advertising.

What is your niche or speciality, that makes you stand out from rest of the audio professionals?

I’m not sure I have anything specific that stands out from other composers but I would say I specialise in big, epic, cinematic trailer music, as that is the main area that I have composed in for the last 4 years. I really love big themes and beautiful melodies. I guess I’m always trying to find my own sound but who isn’t.

Can you give us a brief summary of the equipment you use regularly?

I use a PC utilising 16 gig of Ram. I use Cubase as my DAW, a CME UF80 midi keyboard, Roland TD-9 V-drums and several guitars.

What are your go-to plug-ins and software? (virtual instruments, audio processing etc.)

For orchestra – EWQL Hollywood Strings and Brass, EQWL Piano, Cinebrass, Cineperc, EWQL Choirs.
Percussion – SD2 and SD3, Damage, Stylus RMX, 8dio Perc.
Synths and Basses – Juggernaut, Omnisphere, Hybrid Tools 1 & 2, NI Evolve.
And many more….

When do you find you are most creative?

When I have to be I guess. I work to a lot of short deadlines so you find you have to feel some sort of creativity as and when you work. I don’t think there is a method to feeling creative, I think the key is you just have to know how to harness the inspiration when it comes.

What is your usual process for creating audio content for games, films etc.?

Well I usually work to a very detailed brief of what the client wants. It is usually a genre of music or maybe just a certain feel or emotion. e.g Dark Drama, Epic Action Rock etc. I then think about the palette I will be using for that album (what sort of instruments would work best). Then I guess I just crack on. I find visual images help me a great deal. For example if I’m working on a Dark apocalyptic album. I may skim the internet for images of those sorts of scenes, people in gas masks in a vast toxic landscape and then I can write a soundtrack to what I see.

Are there any particular secrets to your creativity?

I guess I respond to epic and vast visual images that I think usually helps get my creative juices flowing and again the dreaded deadline.

Do you have any audio creation techniques that resulted in something interesting?

I like to create drones/background sounds to certain pieces by time stretching audio I have recorded and then adding reverbs and delays to get the effect that I’m after. Then I may layer piano and strings over the top which can create a really ethereal texture to the cue.

Any specific “lessons learned” on a project that you could share?

When working with orchestra’s or live musicians, really try and give them as much detail in the scores as you can especially when you are not present at the recording. I once missed out a few slur lines on the violin scores and they basically played the notes as they read them, without the joined legato notes I wanted. So basically double check and triple check and really let the players know with your scores what you want from the music.

Any tips, hints or motivational speeches for the readers?

I’m not sure how helpful this is but this is what I always tell composers who are starting out or wanting to have a career in the music industry. Whatever you do don’t give up. Even if you have to work a full time job and compose through the night (which I had to do at one point). Keep writing and getting better at what you do and eventually it will happen. The main thing is not to give up on your dream if you want it bad enough.