Audeze catches up with composer, producer and audio director Skye Lewin

September 12, 2023

Skye Lewin is an audio enthusiast, musician, composer, songwriter, record producer, music editor, and designer of sound. He currently serves as Audio Director and Composer at Bungie and is a co-founder of the record label and music production company Sound Chemistry. His work can be heard in video games, records, film and television, including Destiny, Fargo (2014), Banshee, CSI: Miami, and Entourage. He is the recipient of several awards, including an ASCAP Composer’s Choice Award, four Primetime Emmy nominations, and three M.P.S.E. Golden Reel Awards.

 Skye Lewin in the studio with his Audeze LCD-MX4 headphones

"Audeze headphones have been a great addition and have quickly become my go-to pair, both for comfort and clarity."  - Skye Lewin
Here's our chat with Skye:
Can you pick out any highlights from your work that you're particularly proud of?

I’ve really enjoyed working on all the scores for Destiny. A few of my favorite cues from over the years include Rise of Iron, Journey, and Beyond Light. Other fun projects I’ve worked on include (but are not limited to) Entourage, CSI: Miami, and Fargo (2014). There are also various contributions to a handful of records and other music collaborations that still stick out.

How would you define your main role on most of the projects you work on these days?

These days, my primary focus is on creative direction and music composition. I sometimes still do some songwriting and record production (I especially enjoy vocal production and mixing), and I like to perform and record on whatever projects I’m working on, at least when it supports the needs of the project.

How did you get started in music? What kind of music did you listen to while growing up and how has that progressed?

I’ve always loved music. My family was very musical, and there was always music playing at home. I was able to try out several different instruments and developed an appreciation for music both as a listener and as a musician, which then led to recording and production and composition and other aspects of making music. I grew up listening to (and still listen to) everything from classical to Meshuggah, and I still appreciate aspects of pretty much every genre of music. I still like to work in different genres as a result.

Can you name any factors that influenced the course of your musical life? Heroes, role models, moments, interactions, etc?

There were the usual musical heroes and inspirations. For me, some were Bach, Erik Satie, Sergei Rachmaninov, Santana, Led Zeppelin, Antônio Carlos Jobim, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Hunter, and way too many others to list. But there were also the people I ran into and learned from along the way. Some of my music teachers made lasting impressions and taught me things that went far beyond just musical skills and advice. I've always enjoyed creating music, whether that was recording a band on a four track or writing music, so every time I was able to learn from someone who actually did what I wanted to do, I would ask as many questions as they would have patience to answer. I was fortunate to encounter a lot of people along the way who were willing to share their knowledge.

Can you briefly describe a moment of frustration from your past work, and what you may have done to overcome the obstacles? Would you approach it differently now?

There are always obstacles of some sort. For me, the main ones have arisen when pushing outside of my “comfort zone.” Each time that’s happened, I’ve had to buckle down and learn/tackle the new thing that I hadn’t yet mastered in order to grow. Fortunately, that has usually worked out positively, so I wouldn’t change that approach. On a smaller scale, integrating new tools or techniques can be frustrating at first, especially since it can take a while to get the technical ability to the point where it no longer feels like a hindrance and instead feels like it’s second nature.

Is there any gear you find yourself turning to most when working on a project? What are some of your favorite tools/instruments recently?

Yes! I really love analogue hardware, but these days I mostly use it when I’m recording. Since I often need to be able to work on the go, I tend to use a lot of plug-ins instead of hardware. But there are too many fantastic options out there, whether hardware or software, and it’s easy to get sucked into collecting! On the hardware side, I really like the Millennia pre-amps and the Smart C2 is a lot of fun. Some of the virtual tools I frequently use include FabFilter, SoundToys, and UA, but there are many, many others.

Do you have any words of wisdom for people who might aspire toward a similar path for their own careers?

Don’t stop! If you are fortunate enough to know what you want to do, just keep working at it, whatever it is. The only guaranteed way to not succeed is by stopping… That said, it can get rough at times, and sometimes it can take a long time to achieve the desired result. But if you keep at it, even if it’s just doing a little bit here and there to keep honing your skills, that will keep it alive. Also, it’s a small world, and the people you meet along the way often tend to pop up again down the road. Be yourself. Be genuine, and you’ll likely make a lot of great friends along the way.

How long have you been working with headphones, and how do you typically use them in your workflow?

I’ve used headphones for as long as I can remember. From early four track recordings, to late-night mixing in an apartment, to working on dub stages in headphones, to checking mixes, to mixing on headphones, they’re an integral tool. While I generally prefer working on monitors, a trustworthy pair of headphones, especially a pair that doesn’t cause fatigue after extended listening, is invaluable.

Do you have any additional comments or stories you want to share?

I’ll leave you with a favorite quote: “A composer is a guy who goes around forcing his will on unsuspecting air molecules, often with the assistance of unsuspecting musicians.” – Frank Zappa

How have your Audeze headphones affected your work? Can you tell us what you've been working on with them recently?

The Audeze headphones have been a great addition and have quickly become my go-to pair, both for comfort and clarity. I primarily work on monitors but now find myself reaching for them fairly often. I’ve been using them for noise-reduction, critical content reviews, mixing, checking mixes, and reviewing masters. They’re great for catching detail without getting tiring.

Skye Lewin's Audeze LCD-MX4 headphones