Robert Dudzic came to the United States from Poland 25 years ago with empty pockets. Today he is one of the most in-demand sound designers and composers in the film industry. The producer, engineer, and musician has created libraries of music and explosive effects that are regularly heard on radio, television, and film. TRYNITY HD/FX and Cinema Sound Tools are two of his collections used by companies like iHeart Media, ABC Radio, and ESPN. His RAID library can be heard on movie trailers for Terminator: Genesis, Need For Speed, Batman v Superman, X-Men, Dr. Strange and many more. We caught up with Robert to discuss how he became one of the premier producers of cinematic sound, and how ROLI has helped him be more creative.
What projects are you currently working on?
Currently I am working on my next release with GROOVEWORX, a brand new RAID sound design album. This project is not officially released as of yet, but already has cuts placed in trailers for films such as Valerian, The Mummy, Transformers: The Last Knight — and many more.
Can you tell us a bit about your early days in the States?
I came to this country with big dreams, but the communication barrier (not knowing any English) and being completely broke made my path to success a long and difficult one. I learned my English from watching TV. For the first 12 years of my life in the United States, I worked 3 different jobs at the same time, saving money and learning everything I could about technology and computers.
How did you get into sound design and composing?
It all started with a phone call to the local radio station when I asked for a copy of a song I had just heard on the radio. The DJ was nice enough to invite me to the station to give me a tour of the studios. He realized that I had a lot of knowledge about gear and music, so he began to give me assignments to create new sounds that he would be able to use on the air. My reward was to hear my sounds on the radio while I was still working in the local grocery store. That was the moment I decided that I wanted to be a sound designer and composer, and would do anything I had to in order to make that dream become reality.
What do you aim for when creating a new sample library?
The goal when making a new library is to create something unique that has never been done before, whether it is the sounds themselves or how I approach processing them. I always want my work to stand out from the rest and have a signature sound.
Can you tell us about a typical sound design session?
The whole process begins far before I set up microphones or assemble my gear. I always spend time listening, studying, training my ear, and analyzing the market to figure out what kind of sounds haven’t been created yet. The next step is trying to capture that original sample, whether that’s within my studio space, the junkyard, or anywhere else I might have to travel to find that sound. Finally I bring my recordings back to my studio and begin the editing process, so that they have that big “Hollywood” sound.
What is one of the most interesting materials you’ve worked with?
I created a very unique instrument with a metal trash can, a spring, and a bass guitar string. With this instrument there seemed to be endless possibilities for new sounds — it had a unique resonance and metallic tonality. Some of the sounds from this session ended up being used in the new Dr. Strange trailer released in 2016.
The latest update to Strobe2 and its compatibility with the Seaboard RISE has completely changed the game. I’ve been able to explore new dimensions of the synth that I never thought possible.
The Seaboard RISE and BLOCKS have allowed me to find new levels of expression with my computer-based instruments that never would have been possible to achieve in the past. Previously, I would spends hours upon hours programming to achieve a human feel on the parts I was playing, and make them sound truly natural. The Seaboard RISE and BLOCKS have made that task a fluid part of my process, and allow me to focus on the creative aspects of the music. Examples of this can be found in my track “Diablo” which was used in a recent trailer for Batman v Superman, and also “Switch to Kill”, which can be heard in the most recent trailer for Call of Duty – Infinite Warfare Sabotage.
Can you describe what having 5D touch means for you in your field?
Having multi-dimensional control over the instruments I use allows me to achieve a unique performance every time I sit down to play. Because of this, I never repeat myself. Controlling multiple parameters with one touch or motion allows me to create feeling and emotion, and a very musical and natural performance.
What software are you using with your controllers?
My main DAW is Steinberg Cubase 9 Pro, in which I run both Equator and FXpansion’s Strobe2. For BLOCKS, I like to use as my main MIDI controller for my drum samples that I’ve loaded into Native Instruments Kontakt 5.
Can you tell us about your experiences using FXpansion’s Strobe2 with the Seaboard?
Absolutely mind-blowing! I have been a fan and user of Strobe for a very long time, but the latest update to Strobe2 along with its compatibility with the Seaboard RISE has completely changed the game. I have been able to explore new dimensions of the synth that I never thought possible. Strobe2 has the capability to become very aggressive and in-your-face, which is exactly what I am looking for in the majority of my sound design projects. But it can also sound very spacious and musical, with its ability to create life-like, inspiring soundscapes.
Do you have any suggestions for developing sound designers and composers?
Don’t follow the rules. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Trust your instincts and use your ears. And if you really want to be successful, never quit.