Mastering FM synthesis
Mastering FM synthesis
This is a wonderful time to be a sound designer
As long-time Arturia fans will know, many of our interviews often feature big artists or rising stars, often household names or on their way to becoming one, but sometimes the real heroes aren’t the stars of music videos, films and TV series, they’re the people that make it all happen behind the scenes.
We recently had the honor of sitting down with Larry Hopkins to chat about his long, inspiring career in the music industry, and how he’s shaped what we hear for some of the biggest artists, best movies, and most iconic instruments.
There’s a good chance Larry’s name might be new to you, but we’ve known him for a very long time. In fact, he was one of our first sound designers! He now works for Technicolor as a foley artist, engineer, and sound designer. You’ll have definitely heard his masterful work before, as he’s been involved in over 600 TV shows and films, including Lost, Minority Report, Finding Nemo, Breaking Bad, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, and The Dark Knight.
A passion for sound
Hopkins started his love of music early. Born into a family of string players, he started learning violin at age 4. As he grew, he would be inspired by the pioneering synth-work of (then) Wendy Carlos and Keith Emerson, and was blown away when he had his first hands-on synth experience with an Emu and a Moog Modular system.
As his synth-programming abilities grey and his musical vocabulary expanded, he began to master many important synths of the time, many of which have been recreated in Arturia’s V Collection. The Prophet V, Matrix-12, the ARP Odyssey, Synclavier, and during the 1980s he was one of the first to master the dark arts of FM synth programming, and became one of the go-to FM sound designers in the music, film, and TV industries. He even helped spec and design sounds for the synth chip in the Saturn, Sega’s 1994 games console.
His skills aren’t all technical, however. Larry is a very talented musician, and he had many amazing opportunities to learn from the best, including the Rolling Stones, and Ray Charles when he worked as a live keyboard technician.
From the concert stage to the sound stage, these days, Larry now focuses on foley work, where he pre-records and processes all the sounds from the action you see on screen, and performs them using a MIDI controller to create believable, but cinematic sounds.
For his work on recent vampire-themed shows, he’s been enjoying creating and combining the variety of the gory sounds involved: neck bites, heart-pulls, breaking bones and walking through entrails, certainly a change from Finding Nemo!
To experience Larry Hopkins’ work, visit the cinema and see a blockbuster movie, or watch an award-winning TV series. There’s a good chance he’s been involved!