Asbjoern Andersen


The independent sound effect community is chuck-full of talented and friendly people – and one of them is sound recordist and fellow Dane, Mikkel Nielsen. He collaborates with sound designers across the globe, and also releases his own range of sound libraries on his Sonic Salute site.

Read on for my interview with him on his approach to library creation, recording – and the making of an earth-shattering sfx library.

– Asbjoern

 

Hi Mikkel, please introduce yourself and Sonic Salute

Hi all. Mikkel Nielsen, sound effect recordist here. I’m the owner of the Sonicsalute.com site, where I’m distributing sound effects of all sorts. They range from studio recordings to real-life noisy environments, like junkyards, shipyards, pig farms, and so on.

A big part of my working life is spent on recording and editing sound effects and atmospheres for features, docs, and TV series. Mostly Danish productions, but a few foreign ones also come by now and then.
 

What sound projects are you working on at the moment?

Well, things are incredibly busy. I’ve just delivered sounds to Rob Nokes and Sounddogs. I’m also layering tracks and editing the ambience track for a US indie movie. At the same time, I’m working on documentaries and three different Danish features, which Peter Albrechtsen is sound designing.

Finally I’ve planned some large recording sessions with muskets and cannons for Nino Jacobsen, to be used in director Ole Bornedal’s war drama ‘1864’.

When my ears are not stuck between a pair of headphones, and when I’m not editing audio material (which by the way, always seems to pile up faster than I can follow), I’m the father of two fantastic boys aging from 4-8. So I got my hands full!
 

How do you come up with ideas for new sound effect libraries? What inspires you?

Most of the time the ideas for new libraries come from the fact that I need certain sounds myself to fill in on a scene – or when I’m approached by editors and designers needing particular sounds. From there I lay down a plan, and start to contact places etc., asking for permission to record the place, machine, animals and so on.

A relaxing day at the office

A relaxing day at the office

Recording one place might evolve into the idea of recording something similar in another place, or recording more of the same type of sounds. This process inspires me a lot.
And sometimes I go with it and create a whole SFX library around that one idea. The latest Car Doors Open/Close library is quite a good example of this.

I would sure like to have the ideas just pop up in my mind every morning I wake up, but unfortunately my head doesn’t always work that way.

The small amount of “hey, I got a brilliant idea for a new SFX library” stuff happens when I do a lot of listening to things. When I grab a toy or similar, I always stick it close to my ear and listen to the sound of it. It’s sort of like a curse. Ask my family about it. It drives them mad when going to museums etc.

 

What’s your recording setup?

I’m using the Sound Devices 7 series recorders. They are built like tanks and just don’t care what you throw at them.

For mics I use a set of Sennheiser Mkh 8020, a Sennheiser 416 with an Ambient Emesser on top, and two sets of DPA 4060 and 4061. The DPA lavs I use for easy mounting interior or exterior on cars, and for stealth recordings. Everything tugged into Rycotes.

I also have a set of JrF contact mics and a hydrophone, which I have a lot of fun with.

 

Some of your sound libraries are very unique – like the Shake, Rattle and Rumble library. What’s the story behind that one?

shake rattle and rumble sfxThis was one of those libraries which started out with the need for a specific sound for sound designer Peter Albrechtsen.

Peter needed the sound of a whole house shaking. He talked about what it would feel like (and sound like) if the walls were shaking, the floors were moving, and you were standing in the middle of it.

This one would prove to be a bit more difficult to record live rather than creating or designing it. At least, that’s what I thought for a while.

So I struggled a lot with coming up with an idea on how and where to record this. I called demolition teams and whatnot, but didn’t come up with a solution that would work.

One weekend, I was visiting Sweden by ferry, and as the ferry was docking, the big engine was put in reverse. This made the entire structure shake and bend. It sounded terrible.
Wine bottles and candy were thrown off the shelves, and metal plates in the ceiling were rattling like crazy. It only lasted for a short while and then stopped.

I immediately knew that this was the sound I needed. Next problem was to make the chaotic sound last for several minutes, as I wanted to record as many different spots on the ferry as possible.

I contacted the company sailing the route, and they invited me on board a day of my choosing. I took a late departure in January where there were a minimum of passengers. To my luck it was pretty windy that night.

As soon as the ferry left the harbor, the crazy sounds began

 
The ferry started sailing, and as soon as it had left the harbor, the crazy sounds began.
I got my several minutes, and even got a great big bump from the ferry coming into the harbor a bit too hard, hitting the dock. It was great!

From there on, I thought it would be nice to have a complete library of sounds like this, big and small, and lots of them too.

I approached the process by recording more ferry rumble type sounds, like a van on a bumpy road (there goes the suspension), and me physically shaking stuff like cupboards, boxes, beds etc. That, by the way, is a great deal harder to do than one should think.

I also put metal trays, porcelain, cutlery, etc. on a subwoofer and sent a controlled deep tone through the speaker. I got this great idea from Jean-Edourd Miclot, who helped me set up a prototype in Kyma where I would control the tone with a Wacom pen. I had so much fun!

The hardest part of this library was the sounds recorded with my hands and legs doing the shaking. Moving a big, old and heavy cupboard back and forth for a few minutes was extremely tiring. I found myself having completely dead arms really fast, and actually thought it would never work this way.

 

Popular on A Sound Effect right now - article continues below:

 

Latest releases:  
  • Cars Car Foley II Play Track 130+ sounds included, 30 mins total $50 $40

    Car Foley 2 sound effects library features foley recordings of different actions performed inside 10 different cars. It’s 130 files with a total length of 30 minutes covering actions like closing and opening regular doors, slide doors, hoods, trunks, interior buttons and switches, windows, seatbelts, brakes, gear levers, handbrakes and more.

    Inside you’ll find foley recorded in cars like:

    • Audi A3 8L 1.9 TDI
    • Mazda 6 III 2.0 Skyactive G
    • Nissan Qashqai 1.6
    • Nissan Terrano II 2.7 TDi
    • Porsche Cayenne I 4.8 V8
    • Renault Master IV dci 165
    • Subaru Impreza WRX GD
    • Toyota Corolla Verso 1.6
    • Toyota Rav 4 II 2.0 Diesel
    • Volkswagen Caravelle T5 2.0
    20 %
    OFF
    Ends 1580252399
    Add to cart
  • Environments Hot Tub SFX (Jacuzzi / Spa) Play Track 10 sounds included, 2+ mins total $10 $5

    There’s nothing better than a nice long soak in a Jacuzzi hot tub… This library will instantly place you right in the middle of a beautiful oasis of warm bubbling water and massaging bubble jets. All sounds are cut into perfectly seamless loops and provided in both .wav and .mp3 to make your use of this library as easy as a trip to the spa!

    These loops make it easy to drop the files into any game development software or to easily support props in a film/tv project.

    Music is only heard in the demo, not in the actual footage.

    Other libraries that pair well:
    1000 Winds Project (Farts.) [The Original]
    Everyone farts… and some people do it in the hot tub!  CAUTION: This library contains the HIGHEST resolution fart winds that exist on this side of the internet… Well, let’s be real, all sides of the internet!

    Chicago – Environmental & Transportation Ambiences
    Depending on the needs of your project, you might just find that you need additional environmental ambiences, which are covered in this library! Recorded in high resolution, this library will put you right in the virtual seat of the city of neighborhoods!

    PWC – Jet Ski – Sea Doo | Volume 1 & 2
    More sounds in the world of water!  Ultra-high resolution Sea Doo recordings utilizing on-board microphone techniques, from multiple perspectives (driver perspective (mid-side, exhaust perspective & engine perspective).

    50 %
    OFF
    Ends 1580165999
    Add to cart
  • User Interface (UI) Computer Sounds: Sci-Fi Minipack Play Track 180 sounds included $10 $7

    This is a small collection of 180 easy-to-use futuristic interface sound effects.

    All sounds categorized by the most popular cases in production, such as Alarm, Beep, Button, Confirm, Deny, Telemetry, Text, Noise, and others.

    Also, it contains two main sub category: Simple (could be used as a layer in complex sound design) and Complex (which already consists of several layers).

    This library is a fast, easy, effective and extremely affordable way to complete your production tasks.

    Main features:

    • 180 ready-to-use sound effects with alterations

    • Futuristic computer interface sounds

    • Categorized as Simple and Complex

    • Most popular types of effects: Alarm, Beep, Button, Confirm, Deny and others

    • Contains metadata for search engines

    30 %
    OFF
    Ends 1583017199
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  • Destruction & Impact Medieval Battle Play Track 100 sounds included $26

    Medieval Battle contains a wide variety of sounds taken straight from the battlefield. Unleash the full force of your army with effects from a diverse range of medieval weaponry, crowds, horses and battle charges. There are also battle cries, screams and shouts to make the audience feel like they are right there on the frontlines. To bring you the most organic and natural battle sounds, we recorded actors performing in a quiet exterior location. All sounds were recorded in 24Bit 96kHz, allowing for further sonic manipulation.

    If you think your sound collection is in need of some reinforcements then this is the library for you! Medieval Battle is ideal for use in Film, TV and Game projects, and will make a perfect addition to your sound design arsenal.

    Here are the included folders:

    Crowds: Crowd rushes and static battle cries in a natural exterior location make these effects perfect for building the bed of a huge Medieval warzone.

    Female Voices: 4 individual female actors perform multiple vocalisations including screams, grunts and efforts.

    Sword & Shield Hits: A variety of sword and shield hits performed by weapons and combat experts.

    Male Voices: 4 individual male actors perform multiple vocalisations including screams, grunts and efforts.

     

    Add to cart
  • City Life Countrysides and capitals Play Track 40 sounds included, 57 mins total $89.99

    These group of sounds will help you colour your footage with sounds from the city and the countryside. Packed with 40 sounds to enhance your design

    Recorded with:

    • Sound Devices 633
    • Rode NTG3
    • Rode NT4
    • Seymour Duncan SCR-1
    Add to cart


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My only way around it was to pause, sit down for a while, and start over again. Keep in mind that I had to keep a natural rhythm, like a real earthquake was happening, and furthermore not do the exact same rhythm for all the tracks. I wanted to keep things varied and exciting.

So overall, this one was both challenging and a lot of fun to do – and I think I managed to capture some pretty unique sounds in the process. You can get the final result here.

What are your three most essential tools when it comes to sound design work?

First tools must be my recorder and mics. Having good/clean/rich source material makes the designing process a lot easier.

Second one is my Protools rig. It’s the only DAW I have ever used. I love the stability, especially from Protools 10 and on. I find the sound and session workflow to be great.

Last tool: To dare, and to have the imagination to use any particular sound for anything really.
 

What excites you about recording?

The recording process: Listening to the surroundings, deciding on the mic placements, pressing REC and shutting up – that’s actually what I love most about my work. It’s like yoga for my mind.
 

Any tips for the readers on how to make the most of your sound libraries?

Pitch them, stretch them, reverse them, and layer them!
 

And finally: When are we going to see a new Sonic Salute SFX library?

I just started the first recordings for a new one this summer. This will, sound-wise, build a bridge with one of my other libraries. It’s still in the beginning of the recording sessions phase, and will take some time to finish – but it will be well worth it though, I’m quite sure!

Thanks a lot to Mikkel Nielsen for taking the time for this interview.

 

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Check out the full catalog of Sonic Salute libraries here, and hear a selection of them below:
 

  • Cars Car Doors Play Track 78 sounds included $15

    I have been spending days at the local auto salvage yard, which is where our 4-wheeled friends end their days – and here's the result:

    The Car Doors library gets you 78 mono door open/close sounds from 30 cars, and 6 car trunks, with multiple passes on each for soft and hard closes – all metadata tagged and ready to go!

    Before the poor things were being torn apart for spares and placed on top of each other, I had the pleasure of recording a lot of their doors, opening and closing. As they were rubbish anyway, I could really put all my weight into the closing, and not being scared of the consequences. The sounds are from everyday cars, and some had a bit of rattle and rust, or cheap and thin kind of sound to them, others had some nice, heavy, and convincing thump, to them when they closed.

    Add to cart
  • Environments Water Movements Play Track 96 sounds included $25

    Recorded by a quiet Swedish lake in late summer of 2014, the Water Movements sfx library is filled with splashes, drips, walking/running, moving, small water creature simulations, and much more.

    Add to cart
  • Animals & Creatures Tasmanian Devils Play Track 50+ sounds included $10

    Meet the Tasmanian devil! Recorded in the Copenhagen Zoo, this library features huffs, sniffs, growls, barks, bite and chewing – and those eerie and weird critter screams.

    If you need strange animal or monster sounds, do check out this library:

    Add to cart
  • Destruction & Impact Ice Tension Play Track 206 sounds included $54

    A collection of 206 ice tension, creaking, and breaking sounds, recorded in a dense pine tree forest in Sweden.

    Ice Tension includes:

    • Very long tension creaking sounds
    • Multiple breaking sounds
    • Ice impacts on ice
    • Ice impacts into ice water

    Add to cart
 
 
 
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