Asbjoern Andersen

The team at Designing Sound runs a vitally important resource for insightful, original sound articles, guides and news from and for the sound community. But it’s pretty rare that that we actually get to hear about the work and thoughts the team pours into this unique resource.

So today, I’m really happy to bring you this exclusive interview with the site’s hard-working, cat-loving editor-in-chief Jack Menhorn.

Here, he shares what’s driving the team at Designing Sound, his favorite moments – and how you can help make the community even stronger:


Jack Menhorn

Designing Sound editor-in-chief Jack Menhorn

Hi Jack, please give a brief overview of what Designing Sound is all about

“Designing Sound is a resource dedicated to the art and technique of sound design, with the aim of sharing information and knowledge for free.”

We do news, reviews, interviews and in-depth articles about sound design for film, games, TV, and anywhere else creative use of sound can be found. We currently have 11 Contributing & News Editors and we are constantly sourcing articles and posts from members of the film, TV and video game industries which gives us a broad coverage of topics and discussion.

How did you get involved with DS, and what’s your role?

I was posting news and articles on Creating Sound for a little while before I was approached by Designing Sound’s founder – Miguel Isaza – about taking over the Editor-in-Chief role on DS.

I humbly accepted and have been trying to keep my head above water ever since. While Miguel was running things, he did everything and did it all very well!

Since my arrival the role has been democratized out so that we are more of a hive mind than a hierarchy.

We all try to contribute as much as we can when we can and some have specialized roles and talents or interests above that. For example: Varun Nair is our WordPress and webhosting master in addition to being an overall audio programming master. Shaun Farley has done a great job hosting webinars and wrangling interviews with huge names in the film sound industry.

I try to still have the “editor” hat on and keep us all organized and moving, in addition to being the point of contact for emails and questions/suggestions.

What’s your vision for DS, and how do you and the team set the direction for the site?

There is no *one* vision for DS. I am 1 of 11 equal and important voices that make up the decision process on Designing Sound.

I would say collectively we are trying to continuously have great articles, interviews and insights into what we all do professionally.

We take pride in helping enrich the audio community as best we can

We try to follow “quality over quantity” and focus in on great topics and discussions, even if they take some time to put together. We aren’t doing this for page views or click-thrus. We take pride in helping enrich the audio community as best we can.

DS has monthly topics which we try to plan out months in advance. That process is just throwing ideas out and see if anyone likes them and if there’s enough meat on the bone for multiple articles.

From there everyone is free to write or find someone to write articles on the subject. Additionally, we aren’t limited to that month’s topic and take/make articles, interviews, reviews as they come.

Fact box: The Designing Sound team
Cormac Donnelly, Doron Reizes, Erica Basnicki, Jack Menhorn, John Black, Joshua Kaplan, Marie Tueje, Peter Albrechtsen, Sam Ejnes, Shaun Farley, Varun Nair

What’s been your best moment being involved with DS?

Mine personally is a tie:

– Interviewing Capcom Audio Director Tomoya Kishi was a delight. It took a little while to put it all together but I think it was worth it. I am a huge fan of many Japanese games and especially their interesting aesthetics visually and aurally.

I feel a dialogue between East and West sound design communities would be a great benefit to both sides of the ocean. I think – for whatever reason – Japanese sound design is overlooked in the West when it comes to awards or recognition.

I hope I was able to contribute slightly to raising the visibility of some great talent and work.

– Going to GDC 2013 and meeting Designing Sound readers! It was truly amazing to introduce myself and see people get super excited and talk about how much they love Designing Sound!

I live in the middle of nowhere so it’s difficult to get to many meetups and engage the corporeal sound community.

While we have analytics that show us how many readers we have; it’s totally another wonderful and humbling thing to meet people who read and learn from words we posted from a home office while petting a cat.

Do you see any emerging trends within the sound design community?

There is definitely more of a positive online presence to our community. Blogs (like the one you’re reading right now), Creating Sound, Designing Sound, in addition to things like Social Sound Design and Tonebenders Podcast, have increased the amount of information and interaction dramatically.

The #gameaudio hashtag on Twitter is another example of the community freely exchanging ideas – while still policing itself from those who would self-promote their new remix album or DJ gig that plagues many-a sound-related forums and Facebook groups.

The indie sound library scene has exploded in the last few years

This free exchange of ideas is empowering and gratifying to be a part of.

Also, the indie sound library scene has also exploded in the last few years and I don’t see that really slowing down.

We might reach a critical mass of the number of sfx producers the industry can sustain – but when people like Frank Bry, Tim Prebble and many others keep putting out such great content, we’ll keep buying it!

This has a side effect of lowering the barrier of entry for aspiring sound designers to pick and choose source sounds they need for a project only when they need them, as opposed to throwing down thousands of dollars up from for a behemoth library.

If these cheaper alternatives hadn’t popped up a few years ago like they did, I might not have been able to break into sound design!

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How can people help and support your work on DS?

Contribute! If you want to support us please contact Shaun or myself if you want to write an article.

Comment on posts or just start a discussion somewhere/anywhere!

Also: Keep reading, commenting and retweeting so more people can learn from and engage with this wonderful and unique sound community we have.

What’s next for DS?

We might be in early planning stages of building a robot octopus to attack anyone who uses the Wilhelm Scream.

January is Dialog Month and then February is Animal Recording/Design Month. I am excited about both of these topics and we hope to have a good about of great articles and discussions.

I will also hopefully be at GDC 2014 with some other DS people, so come and find us!

A huge thanks to Jack Menhorn for doing this interview – and to him and the whole team at Designing Sound for building and running a fantastic resource for all of us in the creative sound community!


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About Jack Menhorn
Jack Menhorn is a sound designer and occasional composer for video games. He lives in North Carolina and really likes cats. You can check out his website here.

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