Matija Strniša is a Berlin-based film score composer. His most recent work includes the score for the internationally successful South Korean feature film, House of Hummingbird, which won more than 50 film awards. Strniša’s score has garnered multiple award nominations including “Best Score” in the recent 2020 Grand Bell Awards, the South Korean equivalent of the Academy Awards. Lakeshore Records is set to release House of Hummingbird – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack digitally on June 26.
We chatted with Matija on how he uses the Prophet 12 in his music:
What made you choose the Prophet 12?
The Prophet 12 was my first hardware synth. At the time, I was looking for a synth that would be musically expressive but would at the same time offer a lot of possibilities for sound formation and modulation. With four oscillators, four LFOs, four envelopes, four delays and a very flexible modulation matrix, The Prophet 12 was definitely the perfect choice.
What I did not know at the time was how fast one can work with it to sculpt the sound. There is no doubt that that is one of the more important aspects of this synth and it has had a very positive influence on my creativity and creative process.
How are you using it?
I am using it in my studio, mostly for different film scoring projects. I have used it extensively while working on the score for the Korean feature film “House of Hummingbird.” It worked really well. I was able to sculpt organic sounds, which had a very tender and mellow feel to them. On the other side, I was able to transform those sounds into tense musical expressions involving a lot of girth and distortion.
What is one of your favorite things about it?
There are many things I like about the Prophet 12.
I very much like how the signal path starts with four digital oscillators, which can give restrained mellow feeling. But then further down the signal path, which is all completely analog, one has so many options to develop the sound into something that is anything but mellow.
What I especially like about it is that directly after the oscillator section, the signal hits the Character section, where one can put a lot of drive and girth into the sound, followed right after by the analog low-pass filter. At the end of the signal path – right before the sound leaves the synth – one again has the opportunity to bring analog distortion into the sound, on top of everything, as much distortion as one wants. I find it very useful and inspiring to work with two distortion units at the different stages of the signal path.
All in all, I find it fascinating how one can create very aggressive sounds full of distortion, but at the same time those sounds do not break; they remain expressive and emotional.
What does it give you that other synths might not?
It gives me a lot of freedom and flexibility while developing a sound, but on the other hand, it also has a very friendly and logical user interface. Since it is possible to try and change things with considerable speed, it makes one naturally more drawn to the sound development and experimentation with all the possibilities of the instrument.
Any interesting tricks or techniques you would like to share?
On the Prophet 12, there is not only a voltage controlled amplifier, but also two auxiliary envelope generators that are at one’s disposal.
So, one can use three oscillators, each amplified by a different envelope generator, while setting different delay values on each of the auxiliary envelopes. What is important with this approach is that all three envelopes also have the “envelope repeat” option on.
By pressing and holding different keys at different times, one can create a sort of “controlled randomness.”
Additionally, one can even – while holding the keys – change the delay values of the two auxiliary envelopes to bring even more movement into the sound.
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