‘Architect of Sound‘ talks to Asbjoern Andersen: Composer and Co-founder of Danish Audio Company ‘Epic Sound‘ who also runs an online International Independent Sound Effects Community website titled ‘A Sound Effect‘. Today we hear about how Asbjoern started Composing music on the Amiga back in the 1990s, how ‘A Sound Effect‘ started out as a simple idea, the success behind Danish Audio Company ‘Epic Sound‘ and Asbjoern’s more recent projects (Supporting Unicef) with high profile names like Roger Moore, Michael Caine and Stephen Fry. Enjoy! 🙂
Aos. Hello Asbjoern Andersen and Welcome to ‘Architect of Sound’. Firstly i would like you to tell us a brief Introduction about yourself for our viewers?
AA: Hi there, my name is Asbjoern Andersen and I’m the co-founder of Epic Sound (www.epicsound.com) where I do a lot of composing. I also run a site called A Sound Effect (www.asoundeffect.com), for the independent sound effects community – and for anyone who needs sound effects for their projects.
Aos. At what age did you realise you wanted to pursue a career in Music and Sound?
AA: I started out composing on the Amiga back in the early 90s, and became part of the demo scene, primarily on the PC. I teamed up with a bunch of other people who were into coding and graphics, and together, we did quite a few demos and intros under the group name Purple. And then one day, a guy from the demo scene community – who had moved on to work at a games company – asked me if I wanted to compose the music for the intro of a new game they were working on. And they wanted to pay me for it, too! I haven’t stopped composing since. 🙂
Aos. What age did you start playing Instruments and how many do you play?
AA: I started playing the piano when I was around 12, and while I still play it a bit, I don’t get to practice my chops quite as often as I’d like to so I’ve gotten slightly rusty in my live-playing, I’m afraid. It’s a very handy skill to have for the composing work, though. I also play the congas, and used to play in a salsa band, too.
Aos. Who or What Inspires you?
AA: I’ve been lucky enough to work on a very wide selection of projects over the years, and that’s something i love about this job: being able to work on so many different projects, with a lot of different people. That’s very inspiring. I also love the whole process of composing – starting out with just an idea, and ending up with something the client (hopefully) loves. It’s an interesting journey.
I’m also inspired by taking on new projects for myself. ‘A Sound Effect‘ started out as a simple idea of cataloging the independent sound effects out there, and now has grown beyond my wildest dreams. It’s such a pleasure running and building that site along with the great people in the sound community.
Aos. You are part of an award winning Danish Audio production company titled ‘Epic Sound‘ who have completed more than 700 projects for World-leading brands and companies. Tell us how this Audio Company formed and what is your specific role in the company?
AA: Epic Sound is myself, orchestral composer Simon Ravn and Sound Designer David Filskov. We met up working at a games company, and then realized that we were great at working together, and then we supplemented each other extremely well with our different skillsets. This enabled us to offer a broad range of sound services, from music, sound design, voice and even localization – something that a lot of customers found very useful. That’s essentially what we still do to this date, and we’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the biggest brands in the world doing it!
Aos. Can you give us a brief description on your day-to-day job role?
There are typically several projects going on at the same time, so I check in on how they’re progressing and how I’m doing in terms of milestones and deadlines. Some days are dedicated to just one project, whereas others I’m able to go back and forth between the projects. In addition, I manage the ‘A Sound Effect‘ site, making sure everything is running smoothly, adding content and thinking up new ideas on how to present the sound effects to the world. There’s a tremendous output from the independent community, so I put in a lot of effort to ensure that the very best stuff gets up on the site.
Aos. Have you a favourite project you have worked on? An advert? Film? Video game?
AA: One of my favorite projects has been with Nokia (now Microsoft), working on the brand sound for their mobile products. Some of the projects involved some pretty alternative approaches to mobile sound, including a full symphonic orchestra and lots of other things that hadn’t been done before. It was very exciting to work with the whole sound team to break some new ground. A recent highlight has been working on a project called GivingTales (http://givingtales.com/), where the renowned Hans Christian Andersen fairytales are being read by such world-class talents like sir Roger Moore, Michael Caine, Stephen Fry, Dame Joan Collins and many more, in support of Unicef. A huge pleasure to work on these classic stories on a great cause – and with such legends being involved with the project too, well, that’s slightly mind-blowing to be honest.
I’ve also just done some work for Asus on some of their new product presentations – a lot of fun to work on, too. There are so many excellent projects to pick from, so this is just scratching the surface.
(Above: A recent project Asbjoern Andersen did the music for: Asus ZenWatch 2)
Aos. You also run a Sound Effects website titled ‘A Sound Effect’. Being a Composer have you always had an interest in Sound Effects, Sound Design and Field Recording?
AA: Definitely! While I’ve been mainly working on the composing side of things, all those aspects you mention have been part of what’s been happening in Epic Sound ever since we started it. And, going back to my demo scene days, I’ve always enjoyed bringing people together, building and being part of communities – so ‘A Sound Effect‘ is in many ways a natural extension of what I’ve always been doing with sound.
Aos. From your own personal experience, growing as a Composer to running a successful Audio company and Sound Effects library website has their been a surge of interest in these particular Fields (mentioned above) since the modern digital age of the Internet?
AA: Yeah, it’s definitely opened up some incredible opportunities – both for us in ‘Epic Sound‘, where we’re working with talents from across the globe, and to ‘A Sound Effect‘ too, where these independent sound effect creators have suddenly become able to get their sounds out to a whole new audience.
Aos. How does the Danish audio market compare to such countries like United States and Japan? Does your Audio outlets give wings for you to travel and visit countries like the United States and Japan in search of new ideas for Sounds and Inspiration?
AA: There’s a lot going on in Scandinavia, so there’s a lot of collaboration going on between the countries here. And of course, with the online collaboration possibilities now available, we can work with customers and talents across the globe with very little effort. So these are definitely exciting times.
AA: We’re continuously working on stuff in Epic Sound, and A Sound Effect is growing at an amazing pace as well, so lots of stuff happening there too. I’ve also teamed up with two Norwegian guys – Peder and Christian – on an exciting project called Soundly (www.getsoundly.com), a revolutionary, cloud-based approach to sound effects. I’m bringing a lot of the independent libraries into Soundly too, and I’m excited to be part of this whole new chapter in how sound effects are distributed and used.
Oh, and Soundly is a free download, and comes with 300 free SFX off the bat, so there’s absolutely no reason not to take Sound for a spin 🙂