Todd Haberman interview

Todd-Haberman Find more about Todd Haberman @
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Brief list of credits

Satanic, Mortal Kombat 9, Bad Asses, Ride Along, Miles Away, Wholehearted

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

I grew up in the suburbs of New York City on Long Island. I attended New York University and at first I was a music technology major. My friends in the film school were asking me to score their films and my love of film music exploded over night. After college I moved to Los Angeles to start an internship at Hans Zimmer’s studio, Media Ventures. I learned more there in 4 weeks than I did in my 4 years at college and it solidified for me that writing music for film and television was what I wanted to be doing with my life.

Tell us about your work in Satanic, how would you describe the score you created for the feature?

The score for Satanic is a modern hybrid. There is a lot of synth work and some great string writing from Jim and I. We did not have a budget that allowed us to record a live orchestra so we had to dig in and make something truly scary and cinematic on our own. And I am very happy with the results.

You have scored many horror projects in the past, how do you make each soundtrack sound different and unique?

Changing up the template when starting a new project is key. Getting rid of the crutches that you are used to will make all the difference in the world and that is what inspires me to go to new places.

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

I write in Cubase and I print my mixes in Pro Tools where I keep my video playback as well. Currently both systems are on the Mac OS. I use 3 iPads, two for Cubase and one for Pro Tools. I’m running VEPro on multiple machines and have a plethora of instruments and FX plugins to play with. I also have some hardware synths like the Access Virus Ti, the Nord Lead 2 and most recently the Moog Sub37. I monitor with DynAudios in surround.

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

I am in love with the Zebra synth plugin. It sounds terrific and is a versatile synth. The Virus Ti, various Kontact synths from 8Dio, Heavyocity, and Spitfire are regulars in my template. Universal Audio makes such wonderful sounding processing plugins that I regularly use loads of them. The LA2A and LA3A, 1176, Fatsos, Dreamverb, Roland D-Dimension, the list goes on. So many great ones to chose from! And the Virtual Mix Rack from Steven Slate Audio is amazing! Sound toys are regularly all over my sequences as well as the FabFilter plugins. In Pro Tools I have been using a Lexicon reverb as well as Altiverb. The Virtual Mix Rack from Slate Digital is also all over my Pro Tools template and the ML-4000 from McDSP is a staple on my stems.

When do you find you are most creative?

Early in the morning or late at night I find I get the best music. That’s not to say I can’t write something I love in the middle of the day. But there’s a certain peace I feel early in the morning and late at night when fewer people are around the studio that works for me.

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

After all the conversations have been completed on direction I like to find some music or a film that inspires me to get in the right mood. It always starts with a bit of trial and error until the right chord is struck, so to speak. I will try to find the melody and direction of the music before starting in with the production, but sometimes those things go hand in hand. I can spend all day making one sound that triggers an avalanche of musical ideas.

Are there any particular secrets to your creativity?

I wish there were! That would take out a lot of the guesswork at the beginning!

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

Always be willing to change. It’s important to write something that you are connected with and stand behind. But also remember that you are writing to serve the picture and if it needs to be changed to better serve the picture than it’s a good thing. Even if the cue has been approved for 3 weeks and the dub is ending tomorrow. If there is a request to change something to make the film better, than get of your ass and make it better!

Can you tell us about any other upcoming projects you’re working on?

I recently finished a film about a mother and her son escaping an abusive father called Great Plains from director Blair Hayes and Executive Producer KristoferMcNeeley. It’s a terrific film and I hope it gets a wide release for people to see. I am currently in the middle of a film from director Matt Eskandari and EP Hannah Pillemer called 12 Feet Deep. Deep is a thriller about sisters who become trapped under the fiberglass cover of a public pool. It’s an excellent film and I am excited with the music I am coming up with for it. I can’t wait for this one to get out in the world as well!

Any tips, hints or motivational speeches for the readers?

Write what you love. Don’t try and be someone else. People will come to you for what you do best.