Patrick Gill is an English cinematic composer for film, games, and trailers. He is best known for his film scores on the live action Capcom video game adaptions, Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist and Street Fighter: Resurrection.
We chatted with Patrick about how he’s using the Prophet ’08.
What made you choose the Prophet ’08?
“I have been a fan of the DSI sound forever, I just didn’t know it! Ever since I heard the original Terminator score and of course the quintessential Prophet 5 scores from a number of classic horror and John Carpenter movies from back in the 80s, it became inevitable that I’d someday buy a Prophet. As for choosing the Prophet ’08, I wanted an evolved modern version of a vintage Prophet synthesizer — which is exactly what I got. I needed a poly synth with an analog signal that had a dynamic, aggressive and edgy sound to fill that void. The Prophet ’08 was one of my very first love affairs with analog synths. I’ve owned others since that haven’t been used nearly as much by comparison.”
How are you using it?
“The Prophet ’08 has featured on virtually every soundtrack project I’ve worked on since I got it. It was all over the score to the live action video game adaption Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist. Whether it’s being used for sound design, thickening up an otherwise digital sounding mix, creating huge chainsaw-type sawtooth bass lines or dark, moody drones amongst the orchestra.
I’m continuously building custom presets with the synth. For Street Fighter I built an exclusive bank prior to composing the score. The story deals with opposing light and dark forces. It’s your classic Good versus Evil story, the Evil part of which was heavily voiced using the Prophet ’08. A factory preset even made its way into the score and became one of the signatures to highlight the presence of dark energy (“Dark Hado”). I don’t even think I tweaked it. On screen, as the larger-than-life character Akuma (played by the series director Joey Ansah) lurks from the shadows, you’ll hear creepy and grungy drones which were all created using the Prophet ’08. I used the Unison mode a lot to create the retro pulsing 8th bass lines in the more uplifting action cues, too (in Lake Run, for example).
This show was predominantly set in the 80s, so again the synth was the perfect choice for those vintage tones. It’s also being used right now for a new motion picture trailer album project and a fun little action short called Cible.
What’s one of your favorite things about it?
“Simply put, the ability to be able to create huge, rocking analog sounds. I can so easily get lost editing both A/B layers, modulating multiple LFOs, and stacking all the voices again with the unison mode. I still feel like I haven’t even scraped the surface with the possibilities, particularly with the 4 LFOs. It’s endless. Don’t be fooled by the size of this synth, the sound is huge. The pitch/mod wheel above the keys as opposed to the side is a nice touch. It’s also very light and mobile. It’s a little thing, but for me the ability to be able to switch the synth to a mono output in the global settings is a very handy feature. I love the VCA Level knob too, for auditioning while creating drones on the fly. With a little play time it really doesn’t take too long to become inspired. The Osc Slop is lush! Although I have my eye on a Prophet-6 that I believe takes that detuned vintage synth feature even further.”
What does it give you that other instruments might not?
“It has a unique and distinctively bright character that holds its own, even compared to other DSI synths I’ve heard. The signal is very dynamic and clean, especially in the mid/high registe). I’m not having to waste time EQ-ing a lot of the harsh noise and unwanted brittle-sounding frequencies that I hear in the vast majority of soft synths. The score producer of my last two projects, Gary Platts, has a particularly amazing PA (and set of ears, for that matter) and his mixes are so clear that the Prophet ’08 sounded incredible in the final result. I’m not an analog purist by any means, but due to its analog nature, the Prophet ’08 seriously cuts through in a mix, which creates a whole new dynamic. That’s a necessity for me. I feel every musician/synth enthusiast working in a predominantly digital realm should at least have one or two analog synths in their sonic armoury.”
Any interesting tricks or techniques you’d like to share?
“Well, I guess it depends on what you are trying to achieve. If I’m honest, it’s hard to give specifics since most of the time I’m trying to emulate what’s in my head, or tweaking until I hit upon a niche or interesting sound that’s different from the norm, which is something good to aim for! It may sound cliché but “trust your ears” and have fun with it. The Prophet ’08 is a musical playground. Through pure experimentation you’ll naturally gravitate toward the sounds you like. That’s how you find your voice.“