Los Angeles, USA; December 2016 – Best known for working on film scores such as Guardians of the Galaxy and with a huge body of music under his belt, Kurt Oldman is a very happy Audient user. So when Audient asked him which of his latest endeavors he was most inspired by recently, his response was an interesting one. “I wrapped Flight 192 a couple weeks ago, and we’re chipping away at Marvel’s latest blockbuster,” he says nonchalantly. “Right now though, I’m doing season two of Bryan Cranston’s stop motion show: SuperMansion, which is just a blast for me.”
Based around a team of retired, burned-out super-heros with more than a little emotional baggage, the comedy cartoon from Stoopid Buddy Stoodios is streamed on Sony’s Crackle and has proved an exciting challenge for Oldman. “I think animation really keeps you on your toes as a composer. You don’t have the luxury to do the same thing for an extended period of time. Unlike any other genre it really isn’t so much about the overall tone and emotions, as it is about a thousand little moments and gestures you have to hit. To weave all these hit points into a comprehensive cue really is the challenge here. You can’t miss a beat.”
The ASP880 8-channel mic preamp from Audient has been part of his permanent setup for about a year, and suits him well with the speed of turnaround required. “I use it for all the in-room scratch and final recordings of guitar and percussion. It also has replaced my Direct Guitar Tube preamps for all electric guitar direct recording. I do all the electric guitar stuff direct so we can change the sounds on any cue at any time. Amp miking is just not an option on our schedules and turnarounds.
“There is not too much time for pre-scoring before the locked picture gets delivered to us. It’s not unusual for an episode to have forty to fifty cues per episode – that’s a lot of starts. We do features that have less,” he adds. With that number of cues comes the chance for Oldman to really unleash his creativity. “I always have to restrain myself in other genres,” he explains. “You really don’t have to worry too much about stepping over the line musically, in animation. The further you go the better it will work. In fact when the music starts to feel offensive that’s usually when you’re on the right track.”
He draws on his broad musical experience with this project, too. “My mixed orchestral and rock/pop background is a real advantage since I take care of a lot of the source music as well. That is from across the board – from rap to trash metal – everything, really. It never gets boring.” As for the Audient mic pres? “The DI’s of the ASP880 are much cleaner and uncoloured, perfect for my purpose.
“I really like the fact that there are very few restrictions in animation music. I love going wild with an idea and exploit it to the max. It’s really liberating,” says Oldman, clearly in his element. “I’m hoping to stick with animation for a while longer, it keeps my brain on high alert at all times.”
Looking to the future, he’s hoping to keep that buzz going with his latest Audient acquisition. “When I have time I want to setup the iD4 [Audient’s newest USB audio interface] on my piano monitor rig. I have a new Yamaha studio upright that is MIDI enabled with two little speakers sitting on it, I do a lot of initial themes and sketches on there. It’s routed to an iPad for quick recording of ideas and to the main DAW.”