Sonicsmiths Discuss Their New Sound Design Creation Tool ‘The Foundry’ & More

We recently had a chance to sit down with Sonicsmiths, composed of Sam Estes and Michael Hobe, to discuss everything from their new sound design creation tool to where they think the composing world will be in 20 years.  Read the full interview here:

What #1 thing in your past work experiences prompted you to create this sound design creation tool, The Foundry?

Many of the projects we get called in for we have to replace sounds found in presets of other libraries. We wanted to create something that removes the entire “preset” model, but still allows users to get to the sound they want quickly.

How are you hoping The Foundry will change sound design?

We want the creativity of sound design back in the hands of the composer. We want composers to spend less time hunting around for presets, but instead give composers and other music creators a uniqueness to their sound by letting Foundry generate original content through our directed randomization engine: AARE.

How long has it taken you to create The Foundry?

We came up with the idea around Septemeber of 2014, and have been working on it since, so about 9 months. But we’ve been working on it in our “off” hours during our professional project schedule which included 5 Features, 2 Video Games, and a Network TV show.

Besides a new sound design creation tool, what new program or device would you like to see come out in the next two years?

We have several ideas for a new software synth, as well as a lot of audio-mangling plugins. A lot of this is still in the drawing board phase, but ultimately Sonicsmiths will be creating tools both for our private use as well as for commercial resale.

Sam, your soundtrack for the film ‘The Sheol Express’ was just released. How do you think the score for that film would have been different with The Foundry?

In Sheol – I spent about 10+ hours just in sound design alone, and this was for an acoustic orchestral score. With Foundry, I would have cut it down to about 10-30 min of designing sounds.

Currently what do you think the most difficult part of composing for different mediums such as tv, film or videogames is?

Uniqueness. It ultimately comes down to how unique can we create this score within the confines of time, budget and direction. With tools like The Foundry and other wonderful synths out there it’s not that hard to be unique with your sounds and using modern hybrid-orchestrational techniques to meld the organic and the synthetic world together.


What do you think the composing world will be like in 20 years?

20 years is a long time. Music largely changes when either technology gives different tools and methods, or some social/political change happens that starts a movement. If overall music is following current trends of racing to the bottom (from a financial perspective), we will probably see a rise of more “art” music, and music as a commodity will largely be automated.

Which film in the last 5 years do you think has had the best sound design?

We’d say it would be a toss up between Mad Max and Inception. The way Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL approached those scores has changed the way in which composers think about musical sound design in the hybrid score.

About Sonicsmiths

Sam Estes and Michael Hobe met while working at Remote Control Productions (2008-2012) and both left together to join the team at Cinesamples. During their tenure at Cinesamples (2012-2014) developing commercial libraries, they continued producing private sound design and samples for composers including Danny Elfman, Michael Giacchino, Junkie XL (Tom Holkenborg), and Christopher Lennertz. Sam and Michael left Cinesamples to form Sonicsmiths, a company dedicated to providing sound-design based soundtracks, unique sound design tools, and digital instruments.

You can learn more about Sonicsmiths at

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Jim Napier

Jim Napier

Jim has been a self-proclaimed super geek ever since he got his first computer all the way back in 1992– and he has been ‘plugged in’ ever since. Fed by a steady diet of movies as a kid, he has expanded to new platforms to fuel his inner geek! Movies continue to feed Jim’s creative side, while technology is constantly changing and creating new toys that woo and draw him in!