There’s no doubt that Zero-G Ethera is a one-of-a-kind cinematic vocal instrument, boasting amazing vocal samples, incredible simplicity and a high degree of playability all packed into a beautiful Kontakt interface for total ease-of use.
Ethera’s creator Stefano Maccarelli, who’s wife Clara Sorace is the voice of Ethera, recently released a video where he ‘played’ Ethera with a ROLI Seaboard, so we got in touch with him to find out more about Ethera and why the ROLI Seaboard is such a perfect controller to use with it.
Hi Stefano, first up, please could you tell us how you got started in music production and the types of projects you’ve been involved in?
Well, after my studies, I started to work as sound designer and composer. Actually, I worked as senior sound designer for Fox Network Group. My music productions are used in many TV shows, doc film and trailers
The voice behind Ethera (Clara Sorace) is actually your wife, how did the project of producing the library come about?
Yes, she is. Clara is a professional singer and together we have worked on a number of musical productions. Clara is a soprano and a crossover singer with an excellent vocal timbre. In many of my musical productions I’ve often used Clara’s voice, and so we realised a virtual instrument that at first could be used only by me, after we decided to released a free version of this virtual, to test if this plugin could be useful for the other composers. We have received a lot of good feedback and so we decided to start to produce the version that you know as Ethera.
It’s described as a cinematic vocal instrument, but it’s also great for other genres including styles as diverse as Soul and EDM – can you tell us more about why Ethera also works so well in other styles of music?
Yes, it’s true, Ethera is awesome for cinematic music. Clara’s vocal features are rich in emotion and expression, which is an indispensable element for a singer that wants to work with this particular music style. I love Clara’s voice because it’s not only an operatic soprano, not only a pop or soul sound, but it’s something more. For this reason, Ethera can be used also for Soul songs, EDM, electro/pop music. Ethera contains many different phrases for these musical genres. We are planning future upgrades to improve the library for these music genres.
What are the most exciting and unique features of the Ethera interface?
I love the simplicity. In my opinion, this virtual instrument is easy to use, due to the way we implicate one very simple GUI. It’s very easy to control the parameters through the midi learn. Within the Phrases Module I love the “off set “ parameters because this allows the user to personalise the phrases and therefore create particular effects. The ‘pitch’ and ‘time mode’ features are very useful in this way, and all the phrases can be adapted to your music.
Can you tell us more about the process of recording Ethera and the biggest challenges you faced?
Well 🙂 We can say that it was a very long process! We worked on Ethera for almost one year. Clara in this period was locked away in the recording studio …only now she can see the sun! 😀 A vocal virtual instrument of this kind is very complex because the vocal features are endless and capturing then through the sampling is very difficult. I’m a big fan of all vocals libraries, but in my opinion, it lacks Clara’s voice. The big challenges were to create a virtual instrument rich of various vocal features, but easy to use. I hope we succeeded.
You recently released a video in which you are ‘playing’ Ethera with the ROLI Seaboard. Why do you think they work so well together?
Well, I love the Roli … I’m a big fan of this Seaboard and I realised some of Ethera’s Patches compatible with the Roli. These Patches will be available soon. The Roli allows for great control with the Ethera Legato Patches. At the moment we can say that Ethera is one of the first vocal virtual instrument compatible with Roli. Furthermore, I love Playing some of Roli’s patches with Ethera’s phrases, I think that they work very well together and allow you to create a great musical ‘mood’, which for this reason we chose to make a video, I hope you like it!
Free Ethera ROLI patches!
Stefano has created 7 new ROLI-powered patches for Ethera users (basically anyone that owns Ethera and a Roli Seaboard can use these), he’s also done this tutorial video to go with them.
And the tutorial is here: