Walid Feghali interview

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

Good day! I am a guy who lives and studies Applied Acoustics Engineering in Gothenburg, Sweden. Ever since I was a kid I have always been fascinated by many things; science, music and art mainly. I knew that when I was a grown up I would at least have somehow worked in all of these areas. And so I kept on reading scientific books, playing the piano and guitar at home and kept drawing and painting. Later came the idea of writing my own orchestral compositions for music, so here I am today, composing music and actually making money from it!

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

I feel that since I haven’t studied music classically, or at any school for that matter, I have my own personal view on music and its influence on people. I definitely do not doubt the great toolbox you get from studying music at a university, but as long as you know where your heart wants to take you with music, you will do just fine without a school. I keep on practicing my own techniques and style, so in that I try to stick out. There’s still a whole lot to learn, of course, but what else do we have than time to learn and progress?

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

For my music creation I use a 61-key MIDI controller (an Oxygen61, USB-connected), a cheap audio interface with slots for XLR- and a microphone cable. I also have a condenser microphone(SE1000A) and KRK Rokit 5 monitors. As for my computer, I have a humble 2 year old PC with 16GB memory, i5 quadcore processor and a decent video card and basically everything I need for my little mini, tiny home studio. My DAW software is Cubase 6.

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

Spitfire Audio is amazing with its orchestral samples, Audiobro (LASS sounds amazing!), Cinematic Strings, Cinesamples also does an amazing job. There’s just so much out there that sounds like Hollywood out of the box. It’s up to you to make it extra shiny!

When do you find you are most creative?

It used to be at night, but now it’s whenever I feel at ease. Also after having played a nice, inspiring game.

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

I like doing a lot of research before writing my first motif; read articles regarding the subject I am writing for, watch clips on Youtube, look at images and paintings, those kinds of things. When I feel creative and inspired enough, I usually lay a musical idea with the piano, or straight go to orchestral mode and fire away if I am confident in my idea (if it’s orchestral, of course). With rock and more band-like material I always start with a guitar. After creating a good, solid theme, riff or motif, I expand on that and try to fit passages and counterparts and leitmotifs to that theme to achieve more interest and content. There’s just so much I do differently every time that it all comes down to the project in itself.

Are there any particular secrets to your creativity?

Yes. I am a wizard… To be frank, creativity comes to me, I don’t seek it. Why it comes, I have no idea. I guess it comes down to appreciating the universe and its content. If you see things as the interesting things they are, you find yourself thinking in more creative planes of thought. Simply put – enjoy life and reflect upon the world you live in, be bold in your thought process and dare doing new things, how crazy they might seem – except for setting your home on fire!

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

None that I can think of off the bat. But I do love playing around with the potential of my own voice. Using pitch shifts, distortion, and many more things. Sometimes I end up with very cool sound effects. Thinking about it now I should do this a lot more, experiment with what I have at my disposal, with digital synthesis, samples and other audio recordings. Thanks for the inspiration!

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

Yes… Oh yes. A good one is: Always be on the edge with asking questions to your project director or the creative responsive. You will save a lot of time with the music writing if you know what your director actually wants. But often they do not know what they want, so you will still have to write a lot… Music is complicated sometimes…
Another one is to always try to record your ideas for a project as soon as you can, especially if you aren’t home. Use your phone; sing in public, who cares? As long as your idea has been recorded and safely stored – it will never to be forgotten.

Any tips, hints or motivational speeches for the readers?

Well, I don’t claim to have the true wisdoms of life, but seriously… Do what you want to do. Don’t let anything or anyone tell you otherwise. If music is what you really want to work, then keep writing it and never stop. Same goes for everything else, really. I study engineering, write music for pay and do concept art. I do all of these, yet I don’t really give a crap of what will be of me in 5 years – I live now, and so do you.