Earlier this month, we were delighted to welcome Impact Soundworks to our portfolio of brands bringing with them a fantastic selection of instruments that steered away from the in-depth orchestral sounds presented by several other developers and offering something more unique.
Impact Soundworks was founded in 2008 by composers Andrew Aversa and Will Roget, II, and this week we caught up with Andrew to find out about the company’s background, products and the men behind them…
Hi Andrew, so what was your musical background prior to Impact Soundworks?
Co-founder Will Roget, II is a brilliant composer and graduate from Yale University. At the time when the company was launched he had already scored various film & game projects, and had significant music composition, theory, and piano experience under his belt. My experience was a little less formal; I had taken many years of classical piano lessons, but was still studying formal music theory and composition. I guess you could say when it came to production and writing, I was mostly self-taught at the time.
How did Impact Soundworks come about?
The basic idea for ISW came from Will, who had created a simple little library called “Impact: Steel” to fill the gaps between big commercial products like Stormdrum. We were already friends at the time and I proposed working together to create more instruments. He brought to the table his skill in Kontakt and recording, while I brought financing (my life savings as a college student!) and connections to engineers and studios. We collaborated to create “Sitar Nation” and not long after, formalized the company as an LLC in Philadelphia, PA.
Since then I have been in charge of the business side of things, as well as designing and supervising many of the instruments in our catalogue, while Will has assisted in most creative decisions and is currently working on a major upcoming project.
Which Impact Soundworks product are you most proud of?
This is a tough one! If I absolutely had to pick, I think Juggernaut is our best instrument yet. The scope, artwork, interface, and quality of sound design (from multiple designers) is our best yet. The key thing is that it’s also a platform for expansion… with more sounds and more features to come. That said, I think Shreddage 2 comes in at a close second.
Juggernaut is your most recent release, what was the inspiration behind that?
My background, in terms what I write and produce for fun, is electronic dance music. I wanted to bring that cutting-edge sound design for drums, bass and FX to a virtual instrument, because I felt that many hybrid and cinematic libraries did not focus enough on the synthetic and electronic side of things. I love big acoustic percussion ensembles or processed ethnic drums, but I personally wanted to have one-click access to highly polished synthetic sounds that can cut right through a mix.
As part of that concept, I was incredibly happy to work with other, top-tier sound designers like Mick Gordon (currently scoring Killer Instinct for Xbox One), Jordan Fehr, and Erik Ekholm, all of whom I admire a great deal. Each one of them brought their own influences and style to the table.
What feedback have you received from customers who are already using Juggernaut? What are the features that are appealing to them the most?
So far the reception to Juggernaut has been great. Both regular users and reviewers have noted that the drums and FX are some of the grittiest and punchiest they’ve ever heard, and that the library shakes their subwoofer like nothing else! We were very happy to hear these experiences from composers, who also appreciated the price point.
It seems like people are enjoying how easy it is to browse and modify presets and sounds, not just within Kontakt, but also with the included library of unlocked WAV samples. In our next update we’ll be including new presets we’ve created as well as our favourite user-made presets.
Do you still have time to make your own music? If so, which genres do you prefer to play?
I do write a fair amount of music. At any time I’m usually scoring at least one game project. Right now I’m working on something with a ‘retro orchestral’ theme, comparable to classic video game consoles of the 90s. I also regularly release new electronic dance music under my artist name, “zircon”, for example this:
Will is a pretty busy guy as well. He composed a great deal of orchestral music for LucasArts as an inhouse composer and editor and I know he has a new album in the works featuring smaller acoustic ensembles and vocals.
Finally, what’s been the most surprising event/incident to come out of Impact Soundworks since you started?
In general, I’m always pleasantly surprised that our instruments continue to grow in popularity among composers around the world, despite the fact that ISW HQ is in Baltimore, Maryland: not exactly a major music city! It goes to show that geography is less and less important these days.
As for one specific event, probably the day we received our custom-made instruments used to record “Resonance: Emotional Mallets“. We commissioned about a dozen unique instruments made from glass, stone, and metal. I knew they would be big but the delivery was literally a truckload full of stuff! I remember manually rolling a giant hollowed-out and tuned propane tank (the “whale drum”) through the hallways of the studio… Not to mention boxes of heavy glass and stone keys that needed to be assembled! That was a fun session 🙂
Thanks for your time Andrew!