Exclusive interview with Axel Rohrbach - sound effects creative director at Boom Library

- Hi Axel, thanks for sharing your time with us, how do you do ?
- I'm doing great !

- Ok, then... first could you introduce the Boom team, who does what and how did you get started?
-
The Boom Library was founded by Pierre Langer, Tilman Sillescu and me, Axel Rohrbach. Pierre is responsible for all the numbers, accounts, and such as the managing director. Tilman helps out whenever necessary with great experience and feedback. I am the creative director, responsible for the content itself. This implies both, conceptional work as well as doing the recordings, editing, metadata and so forth.
Besides, we got three resident Sound Designers, David Philipp, Michael Schwendler and Sebastian Pohle. Those guys do an awesome job by bringing up ideas and recording / creating top notch sound effects.
We started already some years ago by recording many different things for our daily business. One day we started to create a so called "homegrown" library out of that to have some cool basic sounds. Then we thought it would be cool to start creating whole libraries for internal use only, including new high quality recordings we can work with. Last step was pretty easy: "we got something here, lets share that with other Sound Designers".

- The "sound effects" libraries are so numerous, what makes the difference between you and your competitors?
-
Talking about the major labels, I guess one point is that we did not start to do that because of commercial purposes. Also we do not provide general purpose sound effect libraries but very special collection for only a small field of sound design per library. 
What makes us special concerning all libraries is our "Construction Kit" concept. If we work as hired Sound Designers we always hate the over-processed, eq'ed, compressed sounds included in many commercial libraries. That is very handy if the designer has no time and / or budget, but if I really want to "design" something, I need clean and outstanding raw recordings to work with. Because of that, whenever possible, we create a twin collection: one "Designed" library designed exclusively using the sounds of its "Construction Kit" pendant.  

- It seems that your sound libraries are very specialised, so you probably know where your products are featured – like films, trailers... don't you ?
- Unfortunately we don't know of many, yet. The "Creatures" have been used in Vampire Diaries. We will try to get some more details on that, but since we are on the market for only a bit more than half a year, most of the productions are still in work. 
But we got some very interesting clients who love our stuff. This is for example David Farmer (Lord of the rings, The incredible Hulk, King Kong etc), Charles Maynes (A-Team, The Pacific, Planet Terror, Spider Man) and Companies like EA - DICE, EA - Brightlight, id-Soft (currently working on Doom 4) and tons more. So there will definitely be some cool credits, hopefully by the end of the year.

- I'm pretty sure that some reknown talented sound freaks work with your libraries, can you drop some names ?
-
Of course, here you go :

David Farmer - Sound Designer (Lord of the rings, The incredible Hulk, King Kong, Bioshock 2, Dead Space, God of War II & III)
"This is a great set of recordings of some of the most essential animals used in making creature sounds. I imagine I'll be using these quite a bit. Nicely done Axel!"

Zachary Quarles - Audiodirector at id Software (Doom 4, F.E.A.R.3, Fracture, Quake 4)
"Wonderful sounding libraries from @BOOMlibrary. Excellent, excellent work!"

Charles Maynes - (A-Team, The Pacific, Planet Terror, Spider-Man, Flags of Our Fathers)
"Sounds great.... they were all really good - very nice stuff - was all that created with just the source files?"

Jim Stout - Sound Designer (Hollywood Edge, Sound Ideas)
"I love this library! I can tell you guys put a lot of work into it and it sounds great."

Grant Kirkhope - Audio Director of "Big Huge Games" (Age of Empire III - the Asian Dynasties)
"The libraries we’ve bought from you so far are really excellent, you did a great job with them and we’ve already used them on our current project: "Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning"

Jay Watford - Sound Designer at Riot Games (League of Legends)
"You guys are awesome, thanks for continuing to put out top notch audio!"
 
- It's impressive, they really love your sound effects libraries... It makes me think that your collegue Pierre told me that my readers would have a special 10% discount, is it true?
-
Of course this is true, cool right? ;-)

- Yeah right, so how do we do this?
-
Simple go to www.boomlibrary.com , buy whatever you like and use this coupon code during the checkout process : msl-BL10

- Thanks for them ! Ok guys, hope you've noted that somewhere... So, your first library is "Cinematic Metal", how was the process in creating that?
-
Honestly we wanted to create the Creatures library first. But during the start of the Boom Library we had to do the audio for a bunch of game trailers and needed typical title impact sounds. So we started experimenting how to best achieve those sounds. We recorded a lot of different metal impacts in our recording room like swords, heavy pieces of railtracks, ammo boxes and so on. Then we rented a small truck and filled it up with different metal things we collected on a scrap-yard. We rented a hall and recorded things there, smashing it together, dropping it from 4m above and so on. We still missed some things and so we went out to do some recordings outside, like container doors, steel doors, jetty sounds and so on. We used high frequency response mics so that it makes sense to pitch them down without getting dull sounds in the end. 
Using those "Construction Kit" sounds, we started to design extensively processed "Cinematic Impacts".
Cinematic Metal by BOOM Library


- And after Cinematic Metal you've released the "Creatures" Library. What could a Sound Designer expect from that?
-
As we do mainly sound effects for games and Germany is one of the strongholds of Fantasy games we create tons of creature sounds during the year. With this experience we started to record sounds you will not find in commercial libraries. The "Creatures Construction Kit" contains about 10 GB of frightening roars, snarls, mumbles, tiny insect movements - dry rattling sounds as well as wet and gargling sounds. Using those we created a bunch of basic sound-sets for creatures like Dragon, Bug, Hellhound, Watergiant, Zombie and so on for the "Creatures Designed" library. All of them featuring four different emotional states which are attack, calm, die, hurt and tense. All of those emotional states include four variations each.

- Next one is Guns. Where did you record those and what exactly is the "Construction Kit" in this case?
-
I flew over to the US to record the guns there. It is not possible to get access to automatic weapons here in Germany besides joining military or police practices, which is not the best situation to do a recording session - this is the case in whole Europe as far as I know.
I rented a bunch of weapons and two shooters plus Jeff Ball, a friend and composer who helped me out as a recording assistant and with a whole lot of other things.
We recorded in a stone pit which had an awesome reverb. Using a Sound Devices 744T and a Sound Devices 788T C-linked we were able to record in 96kHz as 12 channels multitrack. This is exactly what the Construction Kit looks like, twelve clean and well named tracks featuring mics at many different positions and characteristics. Check out the two video tutorials how we mixed those twelve tracks to create the "Guns - designed" library.



GUNS - Construction Kit Tutorial 01



GUNS - Construction Kit Tutorial 02

The designed collection offers all the 17 weapons with handling, single shots and bursts for the auto weapons in four different styles each - natural, light, crispy and huge.

Guns - Designed by BOOM Library

- Your latest release is Wildacts. What is the difference between this library and the other three collections?
-
The "Wildcats - Tigers and Lions" is shipped in 192kHz, 24-Bits instead of 96kHz, 24-Bits. Also, there is no "Construction Kit" vs "Designed" collection. There's one simple reason for that... in fact we can not "construct" real animals. So you could see this library as a "Designed" animal library. On the other hand, this one is a perfect addition to the "Creatures". We recorded using mics with a frequency response up to 100kHz. Pitching down those sounds is a lot of fun. This lets the "Wildcats" be a possible "Construction Kit" as well as a outstanding animal library. The library is worth 3,44 GB of groals, roars, snarls, sniffs and so on.
Wildcats Tigers&Lions by BOOM Library

- Sounds great... What do you guys do in the future, are there any plans?
-
We got a full Excell-sheet of ideas and concepts what we want to do in the future. Unfortunately, I will not be able to talk about any details so far. But we already started with the next library which will again be a "Construction Kit" plus "Designed" collection. This one implies a lot of experimenting. We are pretty busy driving around, recording things trying to find the right spots and things to recording. The current plan is to release 3 new libraries during 2011, so stay tuned by following us on twitter (@boomlibrary.com) and facebook (www.facebook.com/boomlibrary). Also don't miss our newsletter and get some free sounds on our homepage.

- Ok Axel, thank you very much for your time and your insights on Boom Library products. Don't hesitate to get in touch as soon as you have some fresh news.
-
Thank you Sam, hope your readers enjoyed, bye.



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