The S&V Interview

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Mike Mettler  |  Jul 07, 2016  |  3 comments
Just typing out the name “Rick Wakeman” instantly conjures up indelible images of flowing capes, huge banks of keyboards, synths, and pianos, and a cavalcade of great-sounding organ compositions. Currently, Wakeman is putting the finishing touches on the 5.1 mix for The Myths and Legends of King Arthur 2016 and is also readying for a fall tour with his former Yes bandmates, vocalist Jon Anderson and guitarist Trevor Rabin, as ARW. I called Wakeman, 67, across the Pond to discuss his affinity for surround sound, his unique in-studio game plan, and his thoughts about the passing of his friend and onetime collaborator David Bowie. Ground control to Grand High Wizard Wakeman...
Mike Mettler  |  Feb 10, 2017  |  2 comments
Neal Morse is a busy man. The former Spock’s Beard vocalist/keyboardist found much great success after embarking on a long and fruitful solo career 15 years ago. Morse also runs his own label, Radiant Records, and he somehow finds the time to front two other sonically adventurous progressive-leaning bands, Transatlantic and Flying Colors. Before venturing across the Pond for an upcoming European tour in March and April, Morse called me from his home studio in Nashville to discuss how the journey of how The Neal Morse Band's new double-disc release The Similitude of a Dream came together, where you can find the album’s special “yacht rock” moment, and why he just can’t get behind the concept of streaming.
Mike Mettler  |  Apr 03, 2019  |  0 comments
We called retro-cool singer/guitarist Nick Waterhouse at his homebase in Southern California to discuss his finely soulful new self-titled album and how an artist’s name can come to define their personal brand of sound, how he reconciled his mono tendencies with making an album in stereo, and the clever but logical way he mixes his passion for both 45s and 33s.
Mike Mettler  |  Apr 06, 2016  |  2 comments
Looks like they’re finally wanted enough. This Friday, April 8, Cheap Trick will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame alongside Chicago, Deep Purple, Steve Miller, and N.W.A at the 31st Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. “Well, like they say — it’s better than getting a sharp stick in the eye,” jokes Cheap Trick’s ever-jovial guitarist Rick Nielsen. “But, yeah, it’s quite an honor.”Not only that, but Cheap Trick have also just released their 17th studio album, Bang Zoom Crazy... Hello (Big Machine), and, as the saying goes, it’s all killer and no filler. Nielsen, 67, and I got on the horn to discuss the sound design of Bang Zoom, working with George Martin, and how it feels to finally get into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Timothy J. Seppala  |  Sep 18, 2012  |  0 comments

As great a game as the first Borderlands was, it didn't offer much in the way of story. Developer Gearbox Software realized this and brought in Anthony Burch (best known for the often inappropriately hilarious web series, "Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin'?") to write Borderlands 2. Burch was also a member of the video game press corp whose equally sharp analysis and humor made him a must-read in his time at Destructoid and other places around the Web.

Timothy J. Seppala  |  Oct 23, 2012  |  0 comments

Hotline Miami (released today on Steam) is a dark and sordid 16-bit trip through 1989 South Florida and its seedy underbelly. It mixes a retro aesthetic with more violence than you're used to (think last year's cult hit Drive). It plays like earlier entries in the GTA series - but without the tedious driving between missions.

Timothy J. Seppala  |  Aug 28, 2012  |  0 comments

The dragons are back from the ocean's depths. Today marks the release of Guild Wars 2, the new massively multiplayer online role playing game (think World of Warcraft meets Star Wars: The Old Republic) from developer ArenaNet. S+V got a chance to chat with Guild Wars 2's audio director, James Ackley, who told us about the challenges and rewards of designing sound for an MMO.

Timothy J. Seppala  |  Nov 20, 2012  |  0 comments

Sabotaging a gas pump and watching from inside a dumpster as a criminal walks up to it, takes a phone call, lights a cigarette and then explodes is one of Hitman: Absolution's (out today for PC, PS3, Xbox 360) simplest pleasures. Last week I talked to the game's director,18-year industry veteran Tore Blystad, about his latest project.

Timothy J. Seppala  |  Jun 27, 2012  |  0 comments

Adding color to the Walking Dead universe was a gamble, but Telltale Games nailed it.

At E3 this year I had a chance to preview the latest episode in the series (out today for Xbox 360, PC, and PS3 Friday) and pick the brain of Telltale's Founder and Chief Technology Officer Kevin Bruner.

Timothy J. Seppala  |  Mar 01, 2012  |  0 comments

The Reapers are upon us. Mass Effect 3 is out next Tuesday, and with it Commander Shepard's story is coming to a close. I took the opportunity to chat with the series' audio lead, Rob Blake about his team's work in defining the Mass Effect franchise. Over the course of his career he's worked on everything from feature films to Spongebob Squarepants games, but counts his efforts at developer BioWare as the most challenging gigs he's encountered.

"What we do here dwarfs anything I've done before," he told me.

Timothy J. Seppala  |  May 30, 2012  |  0 comments

Last week, we told you about all the work that went into the refreshed soundtrack for Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD. S+V also talked with Robomodo president Josh Tsui about the whole range of challenges involved in recreating a classic game for a modern era.

Timothy J. Seppala  |  Sep 05, 2012  |  0 comments

Harmonix Music Systems redefined the peripheral-based rhythm genre with Rock Band in 2007. Five years, two numbered sequels and a few notable band-specific spin-offs later, their fans have a huge music library at their disposal. Thanks to smart thinking at the outset, almost all of the material from each successive game release has been playable within the Rock Band ecosystem (The Beatles Rock Band notwithstanding). There's somewhere in the neighborhood of three thousand songs in the Rock Band catalog if you count the community-authored tracks available on the Rock Band Network store.

The problem is, no one wants to buy peripheral-based games anymore. The novelty's over and isn't coming back anytime soon. Despite this, Harmonix has been keeping Rock Band fresh by releasing new songs and albums each week for players to download. This is great for hardcore fans, but not everyone wants to go through the hassle of getting the band back together because they want to play a few new tracks. That's where Rock Band Blitz comes in.

Timothy J. Seppala  |  May 23, 2012  |  0 comments

Late last year during the Spike Video Game Awards a familiar image resurfaced: A lanky towhead skateboarding around a dingy warehouse. The problem was that - aside from the sound of trucks grinding on a railing - the video was silent. Today, the team at Robomodo - the developer behind Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD - breaks that silence. I took the opportunity to speak with the game's producers and audio designer to learn how much work goes into re-licensing a classic soundtrack, picking out new songs and what original track almost had the studio's president breaking out his wallet to buy the rights.

Kim WIlson Photography: Joe Tabacca  |  Jan 22, 2010  |  1 comments

Located in the Soho district of lower Manhattan, the Savant Experience Center is an actual living space complete with a media/living room, home office, master bedroom, kitchen, dining room and a dedicated 800 sq. foot theater. Close to the Apple store, the Experience Center showcases the latest technologies in home entertainment and control to dealers, architects, designers, industry associations, and prospective clients.

Bob Ankosko  |  Nov 19, 2020  |  0 comments
15 Minutes with HDMI Forum President David Glen

Three years ago the HDMI Forum released the highly anticipated Version 2.1 of the HDMI specification, which paved the way for a major boost in A/V performance with support for higher video resolutions, high-dynamic range (HDR), and increased bandwidth plus important features like variable refresh rates (VRR) for gaming and eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel) for simplifying system setup. We recently caught up with Forum president David Glen to get an update on where HDMI stands today and where it’s going in the future.

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