Sound Designer Spotlight: Jordi Longán (Enkigeorge)
It’s time to welcome a producer who’s been working hard on Audiodraft and demonstrating all of us with his undeniable talent in music production. Ladies and gentlemen, the spotlight is now on Jordi Longán aka Enkigeorge.
First, could you tell us something about your background. Where are you from and how did get to doing music?
I’m from Barcelona, Spain, the city where I live now. I started playing the piano at the age of 11 (now I’m 30) and at about the age of 15 I started to make my first compositions, which were very simple. After studying music for some years I began to study sound engineering as it is also a discipline that actually I love. I started writing music seriously about 6 or 7 years ago. I began with small rock songs and went slowly plunging into the self-taught orchestral composition, which is my favorite style of composition, as I’d like to be a professional film composer. As a matter of fact, next year I will resume my musical studies with a Master’s degree program in “Film Scoring” because I’m convinced I need to learn more. I have a big desire to start with!
Where do you work? Is it a home studio? Furthermore, what kind of software and hardware are you using for music production?
I have my own recording and composing studio at home. You could say it’s a professional “home studio”. I am ProTools operator and this is the software that I usually work with. My recording equipment consists of a DIGI 003, a MOTU 8pre and a Focusrite ISA One preamp. For recording vocals I use a RODE NTK microphone with “Siemens” tube that gives me greater warmth on my recordings. Regarding the keyboards I use mainly a Roland Fantom X6 as master keyboard but I have a Korg TR and a Korg Trinity V3 which I mainly use live. I also have an Ibanez RG electric guitar and a Fender HM bass. As for libraries I really like Cinesamples products, but also I use some of Project SAM and Native Instruments.
That’s a really impressive setup! What instruments do you actually play?
As I already said, I play the piano academically but I also play guitar, bass and drums in a completely self-taught. I started playing the guitar at the age of 14 or 15 getting some advices from friends and family guitarists and then I had to work hard to have the minimum level to make my small recordings. The easiest way for me to learn the different positions was playing over “Iron Maiden” songs and other Heavy Metal bands. I think to get the chords and melodies by ear is the best way to learn an instrument by yourself, based on hard work and dedication. For me it was a funny learning stage. I started with bass guitar about 2 or 3 years ago but the truth is I still have to practice a lot. I started with drums about 8 years ago but my learning process was very irregular because to play that instrument I had to go to my rehearsal room and borrow the instrument of a friend, which was a quite uncomfortable. But step by step I refined my technique and one can say that I have a “user level” now. I also studied violin for 3 years with a teacher. It was 15 years ago but I don’t remember anything about it because I didn’t continue practicing.
What is your favorite music genre?
Progressive rock, metal and orchestral music. I’ll be more specific. Within the metal, my favorite sub-style is the progressive metal. In fact, I have a progressive metal band with which I composed and released a conceptual album last year, Ipsilon (if you are curious go into Google: “Las Crónicas de Enki Ipsilon” and you can listen to the album through Bandcamp or Spotify, but it’s in Spanish). As reference bands I can name Dream Theater, Ayreon, Pain of Salvation, Yes, ELP, and so on… As for orchestral music, in addition of great classics such as Beethoven or Wagner, I specifically like soundtracks. I love the soundtracks of the 80’s and 90’s, with massive and complex arrangements, but above all, with MELODY. I don’t like fashions and I’m not a big fan of the epic music which is fashionable now. To hear and compose this kind of music is a little boring for me but that doesn’t mean I don’t do it as the market demand and one has to adapt to what customers and the public wants. In fact I’ve lately won some money composing of this style. My favorite composers are John Williams (a.k.a. God), Danny Elfman, Alan Silvestri, Michael Giacchino, Ennio Morricone, Alan Menken and the Spanish composer Roque Baños, to name only a few of them.
What’s your process in writing and composing a new song? How do you start something from scratch?
Each production is different and I have several ways of composing, depending on the style. If it’s pop or rock, I usually start testing guitar ideas and from there I build the rest of the arrangement. I have sometimes the structure clearly in my mind and, first, I record a badly performed draft, which serves as a template to build the definitive arrangements. When I haven’t got the structure clearly in my mind I try with different things and develop it on the fly. For example, for orchestral productions I usually start with a basic and general piano arrangement as well as template. That allows me to have a clear idea of the structure of the song and then I can build comfortably arrangements of different instruments. Sometimes I just make unstructured arrangements without knowing what will come next. This is a kamikaze way which is sometimes good but mainly it’s not as easy as to get to a dead end. I prefer to have a previous overview and then concentrate on the details. As for the musical ideas themselves, or what one might call the inspiration, most of it comes when you least expect it. By statistics, the best ideas often occur to me under the shower, on walking through the hallway of my flat, when I cook and when I’m walking down the street. In such cases I always have at hand my phone where I record at once all ideas that comes into my mind, as simple they may seem. If I’m on the street I get into an ATM or an entrance of block of flats, then I put myself in a corner and I start humming next to my cell. People look at me like if I were crazy. It’s really great!
Awesome description of your processes! That humming part is something that many of us can relate to. Next we’d like to know who are your key influencers? That is, producers, bands and musicians who inspire you the most.
There are two bands that have influenced me a lot in my career. They are Iron Maiden and Dream Theater. The first for its simplicity, but the effectiveness on building memorable and catchy melodies. They always use the same chords, but combined in different ways and with different melodies and rhythms, something similar to what The Beatles did. Dream Theater is a totally opposite case (though obviously they also make melodies and chord progressions spectacularly well resolved). Dream Theater meant for me to broaden my horizons regarding the grid or timing of conventional music. I discovered the odd time signatures and I also learned a lot from them in terms of harmony. I love the variety and richness of musical resources wich they have. They are geniuses, prodigious musicians and very virtuous. I love the technique that they play their instruments and songwriting with good melodies but also extremely complex arrangements. On the other hand, in terms of orchestral music I prefer the giant figure of Beethoven, is the greatest composer for me of all times, and in cinematic music I love master John Williams, who is not in this galaxy. He is simply overwhelming and his arrangements are incredible. His music is quite memorable and catchy, which I love. And his way of expressing and contributing to the narrative on the films is just masterful. The word “genius” isn’t great enough of defining Williams. All the artists that I have mentioned have influenced me somehow, though of course I can’t approach not even a fraction of the level of these musicians. I’m far off to get near them not in 10 lives. There’s still so much more to learn.
We think that you can be there (on the skill level of your idols) sooner than you can imagine. By the way, has Audiodraft been helpful to your music career? How has your success on Audiodraft motivated you in your music career?
Definitely, Audiodraft is helping me a lot in my career. I’m learning a lot about the process of composition participating in contests. Thanks to Audiodraft I achieved to compose music for important TV series, documentaries and videos of big companies. This is still very useful for my curriculum (and for my pocket too!). Besides, the merit is double since to achieve this I had to compete with other Audiodraft composers, which are really talented. Sometimes the competition is hard and you have to invest a huge time and big effort in order to win a contest. It is very important to detect what a customer needs and get adapt to it. Sometimes one succeeds first and sometimes you have to make different versions up to what the customer is looking for. But often one can’t simply win because there are other users who do better compositions or what best suit the production itself. That’s the game. But a funny and rewarding game :).
Would you like to say something to the AudioDraft community?
Firstly I’d like to thank to all Audiodraft Team for their brilliant job and for this nice project. I do encourage all members of Audiodraft to participate in contests and fight for their music. What does concern myself, I think it’s important to be loyal to your own style and adapt it to different productions without losing your essence. I always try to participate in all contests as often I can, even if they are of a music style that I don’t control myself. When this happen it helps me to learn more even if I don’t win. If the song can’t win you can always upload it to the Audiodraft’s “Music Library”, you can use it to your own demos or sell it to another customer. So let’s go on composing!
Thanks for your time Jordi. We wish you good luck with your future compositions and projects.