Emmett Cooke Interview

Find Emmett @
Film Game Composers
Audio for apps
VST Buzz

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do for a living?
I’m a composer and sound designer for a diverse range of media including films, games, tv and apps. In terms of what I do for a living, well I guess I’m 50% a music library composer, 50% a normal “scoring” composer, and 50% entrepreneur (thats 150%, but seems about right!).

What is your niche or speciality, that makes you stand out from rest of the audio professionals?
My niche that has seemed to get me the most work and sales in music libraries is that I write a lot of “minimalist” music – especially minimal piano music. I’ve written a large number of tracks in this style and keep getting more requests from people for more.

Can you give us a brief summary of the equipment you use regularly?
I use more software than hardware, but am starting to shift a little more to hardware each year. In terms of hardware, I use a custom built PC, Access Virus Ti Keyboard, KRK RP 5 monitors (soon to be Adam A7x), Lexicon IO82 interface, PRS SE guitar, Reflexion Filter PRO for recording vocals/some violin etc. and a couple of mics.

What are your go-to plug-ins and software? (virtual instruments, audio processing etc.)
I use Cubase 6 and a whole host of VSTS:

– All the East West plugins (Hollywood Brass, Hollywood Woodwinds, Hollywood Strings, Fab Four, Ministry of Rock, Dark Side etc.)
– Cinematic Strings 2
– Syphonic Sphere
– Symphobia 1 + 2
– Komplete 7
– Ivory Grand Pianos 2
– Sonic Couture plugins
– 8 Dio Plugins
– Soundiron Plugins

I’ve used the Alloy 2 demo lately and will be adding it to my collection soon!

When do you find you are most creative?
Mostly in the morning time – but after having done some good excersise (no matter what time of the day), I’ll feel really creative too.

What is your usual process for creating audio content for games, films etc.?
My process for creating audio content for any media is to first of all decide on what “colours” I want to use throughout – colours are created from instruments and instrument groups. I’ll then go about creating themes as required, and elaborate on both the colours and themes from there.

Are there any particular secrets to your creativity?
Nope! Just focus on ONE thing at a time. If you spend your day switching from half way through one thing to something else, the time spent for your brain to make the “mental switchover” is just wasted time – you’ll be a lot less productive!

Do you have any audio creation techniques that resulted in something interesting?
No I don’t to be honest. I’m still experimenting a lot with a number of techniques – at the moment I’m playing around a little with instrumental phasing, similar to that of Steve Reich. Its good fun, but doesn’t have much use in a professional setting yet that I can see.

Any specific “lessons learned” on a project that you could share?
A couple of years ago I was working on music for CBS for a timelapse they were doing. At the time they asked me to write some pulsing piano music for them – I sat down that night and wrote a 3 minute piece from start to finish and was delighted with the results. I sent it onto them, and got an email back saying they were looking for a different style of piano music and had to start again from scratch. Lesson learned: always ensure you and your client are both on the exact same wavelength as to what they want! Get some examples of exactly what they are looking for and make sure you both are in agreement before you start work!

Any tips, hints or motivational speeches for the readers?
Only one – “keep going, and don’t stop”. There are SO many talented people out there and I see so many of them give up over time. No matter what it is, composing, running, flying – keep doing it and you will eventually succeed. That is literally the only one thing that you need in order to succeed – just perseverance. When you mix perseverance with “talent”, you get an even stronger solution and are even more likely to succeed.