Founded in 1994 by Los Angeles composer Eric Persing and his wife Lorey, Spectrasonics (www.spectrasonics.net) quickly became a leading developer of world-class sampled sound libraries like Stylus, RMX, Omnisphere and Trilian.
In this interview with me at the MusikMesse, Eric shares things you did not know about him.
• Tell us something about your childhood.
I was born in Germany and lived in 27 countries before I was three years old. My father was a music/choir teacher so I grew up around music since a very early age.
• What incident / event made you decide upon music as a career?
I played the Minimoog for the first time when I was about 12 years old. It pretty much changed my life! I was driven to figure it out.
• Where do you get your inspiration from?
As a creative and spiritual person, much of what I do is a reflection and response to God – the Author of all Creativity.
My family inspires me every day in countless ways. I am influenced by many great musicians and composers… but I draw inspiration from anything that is excellent and true.
• What drives you to think and design new sounds and textures constantly?
I often think that it’s not my job to create sounds, but rather to discover them. It often feels like they are hidden and waiting to be discovered! I love the process of discovering them.
• Do you manage to achieve all that you hear in your head?
Not always, since it’s a lifelong process to learn how to do this. There’s still a lot sonically and musically that I hear in my head that I haven’t achieved, so this is something that constantly drives me to become better at what I do.
• How do you decide which sounds to go for?
I often let the instrument or the process guide me. When it starts to get interesting in a direction, then I will start to guide it to completion.
• What is the ratio of sounds recorded and produced v/s the sounds released?
Probably 100 to 1. This is one of the great secrets of our success….we are brutally hard on our own work!
• How was it working with Michael Jackson, Bruce Swedien, and what synths did you use while working with Sergio Mendes’s album?
I was very privileged to work with Michael, Quincy, Sergio and Bruce on several projects. It’s an incredible experience to work with such legends and genius people.
The experience of working with Michael right after Thriller was truly something out of a film and I have enough stories from that session to fill a book! We had one song that had over 1,000 tracks of different parts recorded, which was unheard of in those days of analog recording.
Sergio’s album “Braziliero” is the album I’m most proud of from my session days. It’s an album that will stand the test of time I think. Most of what I used on that record was done with the Roland S-770 (the best sounding hardware sampler ever made in my opinion), but many hardware synths were used as colors.
• Spectrasonics uses the challenge/response method to unlock its softwares. How do you feel when composers use your products for free?
To be honest… Horrible. The situation in India is particularly sad for us. Piracy has always been a reality, but it’s not too bad if there are also legitimate users. My impression is that somehow the culture in India changed and it became uncool for professionals to buy software or something like this.
I do hope it begins to change there in your country, and younger composers start to understand the impact of piracy on a small company like ours. I try not to get too heavy and serious about this topic though… you have to keep a good sense of humor about it and hope that people just start doing the right thing.
As an example of how comical it can be, I once had a businessman from India propose a deal to me to sell all of everything I have created on a hard drive for $1 dollar…. he said it was “better than nothing!” LOL!
• Many musicians feel you should be inducted in the “Hall of Fame” for what you have given to the world with your amazing products. What is your response to that?
That’s extremely generous and kind! I am happy that so many have been inspired by what we do… that is indeed our ultimate goal.
• Do you plan to a visit to India in the near future?
Wow…I would love to do that. It would be an honor to visit such an important place in the world of music.
All I say is: “Most Welcome”.