Life without music, can it be good? This question may be a bit contradictory. There are those who agree, not a few who refuse. But for us, the role of music to live is very important. It feels like in every event, there is only complementary music. Like in the movies. Speaking of complementary music, surely many people know who made it? musician. Could be right, could be wrong. They are also not music producers, but rather called sound designers. Now this profession will work on the sounds in every scene, be it in movies or video games. In these two industries, sound and image have arguably the same important role. That’s why a professional sound designer is needed to do these things.
Is it true that in Indonesia there are people who work like that? Seeing the era that has been very advanced like this, the answer is of course YES and it is very “promising”. This sound designer is responsible for the sound needs in every production process. Sound designers work with directors and other creative teams to make decisions about what audiences hear when they watch a film, theater, or play a video game. The sound designer will create sound effects to help build the feel of each scene at a time, to help create a piece of music that is similar to what’s happening in the scene. They will also decide when the effect is played, how long it is played, and where the sound is coming from.
One of the many people who work in this field in Indonesia, this young man named Herdy is someone we know, and has great potential. His talent cannot be underestimated. However, there is something that is enough to astonish us from the profession he is currently in. When we met and talked at length, it turned out that he was an “accident”. Wow, what’s the condition like? Let’s see below the chat about the world of Sound designer.
A: Hello, long time no see huh. OK, this first question is very basic. What is the definition of Sound Designer according to you?
H: So the sound designer is actually more of a job making music for scenes or sound effects that are on an agenda. Keep making music, but in my opinion it’s not that long. For example, if you play game A, when the character is facing the boss, there must be background music, the effects of the battle, and many others. Well, that’s where my job in this profession is to function.
A: That means more work, right?
H: Yes, a lot, but usually in a project, you don’t work alone. There is a large team tasked with making these sounds. Because of that, every scene needs introductory music. Be it games or movies or theater. If it’s done with just one person, you can do it, but it’s definitely not bad, haha. As long as I’m working in this world, I’ve always worked on the background music, and there’s also the effect. Well, the name is work, there must be a lot or a little.
A: Well, in one team, there must be many divisions. What’s in this profession?
H: Oh yes. So there is a Hit Effects division that does sound effects. Their focus is already there, they can’t do anything else. Then if I was there, it was Music Background. So far, those two are the only ones in a sound designer team.
A: For the software used? Is there anything specifically used in the process?
H: It’s the same as when we make music in general. For me, I use Fruity Loops (FL Studio) and Ableton Live. So far, my clients don’t care what software I want to use. What matters is the final result if they are. In my opinion, yes, we just maximize the potential or existing weapons to create something good. Usually, people are always fixated on having to use cool and expensive tools or applications. But because of limited funds, usually their movements are delayed, yes, that was because they had to use something fancy.
A: This profession must be able to mix and mastering, right?
H: It’s necessary. But usually there are people who say, “Oh, that’s enough, then another team will mix and master. There must be something like that. But if you ask me my opinion, yes it should be possible. Oh this too, the team that did the hit effect (as far as I know) they can’t really do it. Because what they produce is not music.
A: If someone wants to work in this field, what do they need to prepare?
H: What is it? Hmmm, big intentions. This is the same, you have to feel. In this sense, we are working on the background music, so we have to know what kind of music is suitable for this scene. For example, let’s say we are playing a game where there is a romantic scene looking at each other, when the music is installed that is romantic but it’s still *** hahaha. Have a musical basis, good instincts, sensitive, and feeling.
A: For the technique itself, is there a term that is often used in this world?
H: Yes there is. The names have chopping and scratching. The first one is the technique of cutting the existing music sampling, and then combining it into one. Scratching is pure from scratch, there’s no change. But if the general definition, this technique is like repeating a tone in certain ways. The goal is to fill the fill in a song.
A: In terms of industry, do you often go local or foreign?
H: Outside me. Because if it’s in the country, rarely anyone appreciates. There were some who offered me such a project, but I declined. Because of that, the price doesn’t make sense. Not arrogant either, but they should be able to respect a profession. Bargaining power is still low.
A: What projects do you work on the most?
H: The film is now and a few months later. Early on in indie games. But now it’s better for movies haha. Then the film is also easier to work with. If the game is complicated, if the game has bugs. So, if there’s a problem like that, we’ll start from the beginning, following it until the problem is completely gone. Not working from scratch, yes, but more like fixing up from the shortcomings that appeared yesterday.
A: This is the one that will be asked a lot. As for the fee, what is the range?
H: Haha. Usually in the range of 1,000 – 2,000 per music I work on. If it’s in the movie, yes. If the game could be different again. It also depends on who has the project to give a fee. That’s an estimate. Usually there are at most 10 designs that I’ve ever gotten. But it’s too long, yes, the name is designing. Wait for the revision, whatever. There’s no deadline yet. Usually I ask a month for 1 music design. If you’ve got the pool and you’re serious, you can live.
A: There was the word “accident”. How’s that?
H: Yeaah that haha. So, being in this profession, I never thought of coming here before. In fact, I prefer to be a musician. Like many people who are unemployed and like music, they just make a song, then upload it. The music is also Lo-Fi genre, upload it on Soundcloud. About 4 years ago. Eh suddenly got an email from an outside agency, he was interested in what I made. In fact, I never expected that making music could make money. But, this is my ninja way hehe.
A: Really, the sustenance has already been arranged, right? As for gadgets?
H: Well, if I never use work tools, they must be cool and very sophisticated. I’ve bought sophisticated tools, but in the end I don’t even use them at all. Just trick it, you can use a plugin. I have an ideal that I’m using until now, it’s “if we can make gold out of makeshift tools, just keep using it.” Yes, why do we buy expensive, even idle the tool. Buy and upgrade for sure, but if you need it, go there.
A: The client doesn’t care, what kind of gadget or software do you use?
H: As far as a career in this world, nothing. They don’t care, what’s important for them is that the end result is good and fits the theme of the project.
“If we can produce gold from simple tools, why do we have to use expensive ones? Just keep using it.”
A: In a month how many projects and clients can you get?
H: At most 12 clients. Each of them has a different number of projects. But sometimes overwhelmed myself haha. So it’s greedy and has a hard time working on it. As a result, you even bother yourself. That’s what’s being reduced now. The duration is also at least 1 minute, but it can also be if we want to make it longer. Then ask for a bonus from them. And I’m also not a designer who already has a name, I’m still an artisan hehe. So if on credit, my name is not shown. In every project there is usually a big artist, now I’m the assistant.
A: Do you need to play in the community?
H: Yes, it is necessary, from there there must be a network that appears. But here, it’s still confusing to find a community that is really a designer. It’s more of a mix of professions here. But that was it, for those who want to enter this world, they must focus, be diligent in playing in the community, train their instincts and sensitivity.
Interview by Adjust Purwatama
September 4th, 2021