Interview: Composer Eduardo Tarilonte on recording inspiring instruments and voices

Interview: Composer Eduardo Tarilonte on recording inspiring instruments and voices

Eduardo Tarilonte is a name that has become synonymous with high quality, unique virtual instruments. His critically acclaimed libraries include Forest Kingdom 2, ERA Medieval Legends and Shevannai Voices of Elves to name a few, each of which demonstrate the meticulous attention to detail that is clearly put into every aspect of each library’s production.

Last week, Tari’s latest library Cantus Gregorian Chants was released by Best Service, and, as announced at NAMM, we can also expect to see Altus The Voice of Renaissance within the next month.

We caught up with Tari to find out more about his career as virtual instrument creator, the work he puts into each library and in particular, the story behind Cantus…

Hi Tari, your sample library career originally started back in 2005 with the release of Bela D Media’s Anthology Celtic Wind, what were you doing before then?

I was composing and playing in some groups although my main goal was always composing for image, I never thought I would end up making sample libraries. I’ve been always a fan of virtual instruments, so when I had the chance, didn’t think twice. Nowadays, my composing side has been set aside. I have discovered that making sample libraries is as fulfilling as composing. Although at first glance developing sample libraries could look like a very technical thing, it is a truly creative task.

Forest Kingdom GUIWhat’s your favourite Eduardo Tarilonte virtual instrument to date and why?
That’s a hard question… Forest Kingdom and Era are probably my favourites, but now I should add Cantus to the list. Why those libraries:

Forest Kingdom is a totally magical library, full of amazing wind instruments, percussion and soundscapes. With the Forest Kingdom II upgrade it became even better. It is such a huge library full of magic.

ERA Medieval GUIEra, like Cantus, is a long awaited library, it was not an easy task finding so many ancient instruments and the right people to play them. The beauty of the instruments in Era is not only that they are from the middle ages/renaissance, it is also that they have been recorded with the playing techniques used in the early days. That’s why when you play them in your keyboard, you can travel to those ancient days.

Regarding Cantus, my response to the questions below will answer that one!

What inspires you to create such wonderful libraries? How do you decide what you will create next?

I try to think of my libraries as if they were a book or a movie, I don’t like thinking of sample libraries like just a bunch of useful samples. From the title, to the cover and the GUI, I like that every single element to be part of the whole story I want to tell in every library. Before deciding what I will record next, I try to imagine a whole sounding world to get inspired. Since I am a composer, I always think of what I would like to have in my sound palette.

Eduardo RecordingHow involved are you in the whole process of recording and creating your libraries?

I like to be involved in every part of the process. From the very beginning of the concept, till the end. I look for the musicians, the recording studio, I am in the whole recording process, I edit and map the samples, etc… It is just scripting and graphic design that I hire someone else. To me, this is the only way to ensure I will end up having exactly the kind of library I was expecting. It is slower, but in the end, you can notice it.

Once the library is finished, Best Service does the rest, a totally amazing job. So I can keep developing new sample libraries instead of thinking of distributing, advertising, etc.

How do you find the right people to play the more unusual instruments in your recording sessions?

This is probably one of the hardest tasks… a lot of internet research, phone calls… Since I have been playing live a lot in the past, I try to call old friends who could know the right musician for the project I am looking for. Sometimes the internet is very slow in terms of getting an answer, or even not being fooled by the quality of the player. It is just a matter of being patient and keep searching for the right musician. Some projects took me more than a year finding the musicians I exactly wanted. If you want a great sample library, not every player will do the job.

Cantus CoverCantus: Gregorian Chants has just been released, can you describe the library and the types of projects it would be most suitable for?

Cantus is a long awaited library. I have been dreaming of it for years, but has not been an easy task. I wanted to record the true monks sound, not just another choir pretending to sing Gregorian. I am absolutely happy with the result. If you close your eyes while playing the library, you can see the monks singing in an old abbey in a cold morning. The included wordbuilder is a really powerful tool. You have a lot of different possibilities that, blended with the 5 real legato vowels, will make you able to create absolutely realistic melodies. And talking about true legato, one of the details I put more attention to detail was that. Gregorian music has its own legato sound, called melisma. If you don’t use that legato, you won’t get the real sound.

Cantus Main GUICantus also offers 60 minutes of true Gregorian chants. 20 tracks split into 400 phrases. You can easily combine those pre recorded phrases with the wordbuilder and true legato.
Cantus can be used in many projects – from new age/techno like Enigma to many documentaries, tv series or movies like Da Vincis Code, The Borgias… you can also use Cantus like a regular male choir, but with a special sound.

Tell us about the choir you used for Cantus and how you found them.

The choir is “Schola Gregoriana Hispana”, a choir specialising in Gregorian music for 25 years. Francisco Javier Lara, the conductor, conducted the famous Monks of Silos in the past when they were internationally famous through his album “Chants”. In some years they sold about 10 million copies with EMI. Looking for such a great choir has been pretty hard. There are not so many Gregorian choirs out there, and just a few ones as good as “Schola Gregoriana Hispana”

Eduardo With The Choir

How long did the recording sessions take and what challenges, if any, did you face?

The recordings took about a week. I faced some challenges like choosing the right mix, the right articulations and what exactly to record. Vocals are the hardest instrument to sample without any doubt. There are so many ways to ruin the sound and the general feeling… that’s why it is so important choosing very carefully what has to be recorded. My main concern is always getting the exact sound in every recording session to ensure a sound coherence in the whole library. I am extremely picky about that.

Altus CoverAltus, The Voice of Renaissance, is also due for release soon, can you tell us more about that?

Altus is another special library. I sampled an amazing counter tenor, with a really unique tone. A counter tenor is a man that sings like a woman with an special technique. Altus offers a powerful wordbuilder and 5 true legato and portamento vowels.

Your latest releases including Shevannai have been developed for the Kontakt Player, but your previous libraries were created for use with Best Service Engine – what was the reason for this change?

The only reason for that change was the scripting capabilities of Kontakt. I needed much more flexibility than Engine could offer. Anyway I will keep developing libraries for Engine, which is growing and improving everyday. The new Engine version performance is just superb. I don’t think the platform is so important since it allows you to do what you want. Your client won’t ask you which sample player you used for your music. Sound is the only thing which matters.

Have any of your libraries to date been used within movie soundtracks? If so, which ones?

Yes, I am lucky enough to have been endorsed by composers like James Newton Howard, David Newman, Rupert Gregson Williams, Trevor Morris, etc. All of them used my libraries for some of their soundtracks. For example, Forest Kingdom has been featured in “Snow White and the Huntsman” by James Newton Howard and this year David Newman used a lot of their instruments in his new soundtrack for “Tarzan”.

Do you have time to create much of your own music outside of recording these instruments? If so, what styles of music do you most enjoy working on?

Unfortunately not… Lately I just compose some demos for my sample libraries. Developing libraries is a pretty time consuming task, but from my perspective, as creative as making music. My favourite styles are film music, world music and new age.

Eduardo TarilonteWhat’s been your proudest moment to date in your sample library career?

Every time a Hollywood composer has endorsed any of my libraries has been really a proud moment. Also when I learned that James Newton Howard used some Forest Kingdom soundscapes in “Snow White and the Huntsman” and of course when Hans Zimmer bought my first library.

Finally, are you able to give us any hints about what else we can expect from you in 2014?

I have planned some more unique vocal libraries. Sorry I cannot say anything yet. After that I have many things in my mind… not sure which one will go next. Let’s see…

Thank you Tari!

Thank you very much for your interview 🙂