I focus this blog on people and products that in some way positively affect Radio Imaging. I include great music based products and instruments (Komplete 9, ReFx, Stylus RMX, Break Tweaker, Assault) because as producers we should always try to widen our horizons – Bring maximum value to a project or the company that pays us. But creatively the more tools in the arsenal, the better AND easier our lives are. That is why I feature someone who is on the music side, making music products that radio producers can dig into. Though he might not know it yet. Another thing I should mention is Kyle’s 9Volt Audio products were a great way for me to make my own imaging music AND start to really understand how music elements and different instruments work together and why they often do NOT work together. It was the first batch of musical audio elements that just seemed logical especially when coupled with Stylus RMX.
Kyle Z! I have known “OF” you for a while via your great products. Specifically all the 9 Volt Audio stuff 🙁 – I’ll get to that in a bit. I believe you are a musician who makes music-based audio products…and I believe imaging folk should dig your stuff. I’ll get to that too. While we officially know each other now, give everyone a short bio/background.
Hey Ryan! Sure thing. I grew up in San Diego, California but moved to Nashville, TN in 2011 with a rather undefined set of musical dreams. Around that time, digital audio recording with a home computer was taking off so I spent several years getting deep into that. As part of the learning process I began creating guitar loop libraries. I threw up a website (http://www.NineVoltAudio) with my first product and it did pretty good for a hobby project! After another year and three more guitar loop libraries I was able to make it a full time gig. I have been producing loop and sample libraries ever since!
How much attention do you pay to radio – FM/AM Radio – the actual music, way stations are programmed, the way we use music and other audio tools, and the things we do to brand ourselves?
I’ve always been a mid-level observer of all things audio, even when they’re not directly related to my work. But I’m a huge fan of voices and voice talent, so I feel like I’m always slightly dissecting it all in one way or another!
I’ve read interviews with Nashville producers (and really all music producers) who seem very plugged into the “radio sound,” or current trends, and keep that front of mind when creating. Is this true for you or what are your main focal points when creating?
Yeah – audio production trends can really steer things. When it comes to my current work, the production style, or what you might refer to as “sound choices” are key. For example, you can take the same guitar riff and depending on the amp sound, reverb, effects, etc… can make it sound like classic rock from the 60s-70s, or make it sound like Jack White or The Black Keys. The notes are the same, but production can define the genre.
in Session Audio: Tell us about this new endeavor, and while I know its not being directly geared toward radio producers, what value might it hold for us? (OH…and you may as well throw me the link to the great FREE sample pack for my readers)
Sure. http://InSessionAudio is my new thing. It’s currently a group of three individuals producing guitar loop libraries. We are focusing solely on guitar. In the next month or two we will also offer custom guitar recording services for anyone that needs playing on their tracks. I know that some radio producers contribute musical elements to their work. I would say In Session Audio or Nine Volt Audio’s libraries can make someone sound musically adept quickly and easily. I would encourage anyone to checkout the free demo loop packs from any of the product pages at http://InSessionAudio.com. They will give you a lot to play around with!
What audio tools to do you use? DAW, Plugins, hardware?
I float between PC and Mac all day long, but I primarily record to Sonar X2 and edit with Soundforge. My plugin list is stupidly long at this point, but I use the Waves Mercury bundle on a regular basis and a lot of the Native Instruments products. Oh yeah: Izotope’s RX audio cleaning/restoration program is a desert island piece of software for me. Hardware: we all use RME interfaces, and then have a small collection but healthy collection of microphones and preamps.
What else do you do, or have to know, to make these AIFF/WAV/REX loop kits and Kontakt instruments? ie. I can’t simply save a 2 bar piece of music as a .wav and call it a loop….right? Aren’t there other things that go into all this to perfect them for use in our productions?
You could definitely save a two bar piece of music as a .wav and call it a loop, so long as when it repeats it sounds seamless! The variety of formats (Apple Loops, REX, RMX, wav, ACID, etc…) can be a bit confusing. Many of these formats give the loop creator the ability to embed extra non-musical data into the file that might give the audio more flexibility for the user. For example, my Nine Volt Audio business centered around making great REX and Stylus RMX format loops – which meant those loops could be stretched or compacted to fit the tempo of the musician’s track, while maintaining a fantastic sound (this is a lot harder to do than it sounds)!
9 Volt Audio – I suspect I am not the only one who loved that stuff but you shut it down? I bought your entire library in the closeout sale! Can you discus the transition, the “Why” behind that decision?
After producing 38 releases under that name with libraries that ranged from cinematic drums to esoteric hand percussion I was ready to get back to my core instrument (guitar). There are so many great soundware companies out there, but many are focused on samples and electronic based music tools, but I wanted to make instrumental performance (ie great guitar playing) the focus of In Session Audio.
Back to In Session Audio. Smokin’ Guitars is AWESOME. Especially the Kontakt version. I could go on about why I love it but here is a YT vid: (Link Later) What is to be expected down the road from In Session Audio? What will your evolution be like?
Thank you! My co-worker Kelly Sams played everything on that (he’s the guy in the product video that can be seen here: http://insessionaudio.com/products/smokin-country-guitar). He’s incredible. Although we’re still brand new and have only released three products so far, we’ve got about ten more releases that will be coming out this year alone. These will cover everything from soundtrack guitar, blues guitar, emo guitar, slide guitar, etc… The list is super long!
You will be starting a podcast of your own. Tell us about it. What/who will it feature? What are your goals?
Yes! The first episode will go live in July. To put it bluntly: it’s about making money from the home studio. Through my businesses I’ve become acquainted with so many working musicians, so I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to interview them about about how they got to where they are, what they’ve learned along, tools they’ve found helpful (both musical and otherwise), and what they hope to get better at and achieve in the future.” There’s nothing like hearing how real people are making a go at this!
Bonus: OK…admittedly this is more of a bonus request – not question. I love to give my readers something cool with these interviews. Is it possible you still have that massive demo pack for 9 Volt somewhere? Because I think people would love to grab it. Especially people who haven’t played with REX formatted files yet. Of course the WAV versions are cool too.
Real Bonus! I’ll be in Nashville again for CRS 2015. Tell me something I HAVE to do in Nashville that the general public or tourist like me might not know about.
Hmmm… Of course everyone hears about the Country Music Hall of Fame, but it really is amazing. I take all my out of town guests there and I never tire of it. You don’t have to like country music to easily blow two hours looking and listening to some amazing American musical history. You could visit the Dukes of Hazzard museum and see the General Lee. It’s called “Cooters” . Seriously. It’s a real place.