MA Student – Luke Johnson
Welcome to our new regular feature, ‘Student Spotlight’ where we bring some of the best work and accomplishments made by our students.
ThinkSpace Education is proud of the talent we see growing everyday, and we want to show it off as much as possible!
Today we look at Luke Johnson’s latest work ‘TitaniumOil’. A track that when it arrived in the office, everyone was called in to listen, and then had to have their mouths picked up off the floor afterwards.
Luke had just dived into the world of Sound Design with our latest course Sound Design Pro, which this track was created for. We caught up with Luke too see how he went about creating this track, and how he is getting on with his new course.
Q1. Your track combines a lot of interesting elements. What were some of your influences?
My influences for this track really came down to the Brief. I think it’s so important to be able to communicate with people and when undertaking a brief like this, understanding what the Director wants is essential. In a nutshell, this Music is to sell High Performance Motor Oil centred around an Engine. An Engine in the guise of a Woman who goes from a jagged mechanical movement and into a powerful fluid dance. So bearing this in mind, my first thoughts (other than “How on Earth am I going to do this?”) were to use Sound Design ideas, Synthesisers, and dirty distorted Electric Guitars for the overall sound. To me, it needed to have an Electronic feel and certainly the sounds of metallic industrial-esque objects crashing into each other would suit the image of combustion engines roaring. Throughout the track, I created a subtle Heartbeat sounding Pulse that gradually gets louder to simulate that the Engine is coming to life. Of course, that is where the Electric Guitars would come in and do the job of lifting the track. I’ve always been heavily influenced by Rock n Roll music and I think distorted Rock Guitars are a great fit for this type of thing! I knew I would want a big Guitar riff for the fluid dance part of the track, something not too complicated, and something with a massive groove. I created a few Synth type sounds and achieved this using analogue Guitar Synth pedals to give the Guitars a more unique tone. My Musical influences vary from Chopin to Aphex Twin but I think listening to Rage Against the Machine, Jack White and Led Zeppelin for most of my life has helped with this particular track! It felt marvellous to get the Guitars out!
Q2. You have recently been working on SOUND DESIGN: PRO. How has that course shaped your writing?
So far, I have loved working on the Sound Design: Pro course. I am going to keep going back to it because there are so many different techniques to learn and practising all of them is going to take a lot of time to (hopefully) master. In this track I used various techniques such as Reverse/Time Stretch Audio and layering different Acoustic sounds that I recorded in my Music Lab to create Atmospheric effects, Transitions, and sounds to layer with Risers. It’s incredible what Sounds you can make using just a Piano, an Acoustic Guitar and Audio Effects. Although, my particular favorite Sound Design weapon at the moment is recording an Electric Power Drill! The number of possible Synth Drones and effects that can be created with a Power Drill (combined with Audio FX and Plugins) is limitless! Hours of endless creative fun and Worlds apart from what I am used to when writing songs in a band! With Sound Design, it is possible to create unique sounds that never existed before and this is so exciting, especially when combining Sound Design with a more traditional Musical approach! I’m hooked!
Q3. What does ThinkSpace do for you that you can’t have anywhere else?
I love being able to pick up the phone and be able to get advice from professional Musicians that actually work in Film, TV and Video Games and do this for a living. This is so important for me. It’s real. Actually getting feedback for my assignments by people that know what they are talking about is just so valuable. The knowledge between all of the Thinkspace Tutors is immense (and obviously current) and I’m surrounded by people that constantly strive to become great Musicians. The assignments are stressful but great for making me hit deadlines and they really push me to learn how to do new things outside of my comfort zone. Which is just about everything and means I am constantly swimming in the deep end – the only place to swim! There is also a real sense of community with the other Students and the amount of help and knowledge we share with each other is brilliant! Everybody is out to help each other. It’s amazing.
Q4. Where do you want to end up with your career?
Everywhere. Haha! Jokes aside, I want to write and create as much Music as I possibly can, with as many great Musicians as life allows! I would love to end up writing Music for Film, TV and Video Games and dream of being successful enough so that I can pay my bills with Money earnt from my own Music! Surely that’s the definition of success? Getting paid to do something you love!
If you want to learn more about our new Sound Design courses you can check out or course trailer and webpage at:
Until next time,
If you enjoyed this, why not check out Cinematic Orchestration?