Samy Shbib interview

Find Samy@
Official Website

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do for a living?
In anything to do with music, I’m known as “MetalRenard”, i.e. “The Metal Fox” and I’m a student in the UK (but not for much longer)! I’m 23, a metal-head and guitarist, but I’ve never enjoyed playing other people’s music, so from the very beginning I’ve always written my own music.

So far I’ve made money from producing a band’s debut EP (Day By Midnight) and writing tracks for games and videos (VerbalProcessing’s “MineRim” for example).

What is your niche or speciality, that makes you stand out from rest of the audio professionals?
Originally I only listened to, and wrote heavy metal. For the past few years I’ve branched out into much more diverse genres – game score, electronica… But in every one of them I retain a part of “me”, my “voice” which I often describe as “finding the “Epic” in any story and give it a tune”.

Can you give us a brief summary of the equipment you use regularly?
I have an LTD F400 guitar that I record using a Line-6 UX2 and Pod Farm 2. The rest is rather standard.

What are your go-to plug-ins and software? (virtual instruments, audio processing etc.)
I use Reaper (DAW) and Native Instrument’s Komplete for most of my virtual instruments, though I’m looking to get better ones once I have a new PC. I use Ozone 5 for mastering.

When do you find you are most creative?
During the night… which is partly why I work at night. I go to sleep at 6am!

What is your usual process for creating audio content for games, films etc.?
The first thing I do is get as much information as I can from whoever I’m writing the music for. If I’m doing a full OST (like Magin) then I’ll read about the game, it’s past, characters and game-play before even beginning. Next I’ll create a musical universe for the game (unless the game-dev already has a distinct idea) and last of all it’s composition time!

Depending on genre I’ll proceed differently, but for normal “game-score” I’ll write a 20-30 second intro to a song which allows me to create the sounds for the track. From then on I compose until it’s done and finish with a few mixing sessions.

Are there any particular secrets to your creativity?
For me to tell you my secrets I’d have to know them first! Writing music is a very natural and organic thing for me, I’ve never studied music. I just harness what floats around in my mind and export it as an mp3!

Do you have any audio creation techniques that resulted in something interesting?
Well my lead guitar has a very distinctive sound that you’ll hear in all my recent personal compositions, like the songs going onto my album. It’s reminiscent of an epic 80’s lead guitar but with a modern twist. I have some demos on my SoundCloud account for those interested.

Any specific “lessons learned” on a project that you could share?
Well I can offer some advice in general that I’ve learnt from experience and hearing other people’s work…
Start low and work your way up. Don’t buy the best gear right away or:
1. You’ll never appreciate having it.
2. You’ll never learn to get the best out of what you have.
So many people start making music using EWQL’s top of the range gear (often illegally obtained) that they have no idea how to use it and it just ends up sounding like a cheap rip-off.
I may not have the best gear out there, but I appreciate everything I have and I know how to make it sound “pro” thanks to all the time spent learning with the cheapest gear I could find – free stuff.

Any tips, hints or motivational speeches for the readers?
Well my biggest ally so far has been networking. Learn how to market yourself! I can’t stress how important it is to let people know that you exist. If you want to do this for a living, don’t wait for people to come to you – if you even SMELL an opportunity, then pursue it on all fours. Oh wait, that’s the fox in my getting out!