LBB > How do you feel that the role of sound and music changed over the years?
Dominic > When I was a kid, we all used to talk about ads. Because they were all quite good - there was a lot of humour in advertising. And there was a lot of risk taking. I do feel, personally, that advertisers are very worried about offending anyone now. So these days you do find that a lot of the time all of the humour is stripped back to the point where it's lost. And an ad is no longer really a talking point. I think we've moved away from interesting content with advertising. Not all of it, obviously, but I think that there are far less ads that people talk about. Weirdly, there used to be something about advertising that you always used to look forward to in an ad break. We could probably get back to being a little bit more risque with advertising. What offends one person and doesn't offend four million is probably not offensive. I think that anyone who gets a single negative comment from anywhere just goes, right, let's just pull that. Which is a shame.
Then there’s things like YouTube and online content where you now get the option to skip an ad after just a few seconds. So there's definitely a move towards trying to make that first four seconds of an ad count and give all of the message that it needs to. As long as you can make that first five seconds as punchy and memorable as possible, then I guess advertisers are hoping that that will do the job. But I personally think within four seconds, there's very little you can do creatively to make something memorable. Anything that's memorable needs time to develop a story.
LBB > And how has your own relationship with music and sound changed over the years?
Dominic > There's an awful lot of stuff that's changed in what you can do with things like audio plugins and the emergence of new technologies. What used to take an hour to do, you can do in a matter of seconds now. And you have limitless different parameters - you can transform a voice, for example, from being in a recording booth to being in the Albert Hall or being in a tin can. Plugins can emulate hundreds of different scenarios so you can pretty much put anyone in any situation within seconds.
LBB > Are you much of a collector when it comes to sound?
Dominic > I certainly like to record stuff. I've got this little handheld recorder which is a really lovely little piece of kit - it's lighter than a phone so you can pretty much take it wherever you go. And every now and then I find myself in a place or scenario that I think sounds really nice and I’ll just record it. Particularly sounds that you can never really find in a sound effects database. It only takes two minutes to set up and record and then you've suddenly got a sound effect that you can use above the stock sound effects. As a lot of the main sound effects libraries are American, if you want a park in London you’ll only have American kids running around and American sirens and things like that. So it helps to have your own for authenticity. Different parts of the world sound different. I took my recorder to Marrakech and it's the most eclectic sounding place I've ever been in my life. Everything's echoey, it was the most incredible thing to record.
LBB > Is there anywhere you've not been yet that you'd love to visit from a sound perspective?
Dominic > I went on safari years ago in Kenya to the Masai Mara. That was pre-digital handheld recording devices so I'd love to go back there and record as much as I can. It’s such an extraordinarily different world and the sounds at night are incredible as there’s no sound pollution - no planes, cars or anything so you can capture the sound of nature.
LBB > Lastly, what hobbies or passion projects do you have outside of sound and music?
Dominic > So, Jungle until lockdown was a Fairlight studio, which is impossible to use outside of the studio environment. All the engineers at Jungle had to rapidly install and learn ProTools practically overnight. In fact, my first ever ProTools session did happen overnight - on the night that the full lockdown was announced in March. I did the sound on the first Chris Witty/Mark Strong TV broadcast at about 3am that morning so that it could go on air the following day.
So, without doubt the biggest challenge / project that I have had recently is running sessions remotely, recording VO’s who are also at home, so that everything can run like a normal session, with clients listening in and directing, all to picture. On completely new-to-me software!
In many ways, I believe that it's one of the best things to have come out of lockdown for me, in that Jungle has transformed into a ProTools studio. And I've been able to use this as an opportunity to learn a whole new DAW which I've been wanting to do for years!