View Full Version : An Interview with ERIC PERSING: Questions from forum members invited

01-24-2003, 11:06 AM
We are pleased to announce our next guest in the series of GOS \"Meet the Artist\" Interviews: ERIC PERSING.


It is an honor to have one of Northern Sound\'s most notable contributors as our guest.
Eric Persing is considered one of the top designers of sound libraries in the world and his libraries are among the very best. Eric has pioneered the development of Virtual Instruments and is a legend in the sampling community.

\"It is almost impossible to go a day without hearing the work of Eric Persing. The thousands of original sounds he has created are used constantly by top composers and musicians from all over the world.

Persing is the founder of Spectrasonics, a company specializing in developing World Class sampled sound libraries on CD-ROM since 1994. He has produced over 25 of the industry\'s top selling titles. Eric\'s ground breaking Distorted Reality series of sample libraries are the best selling and most widely used collections in the world. Spectrasonics samples are used on thousands of major film, television, record and multimedia productions.

In addition to being the Creative Director of Spectrasonics, Eric has been a consultant and the Chief Sound Designer for Roland Corporation Japan since 1984, creating the key sounds for many popular Roland synthesizers, samplers, CD-ROMs, expansion boards, etc.

As a studio musician, producer and composer/arranger in Los Angeles, he has also contributed to numerous Grammy award winning albums and Acadamy award winning film scores, working with an eclectic group of artists including Marcus Miller, Sergio Mendes, Luther Vandross, Quincy Jones, Danny Elfman, Herbie Hancock, Riverdance, James Newton-Howard, Eddie Jobson, Michel Columbier, Diana Ross, Arif Mardin, Mezzoforte, Chaka Khan, Bette Midler, Roby Duke, Deniece Williams, The Katinas, Larry Carlton, Sandi Patti, Hans Zimmer, Leonard Cohen, Adam Cohen, Michael Jackson, Bon Jovi, Richard Souther, Randy Newman and Celine Dion, amongst many others.\"

We are now invitng questions for Eric from forum members. If you have any questions you would like to ask Eric about the sample libraries he has produced, the state of the art, projects he is working on, the future of sampling, about Virtual Instruments, the sampling business, or have any other questions; now is your opportunity to ask him. At the end of the questioning peroid, your questions will be presented to Eric and we will then post his response in interview form.

Please post your questions below or email them to me at gary@garritan.com. Once we gather your questions, they will be presented to Eric for his response. We will then post his answers in interview form here.

I anticipate this is going to be a very interesting, informative and captivating interview. Thanks Eric for you willingness to do this interview.

And thank you all for your participation,

Let the questions begin!
Maestro Gary

01-24-2003, 04:05 PM
Thanks for all the great sounds that everyone in the world uses images/icons/smile.gif

I have to say that alot of your work is an inspiration to how I approach sound design ideas and concepts on my own. I still go back to my Roland XP and laugh out loud at how somethings on that board are so simple but so effective, and not so obvious.

What\'s your background/schooling with regards to anything \"sound\", besides the credits you\'ve accumilated?

Whats the longest you\'ve ever spent developing one particular sound/soundscape?

Is it ever wierd to you that you\'re a sound \"god\" of sorts, to many you\'re associated with Linn, and Moog, and Vangelis and the like....except that no one can \"pigeon hole\" you to one sound/piece of hardware?

Is it wierd to you/does it bother you that there are a ton of people who don\'t know how much influence you\'ve had on music and sound today?
(you are a bit invisible to non sound geeks/sample geeks)

Do you actually pay attention to music and notice your sounds, or do you try and appreciate music without that sort of focus?

Have you noticed that you are one of the only people in the world that can be associated with music from all different formats?: From Feature Film to Porn, from PC Game, to Shareware, from Prog Rock Bands to New Age, from TV to \"on hold music\" for phone calls.

thanks man.

01-24-2003, 05:05 PM
Hey Eric,

I would also like to thank you for all of your sounds from the Roland days on images/icons/wink.gif .

I think King asked alot of the questions I had in mind. I\'d just like to know something simple. What kind of music are you digging lately? images/icons/cool.gif

Thanks for your time,


01-24-2003, 06:43 PM
I\'d like to throw out a few questions for the sound guru!

1. The quality of the Spectrasonics libaries are legendary. To what do you attribute that fact?

2. I have a feeling that your sounds make up a large part of many of the high-profile TV ads that you see on the major networks. Do you find that to be the case? How often do you notice your sounds being used in advertising?

3. With the high-quality virtual instruments (both sample-based and synthetic) and samplers, which if any of the popular synths do you predict will still be relevant or in-demand? Will we see Wavestations, SY-77s and JV-1080s in our local Goodwill stores soon? :-)

4. Do you have any \"back-pocket\" projects that you\'d like to share with us? What are the upcoming libraries from you?

5. Will we ever see an Eric Persing solo CD? ;-)

6. Which 5 albums do you find yourself going back to time after time for sonic/musical inspiration?



David Govett
01-24-2003, 08:05 PM
Hi Eric, Nice seeing you again at the NAMM show.

One of the things I find very refreshing (and a bit off topic but what the hell..) is that you reference your spiritual life on some of your products with thanks to various church friends and the almighty. It sounds like that is an important part of your life. (as it is mine) Keep up the good work and God bless.
David Govett

Tokyo Joe
01-25-2003, 12:14 AM

Many thanks for this opportunity to ask you some questions. I, like many others, have admired your work for a long time.

I\'m really interested in how you work and how you approach the art of sound design. Do you follow certain methods in producing new sounds? Or, do you imagine a sound and then try and realize it? Currently what is your favorite piece of gear with which you carve out new soundscapes? Finally, what can we expect to see from Spectrasonics in the next 12 months?

Thanks again for taking the time to answer all our questions.

Roman Beilharz
01-26-2003, 02:43 PM
Hi Eric,

thank you for providing such wonderful sounding products. Metamorphosis with GrooveControl is my personal favorite regarding rythmic tracks and loops, just for your records. Its a great source of inspiring and atmospherical loops, that always have a striking individuality without getting too much \"in the face\" while scoring. I use them a bit too often images/icons/wink.gif ...

It seems quite obvious, that more and more sample-creators are turning towards proprietary products like you did with e.g. Stylus, due to the fact, that the financial loss piracy is causing has grown endlessly. I would do the same, if I were creating samples. The problem is, that \"open\" standards such as Giga might potentially loose their content this way. As fas as I know, Tascam will integrate an authorization-system into Gigastudio 3.0 to give the sound suppliers better protection of their work. Do you think, that this will make the Giga-platform more attractive again for the sampling-people and save its future or are the good times of open formats about to vanish from sight?

Thank you for your time to answer all that and I wish you (and us!) many more fantastic ideas and visions for future products out of your hands!

Roman Beilharz

01-26-2003, 11:22 PM
Hi Eric,

I remember using many of the Roland sounds and had hopes of something better in terms of orchestral samples, and then the Giga came along, and now my JV1080 is collecting dust. Can you tell us in detail why Roland stopped producing orchestral samples?

Will you be producing new orchestral samples yourself? I sure hope so, because I don\'t believe that one can every have too many orchestral samples.

What was it like to work with Danny Elfman? Which film scores were you involved with? Can you give an example of a project that you had completed?

Have you met and/or worked with Steve Bartek? He is also a good composer, and yet he no one ever mentioned his work.

Thank you for your time,

D.H. Rottering

01-27-2003, 11:23 AM
Hi Eric,

I have been a fan of your sounds for many years -starting with Roland D50 which was just me (I like the big sound!)

Then I enjoyed JV-1080 + most of the expansion boards. Later I used Metamorphosis, liquid Drums, bass legends, Stylus, etc.

The fact is that you have helped me earn money on my music. Thanks!

I have one question:

After D-50 the D-20 and D110 was released. The sound was multitimbral- but worse..
Same thing happened after Korg Wavestation - the samples were less good for a long time.

Why did this happen? Why didn\'t we get a better multi timbral D-50?

And... will you please make a Korg Wavestation alike module? I loved this too....

01-27-2003, 01:29 PM
Many people on this forum (myself included) praise you for your work, and you definitely have earned that praise. The sounds/loops you come up with show an inspired individual, they show that there is a sincere love for what you are doing at the root.
I have come up with three questions for you.

The first question: from all the things you have done so far, what do you enjoy doing most?

The second question: what is most important to you in your life, what makes you tick?

The third question is really question 2b: how does your answer to the second question influence you in your work, your attitude towards life?

Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions.
I love your work, as many others do, so keep up the good work, and may God bless you and your family.


Scott Cairns
01-27-2003, 04:57 PM
Hi Eric, it\'s an honour to be able to talk to you!

I have two questions;

1. When designing sound for hardware (and perhaps software too,) do you have to pay attention to the limitations of the product you are working with? Does this impact on what you are creating?

2. Is there any possibility of releasing a vocal utility (like VOTA\'s) for SOV so that we could type words in and have the choir enunciate them?

Thanks for making such create products and hi from Australia! images/icons/smile.gif


01-27-2003, 08:36 PM
How do you organize your time to include your kids and other non-music related things in life? What does your wife think of your zeal and dedication for your work?

What,iother than music, is necessary in your life to make yourself a more open, responsive individual?

Love your work and spirit (what I\'ve seen of it, anyway)

01-28-2003, 06:55 AM
Hi Eric,

when I listened to those Backbeat demo\'s, I was really stunned about how great it sounded. The sound of the drums is among the best ones I ever heard. I especially like Goin on, Cops, Stop \'n Go, Coping and Bugaboo.
Since I\'m a drummer myself and I prefer to program my own drums, I\'d really like to know how you did that?! The sound has some kind of reverb or ambience to it that sounds great and isn\'t too present. The overall sound is just so clear and alive; you hear every note and it doesn\'t get too thick. Every instrument has it\'s own place and you can hear exactly what it plays.
Could share us some secrets of how you did that?? My mixes always tend to get I don\'t know, full? Or maybe some tips about what\'s a good place to start learning about this kind of stuff.


01-28-2003, 04:21 PM
Hello Mr. Persing!

Will you be in Frankfurt Musikmesse in march?

01-29-2003, 01:42 AM
Hi, Eric

Thank you for taking the time for this interview and for your always wonderful products, and best wishes for the future ones!

Is there a chance we will we see a jazz library from your hands?

What do you think is the most limiting factor in creating tommorows sample libs.?

Do you like \"new\" music? (Stockhausen, Boulez, Lutoslawski etc.)

David Abraham
01-30-2003, 07:26 PM
Hi Mr. Eric:

do you take product requests in interviews? :-)

How about a KEYBOARDS Virtual Instrument?

..you\'re an inspiration man.

-david abraham

Robert Kral
02-01-2003, 12:09 AM
Hi Eric!

It\'s been great to see you as part of the Northernsounds Forum. I hope as a sound developer you\'ve found it useful to communicate with us end users, as we really appreciate being able to communicate with you.

When Distorted Reality came out you made probably he first \"smash hit\" sample CD. EVERYONE just had to have it, NEEDED it, and enjoyed every single patch in the entire library.

Are there many (any) plans for you to develop sample libraries in the future (CD / DVD Roms)or is most of what you\'re planning going to be along the lines of Atmosphere etc.?

What product / project in terms of your work in sound libraries / software has excited you the most?

Are there any specific limitations of technology at this time that you would like to see a breakthrough on, or change if you could?

Are you a gigastudio user? (We\'re all really excited about your products as is, but I\'m just wondering are you ALSO a giga user?!)

Thanks for appearing on this Forum, it\'s been a wonderful blessing to have you around, and to be able to \"speak\" to you when we wish to.


02-05-2003, 07:48 PM
There is still time to present your questions to Eric Persing. We will be taking questions for Eric until this weekend and then the question period will be closed.After this weekend your questions will be presented to Eric and his answers posted soon thereafter.

Thanks again for your participation.

Gary Garritan

02-05-2003, 09:48 PM
Dear Eric,

What will music sound/look like 20 years from now? Where will the technology go from now? Whats your dream of a new and breaking technology?

Love - Chris

02-05-2003, 09:49 PM
Dear Eric,

What are your plans for future products and another question: If you have sparetime, what do you spend it on?

Love - Chris

02-06-2003, 01:37 PM
Hi Eric,

How are the new software instruments...Stylus, Atmosphere, and Trilogy performing on the new Macs? Are they OSX ready?

I could be mistaken, but I thought I once read a quote from you that implied that the faster PC\'s performed better with music plug-ins than Macs when used in real time...even dual-processor Macs. (this was before the newest G4\'s)

I\'m looking forward to getting all 3 of your software intruments, but am in limbo right now with OSX compatibility from a number of software makers...

What\'s the scoop with Spectrasonics and OSX?

02-06-2003, 01:41 PM
Hi Eric,

How are the new software instruments...Stylus, Atmosphere, and Trilogy performing on the new Macs? Are they OSX ready?

I could be mistaken, but I thought I once read a quote from you that implied that the faster PC\'s performed better with music plug-ins than Macs when used in real time...even dual-processor Macs. (this was before the newest G4\'s)

I\'m looking forward to getting all 3 of your software intruments, but am in limbo right now with OSX compatibility from a number of software makers...

What\'s the scoop with Spectrasonics and OSX?

02-07-2003, 12:36 AM

Will Symphony of Voices ever be released in Giga format? Is there any recorded sample data that has not been released?

02-07-2003, 02:54 AM
Hiya Eric, all that I want to ask has already been asked by someone else so no questions here...

Just wanted to say a big thank you for developing all these wonderful stuff, which not only have been of great inspiration for my music but also a very useful tool that made it possible for me to get my musical ideas down!!! images/icons/grin.gif Thanks and keep up the fantastic work!!!

Oh yah... Do you like noodles??? images/icons/grin.gif


THANKS AGAIN GARY!!! images/icons/grin.gif

02-07-2003, 10:53 AM
Thanks for taking your time, Eric. And thanks to Gary for setting it up.


I\'ve always been a fan of Spectraonics\' products, and I\'m wondering if you have any plans to do any orchestral libraries in the future? With your wealth of knowledge (and contacts) I\'m sure it could be an outstanding work of art. Of course the orchestral samples market is on the verge of becoming satiated, but as new products come, old products leave, to make space for the technology of the present time. Maybe it\'s unthinkable right now, but I\'m sure there will be a demand for more orchestral libraries, even with VSL and QLSO available... any chance you\'ll participate in this search of the perfect sampled orchestra? images/icons/smile.gif

Btw, the Distorted Reality series is truly legendary!

My main question to you is: how do you go about when you start designing a sound? Do you gather inspiration from anything specific or do you just start blending and tweaking sounds until it sounds wonderfully weird ? images/icons/smile.gif

Thanks for your time and may the future bring us more wonderful products from you and your team!


02-11-2003, 01:49 PM
Will Symphony of Voices ever be released as a VST!!??? :-) If I could upgrade from the akai I would get it!!! and if it was in giga as well!!


02-11-2003, 11:13 PM
The question period is now over and your questions will be presented to Eric for his responses.

Thanks all for those probing and interesting questions. I am anxious to read Eric\'s answers.

We\'ll keep you posted...

Gary Garritan

02-13-2003, 08:11 AM
Could you tell us how you made those Ambient Drum patches in DR1?

02-13-2003, 08:22 AM
Originally posted by Ed:
Could you tell us how you made those Ambient Drum patches in DR1? <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Doh! Didnt read the whole thread.... ah well