Contests 136111-004-C620AA83

Published on August 29th, 2012 | by Administrator

Pro Sound Effects Interview: Cow Hammer Throw Composer Bob Bell

Today we high­light one of our favorite runners-up from last month’s PSE Ani­mal Olympic Com­pe­ti­tion. Bob Bell’s “Cow Ham­mer” sub­mis­sion was a mixed bag of audio wizardry, dark humor and splat-tastic creativity.

What is your back­ground in, or rela­tion to sound design & audio pro­duc­tion?
I sup­pose I’m what you’d call a bed­room pro­ducer. I’ve dab­bled in elec­tronic music pro­duc­tion for around eight years though only got­ten seri­ously obsessed with it for the last two or three. Within the last year I’ve become more and more inter­ested in sound design out­side of a musi­cal con­text, too, and this is prob­a­bly the first non-musical piece I’ve ever put down, as opposed to just exper­i­ment­ing between mak­ing beats.

How did you see or hear about the competition?

Through Pro Sound Effects Interview: Cow Hammer Throw Composer Bob Bell

What made you come up with a Cow Toss?

Well the cow sounds were cho­sen at ran­dom, hon­estly. I was pretty pushed for time, as I’d only noticed the con­test about a week before the dead­line. And after see­ing how many sounds there were to choose from, I decided typ­ing in a ran­dom page num­ber and choos­ing from there was the way for­ward. Just my luck that—despite all the exotic rare ani­mals I could have picked—I end up with cows. I began to imag­ine var­i­ous ways in which a cow could be destroyed, becuse I don’t know about you but a cow’s moo sounds pretty dis­tressed. What could be more dis­tress­ing than being aware of your own immi­nent, messy destruc­tion, right? Or is that just me?!

Either way, I had var­i­ous ideas on how best to accom­plish this within an Olympic event and after set­tling for a vari­ant of what we know as the Ham­mer Throw, began to pic­ture in my head how an attempt would pan out. Things that stuck out were the crowd, a bionic arm needed to launch the cow, and the messy end. I also decided to sup­ply a com­men­tary to kind of guide you through what was hap­pen­ing, though I still wanted it kept to a minimum.

Did that idea evolve as you started design­ing?
I did con­tem­plate a few dif­fer­ent ways in which the cow was to meet its maker. I only found time to actu­ally do my entry the night before the orig­i­nal dead­line though, and decided it best to stick with the plan; I was also unsure how each untimely end would be judged… as I’m sure you’re now aware, I’m a sucker for real­ism. *Cough.*

I was fairly con­fi­dent with what had come out, for a change. Prob­a­bly the only major change I made was adding 10 sec­onds of crowd noise toward the end, as I only noticed you’d changed the rules as I was about to upload on the Fri­day and was wor­ried that at 19 sec­onds mine wouldn’t be considered!

Did you like any of the other submissions?

Yeah I lis­tened to a cou­ple, more so after­wards. There have been con­tests in the past where I’ve done some­thing I’m really pleased with, only to lis­ten to what some­one else has done and imme­di­ately scrap what I’ve got with­out even enter­ing. I was fairly con­fi­dent this time around, though there was a brief pan­icky moment where I let my nine-year-old daugh­ter lis­ten to it on the Sun­day while I tried to describe what it was about. She lis­tened and looked at me with a look I can only describe as ‘what the f*ck’ per­son­i­fied.  Did briefly won­der what I was think­ing but, well, here I am.

Obvi­ously Saro’s entry is pretty stand­out. It’s got some really solid sounds and it’s quite easy to imag­ine what’s going on. The Sono­labs one, as you’ve touched upon in your com­ments, does a good job of telling a story in just 20 sec­onds and also has a comedic Char­lie Brown phone call voice, which earns extra Kudos—as does the fact it reminds me of the old Ani­ma­lympics car­toon. So yeah, dou­ble Kudos!


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