AN INTERVIEW WITH ULI BARONOWSKY (FOUNDER AND PRODUCER)AND STEPHAN LEMBKE (CO-PRODUCER) OF GALAXY INSTRUMENTS by Thorsten Meyer Uli Baronowsky and Stephan Lembke from Galaxy Instruments did take the time out off his busy schedule to provide some insights and background information about Galaxy Instruments and their virtual instruments which help some many to write inspiring cinematic music. Thorsten Meyer: Stephan and Uli, 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 Galaxy Instruments started out in the business? Uli got into the whole sample production business as a freelance recording engineer, where he was doing sound for Best Service’s “Artist Drums” drum library. Since the recordings took place at Galaxy Studios in Belgium, the in-house Steinway D grand piano was the next project, where Uli got more involved with sample library creation and this became the first Galaxy Piano product, the Galaxy Steinway. Stephan has a sound engineering background as well and started out in the world of sampling by assisting Uli in the post-production process of earlier sample projects. After the Galaxy Steinway II piano collection and the Vintage D, a sound design tool based on fx-convolution was released, called Galaxy “X”. That was when the name changed from Galaxy Pianos to Galaxy Instruments and the company got more diverse. Tell us a little more about the team behind Galaxy Instruments? Galaxy Instruments is a small company, consisting of Uli, the main producer and founder. Over the years Stephan has become more involved, starting out as an assistant for the early 5.1 projects (Galaxy Steinway 5.1 and Artist Drums 5.1 in cooperation with Best Service), “The Giant” and “Rise & Hit” and became a co-producer with The Definitive Piano Collection project. Since 2016, Achim Reinhardt is supporting the team in all kinds of tasks and is especially skilled with programming and multimedia solutions. The Kontakt scripting is carried out by Klaus Baetz and Ingo Hermes takes care of the graphics (be it the Galaxy Instruments website or the Kontakt GUI) and is also assisting on various occasions. Many considered Una Corda as one the leading custom-made contemporary pianos. How was the feedback that you received after releasing Una Corda? Well, the feedback was great. We all know the sound of upright pianos and various brands of grand pianos, but the Una Corda is something new and exciting. Especially with the additional features we’ve included like the felt or cotton preparation Una Corda has a distinctive sound. It’s just fun to play with. And for us, it’s the most exciting of our libraries to play with from time to time. Una Corda is based on a specifically developed and hand built Klavins Una Corda 88’ modern upright piano. Some may not know Una Corda, could you talk about what makes the Una Corda so special? Una Corda is an Italian term, describing the function of a grand piano, where the hammers are moved aside (via a fourth pedal), so they would only hit a single piano string to generate a tone for each key. The result is a very clear and distinctive tone without the “beats” or movement of the frequencies, when more than one string is hit. The Klavins Una Corda 88 does not have this pedal, but instead just uses a single string for each key permanently. Also, the Una Corda includes a mounting fixture to place materials between the hammers and the strings in a manner, that is inspired by Nils Frahm’s use of the upright piano. By losing the usual wooden enclosure of an upright, the Una Corda weighs around 100 kilos and is thereby a (rather) portable version of an upright piano. However, transporting it up and down the stairs in our studio a couple of times, we still need a professional piano mover to feel safe handling it. Some months ago the Una Corda was listed for sale on Ebay. Where is the Una Corda these days? Yes, that’s right. David Klavins set up shop in Hungary after moving down there for a different project and closing his “Piano Manufaktur” in Balingen, Germany. He wanted to sell it in order to found his new operation, but in the end eBay was not the right place to do so. Now, the Una Corda is still in our studio (you can see the instrument standing in the back of the vocal booth in the making-of part of the walkthrough video for Thrill) and we have bought it from David to help him out. ...cont.