Recently, Heavy Melody Music and Heavyocity Media moved into a new facility and found themselves with enough space to fit a large-format recording console. The group had previously worked with Vintage King Audio Consultant Jacob Schneider to install three API THE BOX consoles and wanted to scale up with something they were familiar with.
"We've loved our BOX consoles and wanted to stay with API. Neil couldn't take his eyes off of the 1608-II," says Dave Fraser. "The 1608-II has been at the top of his list as a larger console with that classic API sound. We loved how the 1608-II allowed us to add more EQs and compressors in the master section."
We recently sat down with the Heavy Melody Music and Heavyocity Media crew to learn more about everything they do and the recent arrival of their new API 1608-II recording console. Continue on below for our full conversation.
Tell us about Heavy Melody Music. What sort of work does the studio focus on, and who are some of your clients?
Neil and Dave started Heavy Melody Music. We came from a long-format composing background (working in Connecticut on Discovery Channel docs and a few TV spots) and landed at an old-school jingle house called Sunday Productions in Manhattan. We had the privilege of working on some major commercial campaigns for brands like the NFL, Coke, GE, and two Super Bowl spots for Gillette (as well as dozens of other spots).
In 2003, we moved out on our own to pursue video game audio. It was at this point that Ari Winters joined HMM and worked on several video games from Atari and Electronic Arts with us, writing music, creating sound FX and sound design, and recording and casting voice actors.
What led you three into this particular side of the industry, and how did you meet?
That’s where Heavyocity comes in. As composers and sound designers, we often found ourselves creating mnemonics for brand logos, which always needed their own signature sounds. Using sample libraries that were on the market at the time could only get you so far. We did a lot of experimenting and creating sounds, mashing up music with sound design – blurring that line. Later as a side project, Dave had the idea of creating a scoring product that was cinematic in nature, atypical, and brand-defining sonically. This was our first product called EVOLVE, and it put us on the map with critical industry acclaim.
Tell us about what inspired Heavyocity and what it provides modern sound designers and composers?
Well, we got into developing virtual instruments because, as composers, we had a hard time finding software on the market that met our creative needs. So we spent years creating our own sounds, amassing a huge private library of content in the meantime. And at some point, we decided that we wanted to find a way to use our years of recording, processing, and sound design experience to inspire other composers.
That’s how Heavyocity was born, and that’s continued to be our mission over the last 12+ years. To inspire the future of cinematic sound by offering incredible audio tools that facilitate creativity for artists, composers, and producers. So whether it’s the epic drums of Damage 2 or the bombastic brass of FORZO, we deliver instant inspiration at the highest echelon of audio quality.
How does Heavyocity try to set itself apart from the other virtual instrument designers out there?
With every virtual instrument and FX plug-in we develop at Heavyocity, we’re always trying to push the limits of creativity. Both for the artists, composers, and producers that use our products, but also for ourselves as composers, engineers, and sound designers. We’re constantly asking ourselves how we can push the ordinary into extraordinary and the extraordinary into insanity.
Sometimes that means rolling a dumpster onto a world-class scoring stage and slamming it with crowbars. Sometimes it means running dry ice along a piano string to hear the haunting resonance. And sometimes it means dropping a car in a junkyard just to record the sound of it smashing to the ground.
We set ourselves apart from the pack because no matter what the project we’re working on is, we’re always looking to deliver something fresh, new, and inspiring to the community of artists, composers, and producers we serve.
I understand you built a new studio outside Manhattan last year. What pushed the team to make that move?
Lack of enough space, high rents, and all of us moving out of the city into the ‘burbs with our families. We knew if we found the right space we’d have triple the room, be able to build a nice live room, and have room to grow.
When did you realize it was time to look into purchasing a large-format recording console?
The day we realized we could build a 600 square foot live room!
Let's talk about the API 1608-II. Why did you decide on that console?
The 1608-II is amazing! We were already using three API THE BOX consoles, but knew we’d need significantly more mic inputs for live tracking. We loved the API sound and the 1608-II was a great fit.
How has the console been treating you since installation?
So far, with a couple of months of mixing and tracking, it's been an amazing addition to the facility. The headroom is pretty mind-blowing and the ability to have 16 mic inputs plus four stereo aux returns has been the perfect starting place for us to cut larger sessions in-house. We also love that as time goes on, if we need more inputs, we can always upgrade by adding on another 16 mic inputs via a 1608-II Expander unit.
In addition to the API consoles, Jacob Schneider has helped you bring in some other gear. What else have you picked up from Vintage King?
It’s been great to work with Jacob. He’s a recording engineer and knows all of the gear in great detail. He’s made a lot of gear suggestions to help us round out our recording process and mixing signal chain.
We wanted to get some Neve 1073LBs because who doesn’t want those?! They are so beefy and chunky sounding. Also, we picked up some cleaner Neve 88RLBs for the less processed and more organic side, and some flavor from a couple of Shadow Hills mic pres.
What's on tap for this year? What's ahead for Heavyocity and Heavy Melody Music?
We’ve got a really busy and really exciting 2021 planned with some projects that have been a long time in the making that we can’t wait to finally see the light of day. We had an amazing slate of releases last year, but we think we’ve got even bigger and better things coming in 2021. Stay tuned!