The S&V Interview

Sort By: Post DateTitle Publish Date
Timothy J. Seppala  |  Mar 01, 2012  |  0 comments

The Reapers are upon us. Mass Effect 3 is out next Tuesday, and with it Commander Shepard's story is coming to a close. I took the opportunity to chat with the series' audio lead, Rob Blake about his team's work in defining the Mass Effect franchise. Over the course of his career he's worked on everything from feature films to Spongebob Squarepants games, but counts his efforts at developer BioWare as the most challenging gigs he's encountered.

"What we do here dwarfs anything I've done before," he told me.

Timothy J. Seppala  |  May 30, 2012  |  0 comments

Last week, we told you about all the work that went into the refreshed soundtrack for Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD. S+V also talked with Robomodo president Josh Tsui about the whole range of challenges involved in recreating a classic game for a modern era.

Timothy J. Seppala  |  Sep 05, 2012  |  0 comments

Harmonix Music Systems redefined the peripheral-based rhythm genre with Rock Band in 2007. Five years, two numbered sequels and a few notable band-specific spin-offs later, their fans have a huge music library at their disposal. Thanks to smart thinking at the outset, almost all of the material from each successive game release has been playable within the Rock Band ecosystem (The Beatles Rock Band notwithstanding). There's somewhere in the neighborhood of three thousand songs in the Rock Band catalog if you count the community-authored tracks available on the Rock Band Network store.

The problem is, no one wants to buy peripheral-based games anymore. The novelty's over and isn't coming back anytime soon. Despite this, Harmonix has been keeping Rock Band fresh by releasing new songs and albums each week for players to download. This is great for hardcore fans, but not everyone wants to go through the hassle of getting the band back together because they want to play a few new tracks. That's where Rock Band Blitz comes in.

Timothy J. Seppala  |  May 23, 2012  |  0 comments

Late last year during the Spike Video Game Awards a familiar image resurfaced: A lanky towhead skateboarding around a dingy warehouse. The problem was that - aside from the sound of trucks grinding on a railing - the video was silent. Today, the team at Robomodo - the developer behind Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD - breaks that silence. I took the opportunity to speak with the game's producers and audio designer to learn how much work goes into re-licensing a classic soundtrack, picking out new songs and what original track almost had the studio's president breaking out his wallet to buy the rights.

Kim WIlson Photography: Joe Tabacca  |  Jan 22, 2010  |  1 comments

Located in the Soho district of lower Manhattan, the Savant Experience Center is an actual living space complete with a media/living room, home office, master bedroom, kitchen, dining room and a dedicated 800 sq. foot theater. Close to the Apple store, the Experience Center showcases the latest technologies in home entertainment and control to dealers, architects, designers, industry associations, and prospective clients.

Mike Mettler  |  Sep 03, 2014  |  0 comments
From the smallest of triggers come great things. I was sitting in the dressing room at Pearl at The Palms in Las Vegas on April 14, 2012 with Garbage drummer and co-producer Butch Vig before soundcheck, and we were looking at an album cover from his lesser-known ’80s band, Fire Town. “You know, one of the guys in this band, Phil Davis, and I have started a side project, a band called The Emperors of Wyoming,” Vig revealed. Initially released in late 2012 by Proper Records, The Emperors of Wyoming is a grainy, smoky spaghetti western come to life — pure Americana through and through, from the defiant twang of “I’m Your Man” to the harmonica-driven singalong jangle of “Cruel Love Ways.” Vig and the EOW gang decided to update the album for a 2014 Deluxe Edition released by Liaison Records (“a Super Duper Super Deluxe Edition,” Vig clarifies) by adding two covers — the Afghan Whigs’ “Rebirth of the Cool” and House of Love’s “I Don’t Know Why I Love You” — plus one original: “Drinking Man’s Town." Here, Vig, 59, and I get down to discussing the Emperors’ recording techniques, his views of hi-res audio, and what to expect from Sonic Highways, the new Foo Fighters record that Vig just finished producing, which is slated to come out in November. Right from the hilt of the holster, Vig and The Emperors sure know how to draw big.
Mike Mettler  |  Dec 20, 2017  |  0 comments
Career songwriters often find themselves on a perpetual quest to add new tools to their creative toolboxes in order to keep things fresh. Such has been the case for Mike Scott, chief architect of British alt-rock stalwarts The Waterboys, who turned to GarageBand and some interesting plug-in choices to fuel the almost two-dozen songs that comprise his band’s expansive new double-disc effort, Out of All This Blue (BMG).
Mike Mettler  |  Nov 18, 2016  |  1 comments
Elvis Presley would have loved to have taken advantage of today’s meticulous recording standards. Fact is, The King was very much a stickler in the studio. Elvis also had an affinity for orchestral arrangements, something his estate was able to realize last year with If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley With the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RCA/Legacy), which has sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide to date. A worthy sequel, The Wonder of You: Elvis Presley With the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, has just been released. I reached out across The Pond to get album producers Don Reedman and Nick Patrick’s takes on the sonic differences between the two albums, how a certain mantra guided their respective hands and ears, and what aspects of modern recording Elvis would have embraced.
Bob Ankosko  |  Nov 01, 2016  |  0 comments
Laurie Fincham has a storied career in speaker design and engineering that began in England in the early 1970s when he worked for Goodmans Loudspeakers, Celestion, and KEF. By day, he delved into speaker theory and design. By night he played stand-up bass in a jazz group to supplement his income. While at KEF, he co-developed the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) system for measuring and modeling speaker. In the early ’90s, he moved to the U.S. to work for Infinity before joining THX in 1998.

Today, as senior vice president of audio research and development, Fincham manages the audio side of the company George Lucas founded to raise the bar for cinema sound...

Mike Mettler  |  Aug 08, 2018  |  0 comments
Photo by James Cumpsty

Tom Bailey, the chief architect of the super-successful ’80s synth-pop masters Thompson Twins (“Hold Me Now,” “Love on Your Side”) is back with a cosmically named solo album, Science Fiction. We called him during a tour stop in Houston to discuss the sonic structure of the album, how he once built his own P.A. speakers, and reconnecting with listening to music on vinyl.

Mike Mettler  |  Sep 26, 2018  |  0 comments
Some long-gestating sonic missions are simply worth the wait. Case in point: Styx’s June 2017 studio concept album The Mission (Alpha Dog 2T/UMe), which recently entered into the 5.1 stratosphere via the 24-bit/96kHz surround sound mix found on the just-released two-disc CD + Blu-ray Edition of the album. As good and enveloping as The Mission sounds in stereo, it sounds even better in its hi-res 5.1 mix — and that’s due in no small part to the creative synergy between the record’s three chief sonic architects: Styx guitarist/vocalist Tommy Shaw, producer/guitarist/vocalist Will Evankovich (Shaw-Blades, The Guess Who), and producer/engineer Jim Scott (Tom Petty, Wilco, Dixie Chicks). I spoke with Shaw and Evankovich to delve into the making of the surround sound mix of The Mission.
Mike Mettler  |  Aug 13, 2015  |  0 comments
In a band of equals, some can appear to be more equal than others. “I always like to have the first word and the last word on albums,” laughs keyboardist Tony Banks, one of the main songwriters in Genesis. Banks has always felt making an impression right as a song commences to be paramount. “You make an impact with those first few bars. It sets you up for the next 5 minutes, so you ought to try and get it right,” he says. Just cue up the majestic “Watcher of the Skies” from 1972’s Foxtrot for prime evidence of that thesis being put into action. Besides his storied career in Genesis, Banks also tried his hand at a solo career, the highlights of which have been compiled in the four-disc box set A Chord Too Far (Cherry Red/Esoteric Recordings). While Banks puts the future of his longtime band to rest — “the chance of Genesis getting back together again is pretty slim, I have to say”— we have plenty of Chord music to sink our collective ears into. Banks, 65, called from across the Pond to discuss the, er, genesis of his signature keyboard style, his deep love for surround sound, and the importance of sequencing. As Bankstatements go, this one is rich in high-fidelity rewards.
Mike Mettler  |  Apr 29, 2015  |  0 comments
Tori Amos has always been an artist who knows what she wants, and knows how to get it. “Music was always first,” she says. “The records you hear, whether you like them or not, you can blame me for, because I was fighting all the time that the songs were represented in the right way.” For Tori, the “right way” meant staying true to the core of her quite personal songwriting, piano-driven arrangements, and unique vocal character, all of which are on fine display on the just-issued two-disc Deluxe Editions of 1992’s Little Earthquakes (1992) and 1994’s Under the Pink (both on Rhino). “I’ve taken a pretty firm stand about being a woman in control of my destiny — for good or ill, you know?” she admits. “People know that I fight for the art, and the music. I’m not going to back down.” Here, Amos, 51, and I discuss the hard-fought genesis of Earthquakes and Pink, how her sound-quality goals shifted in the transition from the ’80s to the ’90s, and how she forged her artistic identity.
Mike Mettler  |  Dec 07, 2016  |  0 comments
Besides having one of the coolest band names ever, Van der Graaf Generator has been making deeply adventurous music since the late ’60s in a style that, frankly, is hard to pigeonhole. Sure, it’s easy to call what they do “progressive,” but I’m inclined to agree with VdGG guitarist/vocalist Peter Hammill, who describes VdGG music as being “barely controlled chaos.” It’s also a good way to define VdGG’s recently released 13th studio album, Do Not Disturb (Esoteric Antenna). I connected with Hammill to discuss the sonic template for DnD, what it’s like to be admired by a punk legend, and VdGG’s possible future (or not).
Mike Mettler  |  Aug 22, 2011  |  0 comments

Good news, friends — we have another exclusive video treat for the S+V faithful.

Pages

X