"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts' said Aristotle and for Sound Yeti that couldn't be truer. Each member of the Tennessee-based team brings a working background and experience that collectively has established a growing force to be reckoned with in the world of audio creation tools.
We welcomed Sound Yeti Kontakt tools to Time+Space back in May and so far the user feedback has been hugely positive. Here, co-founder John Scudder gives us the low down on the Sound Yeti story, and an unexpected exclusive product reveal to boot!
Hi John, so how was Sound Yeti first formed?
Like most small companies we have a story of humble beginnings. We started building soundboard apps for the Google Play app store and the emerging Kindle Fire app store. We managed to develop some #1 rated ringtone apps on these platforms and then branched out into making some sound effects libraries mostly for game developers.
Collin Scudder, Sound Yeti’s Chief Sound Designer, was freelancing doing custom sound design mostly for mobile/app games and video, Andrew Scudder, Sound Yeti Director of Product Development was freelancing doing commercial and music videos, I (John) was a Marketing Director at a technology company and worked for Emu-Systems back in the days of the SP-12 drum machine. It turns out that the founding trio shares deep roots in audio and video production and digital content development.
The Sound Yeti team (from L-R) John Scudder, Collin Scudder, Andrew Scudder, Brandon Shelly and Dave Hagen
The inspiration for starting Sound Yeti came out of the team’s work together at our sister company, Epic Stock Media - epicstockmedia.com. As Epic Stock Media sound effects libraries began to gain success in the marketplace we were looking for a way to diversify our product lines and solve some problems we were facing as digital content creators.
We became very interested in developing our own music/sound generating software because we were more and more aware of how difficult and expensive it was just to “find and acquire the right sounds” for our projects. In part, Sound Yeti was a way we could solve our own problems in sound design. We knew if we could solve the problem for ourselves, our solution would probably work for others.
We were continually struggling with finding the right tools and sounds to make our stuff awesome and at the same time, make it without going broke in the process. We thought, and this is the crazy part, “How hard can it be? Perhaps we can build some music software ourselves...” About a year later, Sound Yeti was born and we introduced our first music software product; Collision FX - Cinematic Scoring Tool.
What’s been the inspiration behind each product so far?
We have a couple of core motivations with every product we develop. Our software in part serves as a delivery system for our immense proprietary sound library we’ve developed over the last 7 years. For example the sounds in Method 1 came from our custom recorded library of over 250k drum and percussion samples and Collision FX and Ambition were built in part on using source sounds from our sound effects libraries sold under our Epic Stock Media brand - epicstockmedia.com.
"Creative types should feel empowered and confident to create something they would not have otherwise created."
For us, the best outcome from the use of our products is that audio creatives will be inspired when they use our plugins and sounds. Creative types should feel empowered and confident to create something they would not have otherwise created. If this happens at all, we’re having the right impact. Making products that have a strong influence on those that use them is a big part of our inspiration.
Ambition is your most recent release – how would you sum it up in one sentence and what makes it different from other products in the same category?
In one phrase it would have to be, “Picture Perfect Musical Expression.” Even in beta testing, when people played Ambition, their first comment was about how it inspires music composition for film/picture. It’s a musical instrument that you want to play and it’s a lot of fun too! We don’t talk about that much in our industry but musicians naturally like to use tools that are expressive, musical and fun to play.
What is your personal favourite Sound Yeti product and why?
I would have to say the most recent one, Ambition. It took a team of talented people to make Ambition a reality. It was a true collaborative effort over a year in the making and as a company we made our best effort to date in bridging the gap between our users and the development of our products. We worked much more closely with users/testers on this project.
What has been your biggest highlight since Sound Yeti was formed?
Two things come to mind as highlights. The first is probably more of a sign of maturity in the company in that, over the last year we are getting much much closer with the artists and users of our products. This means we all benefit from a solid feedback loop to shape our sounds and products. As an example too, we’ve just started the Sound Yeti Artist Endorsement Program to accentuate our work with professional musicians, producers and sound designers.
Secondly, and hopefully you’ve heard about it, in May of this year we launched the Sound Yeti 200k Music Plugin Giveaway - in support of musicians, composers, producers and music makers worldwide that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 30 days we gave away more than 1000 licenses of our music making software to winners in 38 different countries. This too was a big big boost for us being able to connect with the music making industry.
Which product was the hardest to produce and why?
Experience tells me that they are all the hardest while we are building them. We are a young company and still learning with each product we develop plus, we haven’t really repeated ourselves in product concepts either. So far each product has provided a unique set of design challenges. :-)
What are the challenges you tend to encounter these days as a virtual instrument developer?
As a small tech oriented business I imagine we have all the same challenges of other small businesses; resources, talent, budgets, marketing etc. I think the most important challenge for us is in insisting that our products have what we call “the inspiration factor.”
There are a lot of instruments available, but not many of them are inspiring to use or play. That’s a key to what we look for and to what we design. It’s a real challenge and one not easily met.
"We’ll be introducing a major update to Ambition. We haven’t really announced it yet, except here perhaps..."
Will there be more software from Sound Yeti this year?
We definitely have some inspiring new products on the horizon. This quarter we’ll be introducing a major update to Ambition. We haven’t really announced it yet, except here perhaps...
Exclusive GUI reveal of the forthcoming Ambition Update!
The update to Ambition will make it expandable with Ambition Expansion Sound Packs - the expansion packs are a set of all new source samples, sounds, presets/snapshots and multis.
We’ll be launching the first two expansion sound packs which were produced with sound designer, Rene Boscio. He did a fantastic job and based on feedback from beta testers, Ambition users will be absolutely thrilled with this new spectrum of sounds available for the instrument. We made no mention of expanding Ambition upon its release so the upgrade is going to make a lot of users super happy.
Thanks John, we love Ambition and can't wait to check these new expansions out!