Audeze chats with recording artist and sound designer Richard Devine
November 17, 2021
Audeze chats with recording artist and sound designer Richard Devine
Richard Devine is a recording artist and sound designer who specializes in field recording, sound effects, and sound design for TV/Film, web media, Virtual Reality, and video games.
"The Audeze LCDX's have become one of my favorite headphones for critical mastering and mixing here at my studio. I have been using them nearly every day since they arrived, and the clarity and transparency are unbelievable!" - Richard Devine
During the past few years, Richard Devine has remixed top Warp artists like Aphex Twin and Mike Patton (Faith No More). He has released 7 full-length albums on Schematic, Planet-Mu, Warp, Asphodel, and Sublight records and has performed his own ear-tearing music mayhem worldwide. Based in Atlanta, Georgia he has done film score work for Touchstone Pictures (with John Hues & Kyle Cooper). He has also collaborated with BT (Brian Transeau on the movie “Surveillance” Directed by Adam Rifkin), Odopod, Elias Arts, Wieden & Kennedy, AKQA Inc., and has worked on commercials for the Nike Shoe Company and worked with various companies doing sound design for Audi, BMW, Ford, Scion, Coke, LandRover, Peugeot, Dodge, HBO, Nestle, Nike Japan & USA, McDonald's, Sprite, Spike Television network and has also worked with Konami gaming division for the Dance-Dance Revolution game. In 2007 he signed a deal with Sony Media to release his first two Sound Effects libraries, "Pulse" and "The Electronic Manuscript" which won 2009's best sample library by Remix Technology Awards. in 2008 Richard launched a new sound design company "Devinesound" which was nominated for the Cannes Lions Award for the sound design work on the interactive website for Microsoft Gaming division-Halo Believe Campaign. In May 2016 he contributed sound effects and musical elements to the Doom 4 Soundtrack along with Mick Gordan. In 2017 He created UI Sound Design and Ambisonic Environmental Audio for Google's DayDream VR Platform/Google Earth VR. In 2018 he did Sound Design for the new Jaguar I-Pace electric car. In November 2018 he released his 7th full album Sort\Lave on Planet-Mu records (UK). In 2019 He designed all of the user interaction sounds and opening sound logo for Google's Stadia streaming platform. On February 24, 2019, Richard created several soundtracks and hundreds of sound effects for CD Projekt Red's CyberPunk 2077, and on November 11, 2020, he released the "Systik" EP on BlackNoise records. He's currently working on his next album slated for next year coming out on Planet-Mu records.
Here's our talk with Richard:
Can you pick out any favorites from your work that you're particularly proud of?
I would say doing sound design for the new I-Pace electric car. It was an incredibly challenging project and was fascinating to see how it all turned out. I was responsible for designing all of the sounds, which included the exterior/interior engine sounds. All in the system user interaction sounds, alerts, notifications, blinker, low battery warning, charging battery, navigation, and power on/welcome sounds.
How would you define your main role on most of the projects you work on these days?
I would say sound designer specializing in musical composition, mnemonics, field recording, sound effects, loop libraries, content creation, instrument patch design, specialized sound design for TV/Film, web media, and virtual reality.
How did you get started in music? What kind of music did you listen to while growing up and how has that progressed?
I started out listening to a lot of music centered on skateboarding culture, which included a lot of early hip-hop, thrash metal, and punk music. I since progressed into industrial music into the late 90’s and soon discovered IDM experimental electronic music, which has been where I found my home. I have been making this style of music since 1994 and had my first album signed to Warp Records in 2001.
Can you name any factors you feel majorly influenced the course of your musical life? Heroes, role models, moments, interactions, etc?
I would for sure have to say the works of Morton Subotnick and specifically his early albums “Silver Apples of the Moon” and "Sidewinder”, were both monumental in shifting my sound and artistic focus. It was also his works that inspired me to look into working with analog modular systems early on in the late 90’s.
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?
In the past when I have run into creative roadblocks I just simply walked away from the situation and went out for a walk around my neighborhood, or tried to focus on something completely different to get my head into a completely different space. I feel it sometimes helps you approach the situation again with a fresh mind. Sometimes I might just leave the project for a few days, and revisit it back again. I feel that once you have reached a frustrating state it’s never good to keep trying to push yourself, at least from my personal experience. Sometimes changing your environment also helps as well. Like taking the project to a different location, for example working on my laptop at a park or outside away from the studio often helps.
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 would say the Eurorack modular has been one of my favorite instruments or tools for the last 6 years. You can constantly customize the system and modify it based on your current creative needs. So the system never gets old, and can adapt to what you want at any second. It’s in a constant state of flux of switching out and trying out different modules. So you can always improve different sections or areas of your system. The possibilities are endless, and working in this format brings constant inspiration, as so many things can go right or wrong at any part of the process.
Do you have any words of wisdom for people who might aspire toward a similar path for their own careers?
I would say never give up, no matter how bad it gets. There had been some super low points in my career but I never gave up. I told myself that it will get better and you just have to learn how to adapt to the constant shifts and changes in the industry. I learned that pretty early on, it's better to go with the flow than try and fight what is happening. I also would say to try and create your own unique signature sound that you can call your own. I had seen so many times with other artists trying to chase a specific fad or current sound only to see it die away, so it's always good to try and do your own thing and find your own voice.
How long have you been working with headphones, and how do you typically use them in your workflow?
I have been using headphones since 1992, my first set was the Sony MDR series headphones, I have probably 20 different headphones that I use now including in Ear monitors from Ultimate Ears, and JH-Audio. I use headphones in multiple different applications, sometimes for mastering and level checks on tracks and finalized mixes. Other times I use them for critical listening of content or sound effects for video games/virtual reality. I also love enjoying music on headphones; I feel you can really get a super-enhanced auditory experience if you have a great pair of headphones to listen to music on.
Do you have any additional comments or stories you want to share?
My latest release Systik is available again. It sold out on November 11, 2020, but we will have restocked all records so fans can now get a copy of it again here.
How have your Audeze headphones affected your work? Can you tell us what you've been working on with them recently?
The Audeze LCDX's have become one of my favorite headphones for critical mastering and mixing here at my studio. I have been using them nearly every day since they arrived, and the clarity and transparency are unbelievable! I have been using them for all my recent sound design projects at Apple, and have used them extensively for mixing and mastering on my new album slated to come out soon on Planet-Mu records.