Whenever a new GDC begins, the week usually launches with a lot of standard industry buzz and hype, which is true for the industry overall, but also within each discipline. The game audio realm was no exception, and during the first day of GDC we started hearing all the latest in game audio hotness. There was the FMOD announcement, continued buzz over the GANG award nominees, and a LOT about Nashville. (read the rest of the article after the jump...)
"Nashville? The Grand Ol' Opry? Toby Keith...Billy Ray Cyrus?"
YES, the very same.
The west coast certainly has its general notions of Nashville planted in a country-music, HeeHaw stereotype, but for those who haven't visited Nashville, it's a "music city" in the most professional sense of that phrase. As Nashville studio owner/producer/engineer/composer (and GANG 2011 Distinguished Service Award winner) Dan Rudin likes to say "In Nashville, the guy who mows your lawn is a better guitar player than you will EVER be."
And this would include orchestral music in addition to salsa, swing, dixieland, bluegrass and of course, rock. The quality of musicians is exceptional, as Sony's Senior Music Manager, Clint Bajakian says "When we learned of Nashville our initial assessment of the musicianship there was very positive. The musicians play formidably and conduct themselves with the full professionalism we've come to expect in all our scoring venues. They work very fast, nailing even difficult material musically and efficiently."
Alan Umstead, of Nashville Music Scoring, is hired as a contractor and musician to work on several types of projects from Film scores to Game scores to records and jingles, and tries to explain to his clients the importance of looking at the TOTAL cost of recording PER MINUTE, rather than the musician's 'per hour' rate. "Many people think that they can save a lot of money by bringing their projects to Eastern Europe but many times they don’t realize that the total cost of recording overseas often is actually more expensive than recording in Nashville when you consider all of your costs. Simply add up all your costs when recording overseas and divide by the number of minutes recorded and you will see that we are often less expensive than European alternatives." Umstead cites the the plummeting dollar to euro ratio, the high quality of Nashville recording engineers, and the fact that the high caliber musicianship results in more music coverage per hour as compelling reasons to consider for your audio budget.
Regarding Sony's recent Nashville projects, Bajakian says, "We've very much enjoyed working at Nashville and the performances and recordings have been excellent. We've worked on a few different projects there, always at Ocean Way Nashville, a converted church that has a clean, well mannered reverb and an experienced, personable staff. They also put forward a positive attitude and clearly share with us the goal of having a great time as part of the work."
Speaking of the positive attitude, Rudin adds "One comment that is constant from all of my out of town clients (and they're all from out of town) is what incredibly great attitudes the Nashville musicians have. They not only show up on time and play great, but are always helpful and looking for ways they can make things better."