Saturday, February 05, 2000

From Storyboards to Sound Design

As an young adult, my professional skill set was influenced by several teachers and colleagues: While at NYU, I had a wonderful opportunity to spend a year studying with Sergio Cervetti, a classical composer from Uruguay with deft electronic ability, global and melodic sensibilities; and an open ear to pop culture.

To my mind Sergio represented a model of what I thought a contemporary composer should be –someone who had access to all the inner workings of their soul and who could communicate it in their music. You know, some people spend their entire lives searching for a perfect sound, a funky beat, a cool groove, a hip riff, a nasty lick, a majestic melody, a divine cadence... but what I wanted from music all along was –and is– direct access to my own soul. Not to much to ask, is it?

I also learned a lot from the people I worked with over the years. Alexander Lasarenko filled my ears with Fauré, Mahler and Schubert, and sharpened my ability to transform flat storyboards into musical concepts. Michael Sweet and Chris Fosdick furthered my understanding of recording studio technology. I also worked with rock guitarist Eric Schermerhorn as often as I could, not only because he was the best man for the job, but so that I could watch how prodigious hands crawl around the neck of the guitar up close and personal. Some call it stealing, I call it learning. If there was any guitarist I ever wanted to emulate, it was Eric.

At Machine Head, Stephen Dewey deepened my appreciation for Sound Design. Stephen also gave me the freedom to break the old project management mold and define myself not as someone who carried out ideas, but as someone who conceived them; pitched them and then directed their development. By the time I left Machine Head to start Blister Media, I definitely felt like I could do anything I put my mind to. That's a good gift to give someone. I hope I can pass it along, too, to someone else along the way.

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