Sound Designer Spotlight: Kiestor
Hi Philip! You joined the AudioDraft community last February. Since then you’ve participated in 28 contests and won 6 contests. Congratulations! How did you find AudioDraft?
One day I heard the doorbell of my studio and as I opened the door I saw Philippos Gemelas (“man on the run”), who is a composer and friend of mine as well. We admire each others work. He asked me if and how quick I can compose under specific order and deadline, and when I answered positively he showed me AudioDraft and said: “Have a try to this one!”. That was it and some weeks after joining the community I decided to send some entries to every contest.
In AudioDraft you’re posting your compositions under name of “kiestor”? Is there a story behind that and are you using it somewhere else as well?
“Kiestor” was one of the basic ranks of the Byzantine Roman Empire. It means the “legislator”, the one who is responsible for law establishment and the application of law. I like very much the sound, the spelling and the history of the word.
It definitely sounds good. Would you describe your musical background a little bit? When did you start producing your own music? What is your main instrument?
My basic instrument is the accordion and I started composing my own music from the very first times I held this instrument. I studied piano and accordion at the “National” and “Apollonio Conservatory” and the organ at “Philippos Nakas Conservatory”. At the same time, I undertook studies in the Music Department of “South Eastern College” and “Music Composition for Theatre and Cinema”. I also hold diplomas in Singing, Harmony, Counterpoint and Fugue, as well as a Diploma in Composition with a grade of “Excellent Unanimously” and 1st Prize. I also have a Degree on Cultural Studies from the Greek Open University (2007) and a Masters Degree on the Architecture (N.T.U.A).
I have been awarded four First national Prizes for incidental music to images (Makemusic 2004 – 2005) and one National Prize in composition for orchestral music (I.E.K. OMIROS Private Educational Institute 2005).
Wow, that’s a really impressive resume! Who are your key influencers? Can you name any producers, bands or musicians who have inspired you the most
My basic influences are coming out of the classical music. Dmitri Shostakovich, Claude Debussy, Paul Hindemith are some of them. My favorite artists comes out from the rock music (Dire Straits, Mike Oldfield, Pink Floyd, Archive), and film scoring (Ennio Morricone, Nino Rota, Maurice Jarre, Vangelis, Vim Mertens, Eric Serra).
What kind of equipment are you using during your music creation process? Can you name your favourite pieces of music gear / software right now?
I believe I am not the one who would be preferred by the instrument and software companies. Maybe because of the reason that I am NEVER interested of the “what some machine can do” but of “I want this!”. That’s why I am not usually discovering all the features of my equipment, and there’s of plenty of equipment (as I anxiously collected those for all earlier years). I was working as a Yamaha Piano and Synth demonstrator for some years so I had to push all these machines one step before the cash table, and sometimes this demands full knowledge of every special feature and specification of the instrument. Anyway, I believe that many composers realize after hours of working that at the end of the day they’ve tried harder to fix a VCO filter or an envelope level for more mature and customized cellos than to improving the basic melody line, the harmony or even the whole form of their productions. I prefer to use real instruments whenever I can. So I match a set of high quality microphones (Neumann M149, Blue Blueberry, some Akg and AT), and lead them to a pair of Grace M101 microphone amplifiers and a custom tube stereo preamplifier that me and my friend have designed and produced after 3 years of experimenting and testing. I use the Soundcraft Spirit Studio 24 – 8 – 2 and RME 800 Fireface for converting. Because of the fact I hate plug in effects and compression I use a Powercore for my TC reverbs and Master X, and Focusrite Liquid Mix 32 for compression and EQs. When it comes to the keyboard hardware I use Yamaha S-90 piano synth, Yamaha PSR9000 Pro, Access virus and Roland D-50 that was my first synth. Nuendo 3 and Cubase 5 are the two main platforms I use for sequencing and audio recordings with some plug in instruments like Atmosphere, Edirol, Kontact, Halion etc. The mixes are finally listened with a pair of Focal Solo B6 and a Genelec 1030 speakers.
Thanks for so in-depth details about your production techniques! You’ve successfully participated in contests over all genre barriers. Which music genre is your favourite when you’re composing a music? What is usually your source of an inspiration when you’re starting a new project?
I got involved in film scoring and music for the theatre plays because theatre is one of the very special interests and it is an artform that gives the ability (sometimes the demand) to the composer to create music worlds in many and different genres. I am happy when a director comes to me and tells me that he needs something very special, very strange and possibly unknown to most of the people. After at least 22 years of working that way I really can not say that I prefer to compose in the one or the other genre, but I surely can say what I don’t… :).
I don’t believe in inspiration. I just think which elements I have to use, which not, and then I plan the form of the whole track. All this process takes place without touching the piano or any other instrument. It maybe takes hours and when I feel that I have the idea I just sit and write. That’s the way I have worked at least for the last 10 years.
What are your musical future plans?
There is a series of cd’s (4) for two of the greatest classics Greek poets. I wrote the background music for the recitation of those poems. At the same time I am recording a new cd which includes some rock tracks.
What do you think about AudioDraft? What are the best and the worst sides of it from your point of view?
I think that the creation of this community was a really great idea for everybody and this is usually very difficult. By that I mean that composers and sound designers feel here that there is at least a great opportunity for their work and if they win a contest. The experience is something that is very important. At the other hand I believe that every company that needs some tracks for their promotion would like to choose a track amongst many good entries composed for their specific demands.
Would you like to say something to the AudioDraft community? Have you been following any specific composer members there?
I think that AudioDraft is on a good way and this first year has taught you well for improving the service. Yes I am following some members on AudioDraft and I believe that their work is on a high level like Man on the run, ADHMusic, Rpujol, Mihaj Sorohan and others.
Thank you very much for your time, Philip!
The pleasure was all mines!
Kiestor on AudioDraft