Tell us a little bit about yourself and your sample libraries?
I am a composer, who has always enjoyed the recording process. The sample libraries I cerate for Universal Sampling are a combination of organic, and processed elements. Originally I set out to create custom libraries for myself, to fill gaps in the market, and to create things that I couldn’t buy, but wanted. I had so much fun doing it, and at the behest of several musician friends, I decided to go public with the libraries and sell them.
How do you prepare or should we say, how does one start making sample libraries?
It starts with an idea, and a vision. “I want to wind up with xyz.” I start planning, deciding what instruments to record, how where and with whom, and also what “extras” I will need for processing, mixing, etc. Once those things are in place, I start recording, start chopping up samples, realizing that I also need this and that, record some more, and keep going from there. It’s never really done; it can always be better and there can always be more content. But at some point you have to stop yourself, and say, “ok, it’s done”. Even tho you know it’s really not.
How long does it take to make a sample library? (recording, mixing, programming etc.)
Depends greatly on the library, and where I want it to go. Depends on how many organic instruments need to be recorded, and how much processing and mixing after the fact are required. The Windchimes library – the first I created commercially – took literally two days. Two very long days – probably the equivalent of three “normal” days. I recorded everything in one day, chopped up the recordings into usable samples and imported them into Kontakt in the second day, and I was done. The release was for Kontakt 2; there was no GUI, and there was no processing. The raw samples sounded so good – they sounded so clean and natural – I left them alone and didn’t do anythything to them. Most libraries take just a tad longer, however. :)
Can you give us a little insight on your creative process? (microphone placement, equipment used, vst software)
All of this varies, of course. With Euphoria, I wanted not just a good drum sound, but a great drum sound. I recorded the drums in a great studio with a great sounding room on a vintage Neve console. Used some great mics (Neumann, AKG, etc.), and some great mic techniques from the engineer. Many of the samples that make up Euphoria were heavily processed with analogue gear and sw vsts, like iZotope’s Trash, as one ex. EQ was also used extensively of course, as was time shifting and pitch shifting.
How much sound design is involved in making sample libraries?
Depends on what you are looking to achieve. With Euphoria, there are organic percussion elements, and non-organic percussion elements. The former was hardly processed at all; I try to make sure that everything sounds as good as possible during the recording process, and I try to stay away from “I’ll fix it in the mix.” With the latter, there was, in most cases, a good deal of processing going on, from time and pitch shifting, to extensive EQing and filtering, to dirtying up the sounds and adding edge and grit, to doing whatever was necessary to get the sounds that I was hearing in my head into the library. For the other libraries – Windchimes had no processing whatsoever, and the two guitar libraries (Down And Dirty Guitar, and Guitar FX) had some minimal, basic processing.
What inspires you to make such amazing products?
Not wanting to get yelled at, when the product hits the streets. “Jeff – this library bites the big one, you idiot!!!” LOL Inspiration comes from the things around me, sometimes things that have nothing to do with sample libraries and music. Current events, my frame of mind, the weather…. I get inspired by music I hear from various composers…. “gee – I’d like to make a library that can do THAT!”
Any specific “lessons learned” on a project that you could share?
Yeah – learn when to stop! :)
How can a composer approach you to become a demo writer for your sample library? (Do you accept demo reels from composers?)
Being a composer myself, I do almost all of the demos for the libaries I release. But I do occasionally have another composer write a demo. As far as how to approach – it’s easy. Email! :)
What are your plans for the future?
Making more – and better – sample libraries. I have a few ideas on what I would like to do next, again, to fill gaps in the market. But those ideas are staying with me for the time being!
Any tips, hints or motivational speeches for the readers?
Keep writing music. Always write music. Even if it’s only a few minutes a day. Always write, and always look to improve yourself and better your skills. The more you write, the better you will get.