Sunday, June 2, 2013

Justin Lassen’s “Creative Symbiosis and Sound Design” talk at the Workshop in London, UK!

It was cool being the only musician/sound designer in the world invited to The International Art & Design Symposium in London, UK and it gave me a great opportunity to meet some of the coolest concept artists, painters and designers from the film and video game industries. Some of which I’ll be collaborating with on future projects!

As a short background, I’ve been working with some of the biggest concept artists in the world for over 10 years on many projects. My Synaesthesia project made a huge splash around the world from 2004-present thanks to some of the most brilliant minds in the world, and became one of the first of it’s kind, winning awards for breaking new ground in artistic collaboration and digital storytelling. It has impressed a list of some of the biggest celebrities, artists, directors, writers, designers, public figures and corporations in the world and has stood as a timeless effort, thankfully. I never dreamed or imagined in a million years that it would have been this much of a success. Without the cg community around the world, I would not be where I am today. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all for believing in me and continuing to support the kind of work that I do.

On stage I spoke about creativity and all of us having different realities and worlds in our heads that we want to bring to life. To further this discussion, I talked about bringing visual art to life through sound design. I demonstrated live preset design with our beloved iZotope Iris, and showed that you truly can find “music in everything”. A room full of amazing visual artists, watching an audio geek do some sound design, now that’s pretty cool! They all loved that the Iris synth had photoshop like tools for selecting regions of audio, and I loved creating some atmospheres and compositions for the audience on stage and then performing live with it! To show them just how fluidic and fun sound design can be with Iris!

I’ve designed a lot of presets, loops and content for a wide range of audio plugins, DAW software, libraries and synths over the years, so It’s pretty magic to get to hear my work in a lot of artists work from around the world. Everything from movie trailers to top EDM artists, I’ve had the privilege to hear my audio design work in all kinds of cool stuff! It’s been fun to be a behind-the-scenes audio designer, but I also love speaking about sound design and sharing my knowledge, and showing tips, tricks and secrets of the industry, hoping to inspire others to want to also create their own worlds and sounds too!

I also showcased Studio One Pro DAW software and AIR Ignite software as well as ProjectSam OE library. I just used an M-Audio KeyStation Mini 32 as the performance device. What made this talk particularly fun was the audience. I didn’t need to get too “geeky” about the technology as I normally do with other tradeshows (CES, NAMM, etc.) I got to truly just show artists how I create, without going into absurd depth, and kept it all very artistic, and fun!

Yep, all running from that little computer, as usual. :) I think we were going for a Left 4 Dead 2 meets Silence of the Lambs feel in this preset, and to see peoples eyes light up with how easy it is for anyone to get started in designing their own sounds, now that’s magic! I loved how receptive the audience was to this philosophy of sound design! Interestingly enough, Jason Manley had a clip from Silence of the Lambs in his talk, so that was some cool coincidence!

Lots of funny moments, I wanted to keep it all light-hearted and fun. The thing about giving a software demonstration about audio software to an audience primarily of painters and artists, was cool, got them all out of their worlds and into mine a little bit. :) Also just shows how we’re all naturally sound designers and we don’t even know it, I think with the right tools, the more intuitive they are, the more fun and natural sound design can be. It doesn’t have to be rocket science and knob twisting, it can be a visual thing too. :)

The sound in the theatre was awesome, so the samples and designs really shined well. In this scene, I’m actually showing off a sped-up painting that Alex Ruiz created, set to one of my tracks! Everyone loved it, and it sounded awesome and big and hollywoodish in that room! :) It was awesome!

There were a few musicians in the audience, and it was cool that they were brave enough to come up after the talk and ask about the software and my process. I gave little one-on-one demos for people that were into that. One of them even showed me a composition she created with her own sound design!

At the end of my primary talk, I left the audience with some inspiring words to keep going no matter what. We all dream to work on big things, but it’s the worlds inside our own heads that we shouldn’t let go of. Each of us has a world we want to create and it’s important to nurture those concepts and let them grow. Whether we all want to work in video games, films or music, it’s so important to keep our own creativity ignited.

note: Thank you Phil Williams for the photos.