Ross Lara is a composer, producer, sound designer, engineer, and member of The Spacies. He has worked with Red Bull, Meta Platforms, Epic Games, and Billboard-charting artists, and his innovative approach with immersive sound led to award-winning film scores, game compositions, and 600M+ streams. His unique approach to music composition involves writing and composing in spatial from the very first note, embracing an immersive environment that takes his creativity to new heights. With 20 years of experience in stereo, Ross shares his passion for sound and music and how this led him to explore the world of spatial.
Ross, you are one of the pioneering composers who write and compose your music in spatial - from the very first note. Can you tell us why you prefer this workflow vs. writing in stereo, then having your Mix Engineer ‘up-mixing’ your track to spatial?
I am deeply in love with music and sound, so producing in an immersive environment felt like a natural intersection in my journey as a composer. I have logged 20 years working in stereo, and that process and workflow has been refined over and over again, the immersive approach has unlocked a new way of thinking in the studio.
In some ways, it has been a great challenge. In my writing process, sometimes I will create a drone that resonates on a single note with subtle modulation and begin writing chords on top of it. Similar approach, in immersive, I can send that drone to the top speakers, as well as a thunderstorm I recorded the night before. The storm and drone can then have gorgeous reverbs slowly falling down from the top speakers to a few inches above my head. Then at ear level, we can introduce a piano or synth line, and literally start sculpting as if we had chisel’s and hammers in our hands. The only limitation is my imagination. And mixing is such an important, musical part of the process. I mix everything I produce, so the entire process is harmonious.
How does Sound Particles’ suite of products help your music composing workflow?
Workflow is crucial for any one of us to be efficient and productive. Energy and Brightness Panners are incredibly helpful and inspire creativity in mixing at a couple clicks within the plugin. Just like that, those plugins are spatializing my audio track at superior audio quality. No phasing or artifacts too. I do a lot of adventure/music related productions too, so I get super nerdy with “Air” and take note of humidity and temperate when I capture field recordings and use those data points within the low pass filter so it is a true filter of time and place. Super nerdy stuff that I greatly appreciate.
What is your favorite Sound Particles’s product, and why?
I love and use all of your products. Sound Particles 2 is ground breaking. The textures I create in Sound Particles are other worldly and totally unique. To be able to render out the sessions in Atmos beds, still dazzles me! Mixing with Brightness and Energy Panners has been a total game changer as well. Density in 7.1.2 is incredibly helpful tastefully filling out the Atmos space.
Can you share one of your power tips when using Sound Particles 2 and Density?
Within Sound Particles, the Star Dust template is immediate inspiration in creating drones and gorgeous, evolving, chordal textures. Don’t be shy with this program. I will take an 8 bar section of a song. Import the guitar and piano chords. Then I will take a synth tape loop + the lead melody. Crank those particle and emitter particle values. Within minutes those files transform into a STUNNING bed of sound… I am getting excited thinking about it!
Density is fantastic making a sound become larger than life. I used it on a single viola track in a piece, then it sounded like 10 violas were playing, all around me. Bus that track to a Specral Tempus guitar pedal and some subtle distortion, goodness gracious, sounds like a beautiful massive creature around you.
How do you think Spatial Music Production will evolve in the next few years?
This is a very exciting time for many things in tech, and obviously Immersive Audio. The tools for the creators are becoming more available and at better quality. The workflow and effeciency in how those tools are used is becoming streamlined too. At this rate, in a few years, I trust it will become more affordable and easy to get up and running. Headphone technology for the consumer will continue to improve too. Companies like Sonus, LG, Samsung, Sony, Apple, car manufactures, etc are embracing Atmos/Immersive. I trust it’s here to stay. More importantly, as producers continue to explore this new domain, a lot of people are gonna start to get it… That is huge for creative mind.
Ross' dedication to the art of music and his love for sound have guided him to explore the immersive world of Spatial Music Production. By creating from the very first note in an immersive environment, he has unlocked a new realm of creativity that harmonizes his passion for both music and technology. Sound Particles' suite of products has played a key role in enhancing Ross' workflow, providing him with the tools to craft otherworldly and unique textures. As the industry continues to evolve, Ross believes that the accessibility of immersive audio tools will increase, bringing this captivating experience to a broader audience. For aspiring Spatial Music producers, Ross emphasizes the importance of genuine passion, patience, and investing in proper room setups to fully embrace the immersive journey. With the creative possibilities expanding and technology advancing, Ross' vision of a more immersive and exciting future for Spatial Music Production is certainly something to be eagerly anticipated.
Thank you Ross!