Thery Ehrlich interview

Thery EhrlichFind Thery @

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do for a living?
I’ve been “musically active” since age 8 when I convinced my parents to sign me up for drum lessons. I got into my first band, when I was 11. The other guys were all 18+ and generous enough to accept me for my mad chops… And maybe a little as their certified babe magnet (“such a cute kid!”).Throughout my teens, I developed strong interests in further musical styles, and by the time I was 16 I’d picked up a copy of Reason 2.5 and discovered a deep love for sample and synthesis-based music writing. In my very first attempts, I wrote a couple of, now quite embarrassing, orchestral pieces. But at least they were a way for me to learn how to use the software and I’ve been hooked on composing ever since! Presently, I split my time between working as a computer “savant” and my production company, Hourglass Music, composing music for Film, TV and Games.

What is your niche or speciality, that makes you stand out from rest of the audio professionals?
I specialize in powerful and deep rhythmical orchestral cues with hints of Electronic Music and Rock. But I also enjoy exploring other styles, adapting along the way as I write. Since my music is for Film, TV and Games, it’s music that helps tell the story, music that brings the director’s vision to life, music that’s right for the medium… In other words music that works.

Can you give us a brief summary of the equipment you use regularly?
My main rig is a custom built PC with 16 gigs of ram and the fastest Core i7 processor available. I use two 20” displays for easier editing and mixing. I largely compose through midi but also record audio for sound design as well as real instruments through my Digidesign 003 interface. Oddly enough, I don’t usually compose through monitors as I like the intimacy headsets bring; I use a pair of Beyer Dynamic DT770 Pro’s to do initial writing and then studio monitors when the track is ready for mixing and mastering. Can’t leave out mentioning my Akai MPK88 midi controller, a victim of “brutality” when recording Damage hits!

What are your go-to plug-ins and software? (virtual instruments, audio processing etc.)
My go to DAW is Pro Tools, which I know is an unusual choice when it comes to midi orchestration; but I’ve tamed it to where I want from a workflow point of view. My go to libraries are: Massive and Razor, two synths I find extremely versatile. Then there’s Cinebrass Core and Pro (gotta love them BRAAAAMS!), a blend between LASS Lite and Cinematic Strings 2, Storm Choir, Damage and a ton of other more obscure sample libraries, all tools that broaden my creative horizons.

When do you find you are most creative?
When I’m driving. I don’t know why, but there’s just something about the open road that inspires me musically. The only downside is that I occasionally “misremember” some cool stuff before I get the chance to write it down. But a lot of it does survive and makes it into my tracks.

What is your usual process for creating audio content for games, films etc.?
I become intimately familiar with the content that the music is going to support. I dive into the story and the medium as well as grasp the director’s visions, goals, emotions, messages, etc. that the music will bring to life.

Are there any particular secrets to your creativity?
Relentlessness and self-critique are my two best buddies when composing. Anytime I get stuck, I take a break: a 20-minute snooze or out and onto the road. Always clears my mind.

Do you have any audio creation techniques that resulted in something interesting?
Yes! “The happy mistake”! For example, as it happens, I’ve accidentally moved a midi note region to the wrong place. And guess what, the track worked even better than with the region in its intended place!

Any tips, hints or motivational speeches for the readers?
Yes, following up on the above: Make mistakes! Because I’ve noticed that often enough they are in fact innovative creativity breaking through from your unconscious.