An interview with dan graham composer and co-founder of gothic instruments by thorsten meyer

Thorsten Meyer

Senior Member
Dan Graham from Gothic Instruments did take the time out off his busy schedule to provide some insights and background information about Gothic Instruments and their virtual instruments which help some many to write inspiring cinematic music.

Thorsten Meyer: Dan, first of all, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule. Would you be so kind and tell us a bit about yourself and how Gothic Instruments started out in the business?

Dan Graham: Since 2004 I’ve been a composer and then music publisher. I’ve always been interested in sample libraries and created my own collections so I thought I would try to make something commercial in 2006. Since then I did 7 collections for Zero G before finally co-creating our company in 2014.

Tell us a little more about the team behind Gothic Instruments?

The owners are me and Adam Hanley. Adam is the scripting genius while I have the product ideas.

Congratulations on your latest release Gothic Instruments DRONAR Dark Synthesis, the fourths instrument of your DRONAR series. All DRONAR libraries give access to very cinematic sounds, how did you come up with the unique system implemented in DRONAR libraries?

I tried to create interesting quick drone textures with other products and found that they seemed a bit too hard to customise, and you would only get one sound at a time which then takes a long time to sequence and automate. I suppose my system for creating new products is just imagining playing with something, what I want it to do, and what the interface would look like - so it’s like I see it in my head then create sketches and keep working on improving the concept for a while before scripting starts.

After that, we also hit obstacles and discover new things wth some trial and error.

What I like about all your DRONAR libraries is the ease of use and that not many controls are needed to get cinematic results. How do you create sounds in DRONAR?

The raw audio is created by great sound designers - usually different people on the different modules in the series.

Could you position your four current DRONAR products and how each fits and could be used?

They are all great for TV/film soundtracks but also great for adding a cinematic quality to any other productions. Guitarscapes will fit well with guitar-based music because the sounds will blend well, and Live Strings will blend well with orchestral music.

Which of the DRONAR library was the most challenging one to sample?

Live Strings was a bit like hell on earth :) It was many recordings recorded over 3 years, before Dronar began so the audio was the wrong pitches and tempos and needed a huge amount of work to fit the Dronar engine.

You have also the SCULPTOR modules and libraries, how do they differ from DRONAR and how do you position SCULPTOR?

The SCULPTOR series is all about pure sound design - noises instead of music. So - rises, drops, impacts, etc.

How many Instruments and sound sources did you include in the different libraries?

Ohhh…. hundreds...

How and where do you capture and record the included instruments?

Live Strings were recorded in Liverpool - others were done around the world by the sound designers.

How long did you work on the different DRONAR products?

Each takes maybe 2 months from start to finish, but the very first Dronar took 1 year because the engine was being developed.

Is there a sound or style that you did see lately as an upcoming trend?

This year the retro synth thing is a big trend but I’ve no idea what the future will bring! We’ll just cover a wide range then hopefully we’ll be ready for any trend.

Could you share some insights about your next project you’re most excited about?

Most of the focus now is on the Dronar Master Edition - hopefully to be released in January 2018 - a bit version with all the modules and others - 100GB of data, as an officially licensed Kontakt library which doesn’t need full Kontakt.

Are there incredible talents you worked with that you would like to point out?

Alessandro Camnasio is my long-time sound design genius. I also work with too many amazing composers to list them all :)

Thank you for your time.