Terry Jones interview

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

Hi. my name is Terry, I’m 41 years old and right now I’m a part-time composer for film and media looking to hopefully make my first big breakthroughs in the coming year. :)

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

Well, I try to listen to as many different styles of music as possible in my spare time and pick up influences wherever I can, but I’ll confess that I do have a particular fondness for classic orchestral film soundtracks! I’d have to say that my own natural style definitely drifts towards more melodic, tuneful writing with hopefully a strong emotional bent. Whether that makes me stand out particularly from other composers out there is for the listener to decide, I just try to be myself.

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

Well, my main music PC is a quad-core Intel i5, with 8GB of RAM and about 2TB of HDD space. I use an M-Audio Keyrig 49 as my main keyboard and have a Foscurite VRM box with Sennhieser HD 202 headphones for mixing. It’s a modest set-up but it gets the job done!

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

Again it’s a fairly modest set-up, but I have been adding to it just recently. Right now I have the following EastWest libraries; EWQLSO, EWQLSC. Ra, Pianos Gold, Goliath, Gypsy and Ministry of Rock 1. I just recently purchased Kontakt 5 and got Heavyocity Damage, NI Studio Drummer and Scarbee Funk Guitarist to go with it. On the effects plugins side of things I find myself using QL Spaces a lot just recently.

When do you find you are most creative?

This is quite a tricky one for me due to the situation in my personal life right now. I have to try and be creative during the evenings as much as possible as there isn’t much time to do so otherwise!

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

I don’t think there is a usual process as such, certainly not for me. There are certain aspects that remain consistent from project to project in relation to how you engage with others that are involved; the process of understanding what it is exactly a director seeks to evoke emotionally at certain points for example, or trying to understand what the underlying motives of the main characters are and how this relates to the use of thematic material etc. My personal process for finding a “voice” for a particular project can vary quite a bit depending on what I learn from these meetings. It may be that I sit down and begin improvising melodic ideas at the keyboard until I happen across something that works for me, or I may decide to approach things from a pure sound design point of view through the use of synthesis or mangling existing or self recorded samples. It really is dependent on what the project itself requires.

Are there any particular secrets to your creativity?

Not really, although I would say that I do find it important to try to get into “the zone” musically and this can (frustratingly!) take a while sometimes. On average it will usually take me an hour or so of just experimenting and messing around before I really begin to feel the direction of a piece and start to feel comfortable about where it is going.

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

Not really, although I have been known to take what would be fairly normal sounding samples and mangle them out of all recognition occasionally if it suits my purposes. :)

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

I’d say I’m still in that learning process, but the one thing I have learned is to always expect the unexpected! You never know when something in a project is going to change dramatically so it’s best to be prepared for that and just try to roll with the punches when it happens! :)

Any tips, hints or motivational speeches for the readers?

These things have probably been said a million times by others on here, but honesty, integrity and being the kind of person (approachable, friendly) who people want to talk to/work with again and again are really important. It’s also important that you can do what you say you are going to do, so try not to oversell yourself if you’ve no chance of delivering on it as it will come back to bite you later! Having said all that it’s also important that you enjoy the battle of the creative process itself, the job is tough enough already without making yourself constantly miserable in the process! ;-)