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Audeze chats with film music producer and educator Vikram Gudi

Vikram Gudi spends half of his waking life on headphones. As the founder of Elephant Music he produces over 24 albums per year, specifically geared toward movie trailers. He also teaches 50+ students in his Protege school and designs virtual instruments with Mammoth Audio. He has built his brands around his attention to detail and obsession with premium sound.

 

"I am literally using them EVERY DAY. This year I’ve produced nearly 30 albums on them already. I’m using them more than any other gear in my studio."  - Vikram Gudi
Here's our talk with Vikram:
Can you pick out any favorites from your work that you're particularly proud of?

The trailers for Blade Runner 2049, Avengers: Endgame, releasing Density and selling out our first year of Protege. They have all been recent highlights but nothing gives me the high of getting a composer their first placement.

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

My day to day job is a traditional music producer - crafting, listening, shaping and editing tracks to fit an album, then there’s the constructive feedback for my students. In between there are various meetings on new movies, tracks, releases, peppered with creative briefs.

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

It goes deep! As far back as I remember my parents were always playing Bollywood and Indian classical music in the house. As I got older, a cousin got me into 90s hip hop and in my teens that turned into grunge, metal and experimental. As I started playing in bands that morphed into electronic, techno and noise, and in the last decade or so the focus has been on film score and orchestration. My start in music came from hassling a friend of mine who had a job that I wanted - multiple pub trips later, he told me he was leaving and put me forward for his job at Boosey & Hawkes.

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

Everyone I played in a band with, my first job in music and mentors in my early career, quitting and starting Elephant, my first guitar for my 16th birthday, ATP festival, Glastonbury, various pedals, reading How Music Works by David Byrne, the first time I heard Sonic South, Black Sabbath, Steve Reich, Suicide, Boards of Canada, Can, My Bloody Valentine, Public Enemy, Sunn O))) - they all stick in my mind.  I have too many heroes to mention but credit must go to my dad who always supported my musical career, despite cultural pressures.  

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?

I used to chase after jobs, films and trailers I wanted to win. Now I just make the music and enjoy the process.

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

I love my new AFX Bass Station and I recently got a 1976 Les Paul which I'm unable to put down. I’ve also become a little obsessed with the Balinese Gamelan by Soniccouture, but it’s my trusted old Komplete Kontrol that has streamlined my workflow.

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

Learn something new every day and reach out to as many people as you can. Stick to the music you are passionate about and don’t make it to please or emulate other people.

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

For about 15 years. I use them for listening and feedback processes as well as doing creative briefs. I tend to produce and compose on my studio monitors.

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

My lockdown project was to try and make my home brew. After a few chance encounters and accidents, it snowballed out of control and now I find myself with a fully functioning craft brewery. Check out Mammoth Beer.

How have your Audeze headphoens affected your work?

I am literally using them EVERY DAY. This year I’ve produced nearly 30 albums on them already. I’m using them more than any other gear in my studio.