Such has been the success with their debut reverse instrument suite REV and the subsequent pulse engine SIGNAL in March this year, it’s difficult to believe that Output have only been around for less than two years. With a huge clutch of press awards, top rated reviews and user acclaim under their belts, the Output team have entered the ever-increasingly competitive world of audio production with a monumental bang and we can’t wait to see what else they’ve got up their sleeves.
We caught up with Brian Zarlenga, Output’s Director of Sales & Marketing, to get an insight into the company, its products and its ever growing loyal band of users.Hi Brian, first off, please tell us about the people behind Output and their music-related backgrounds.
We have been growing very fast over the last year and every employee we hire is a musician. Some do it for fun while others are professional producers, composers, musicians and DJs. It’s extremely important to us that everyone understands what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. Gregg, our Founder, is a producer and composer often balancing his day between running Output and scoring a TV show. John, our VP of Research & Development, is also a composer. Neil, our VP of Design, is a singer-songwriter and producer. I’m a drummer and Jay our Production and Support coordinator is a DJ and Producer. Music is a passion for all of us and it’s the core of the company.
So how did Output come about?
Our founder Gregg Lehrman has been a working producer and compser for amny years but also has a bit of background in product development. While making music he always felt an instrument based on reversed sounds would be incredbily useful. So he hired John Nye, out now VP of R&D who is a composer and very knowledgable in Kontakt, to help turn the idea into an actual instruemnt. As the development process began to take shape it was clear they had something very cool on their hands so Gregg hired a developer and Neil Halliman, our now VP of Design.
When the product launched in November 2013, Gregg wasn’t completely confident it would sell well so he hadn’t incorporated Output as a company yet. After one day of sales it was quite clear he needed to officially start Output and the company was born. A year-and-a-half later we have 10 employees and a second product.
It’s an increasingly competitive market out there, what do you feel makes Output stand out from other software instrument developers?
When looking at both REV and SIGNAL it’s quite clear that we’re on our own path. We want to create instruments that no one has thought to create and then of course do it better than anyone else ever would. And with every product our main goal is to help people be creative. We want to create tools that inspire creativity rather than simply generate cool sounds. Before moving forward we ask ourselves “will this product inspire, and will it help people be more creative.” If the answer is yes, we get started.
How would you describe your user base?
The vast majority of our customers are professional producers, composers, musicians and sound designers but since the release of SIGNAL we’re seeing more and more hobbyists, which is very exciting. There are so many music makers out there of all skill levels and our products are fun tools for all of them.
Where does the inspiration for new and upcoming products stem from?
Since we’re all musicians, producers and composers, we sit down as a group and brainstorm on products we would want ourselves. Together we’re a great focus group since we all have diverse musical backgrounds. We ask ourselves, “what would be a great tool that would improve our music and doesn’t currently exist”. It’s a fun approach.
Your first product –REV – was one of the bestselling Kontakt library products of 2014 which is an outstanding achievement given the number of Kontakt products released each year. Why do you think REV received such an incredible response?
Throughout the last few years it seems like a new synth is released every month. When REV came to market it was unlike anything else. I think it was that simple. In a sea of similar products, REV was new, fresh, very practical and has the modern sound that everyone is after.
Then, along came the dedicated Pulse Engine SIGNAL in March, tell us more about that.
We started developing SIGNAL even before REV was released. Gregg, Neil and John had the idea for quite some time and started chipping away at it roughly a year and a half before it was released. SIGNAL is quite possibly the most powerful and sophisticated Kontakt instrument on the market so it took a significant amount of time. We had our developers push Kontakt to the absolute max. In the end over 70 people worked on it from developers to graphic designers to sound designers, etc. It was a beast, and we believe that comes across in the product.
Once SIGNAL was in its final stages we knew we had something special on our hands. I think it was around the time Gregg started composing the music for the SIGNAL Trailer Video that we realized what the instrument was truly capable of. It’s so fun and useful for just about every style of music.
Do you know of any well-known composers and producers that are using Output instruments?
Many of our customers are well known pros and we take a lot of pride in that. REV and SIGNAL are on some of the biggest albums and films of the last couple years, which is very exciting. But we do protect their anonymity.
What’s been your proudest Output-related event or incident to date?
We’re extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished in a very short period of time. We only started 18 months ago and have two very popular products. It doesn’t get much better than that. But to pick out a specific moment, last year we won the Huffington Post Build-A-Business competition beating out 20,000 other companies from around the world. That was a huge honour and of course extremely exciting.
And finally, given the response to Output software to date, the users and press are no doubt very curious about what you guys have up your sleeves – can we expect more products from Output in 2015?
We have many exciting things in the works that we’re confident our users will enjoy. I don’t want to give anything away so we’ll leave it at that 🙂