UK based Composer, Guitarist and Mix Engineer. Works featured in many TV shows around the world. Specialist at laying in guitar into cinematic/orchestral arrangements and using guitar as a sound design instrument. Orchestral and Rock/Pop/Drama leaning.
Robert Hicks has over 15 years of experience as a media composer. Using collaborative and experimental processes he enjoys creating scores for TV and film projects—his music can regularly be heard on the BBC, National Geographic, Channel 4, ITV and MTV—as well as corporate clients such as Nike.
Every story is unique; Rob’s mission is to bring a story-driven approach to the craft of media scoring. By blending traditional orchestral instruments with the more contemporary sounds produced by guitars, analogue synths and outboard gear, he creates unique sonic textures which work in harmony with the visuals of great filmmakers to underpin and enhance each narrative. Rob has a geeky passion for exploring the power of musical layers to augment the emotive impact of the visuals.
Rob works from Radius Music Studio in Bristol (UK), where he also provides Mixing and Producing services. There, he indulges his three great loves of guitars, studio gear and roast potatoes.
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Interview with Robert Hicks
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Pete The Pond. A short, intimate film about a man who specialises in pond building in the UK. It was particularly brilliant to work on because the film became about him and his story.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: A orchestral/rock science album destined for a documentary about the James Webb Telescope
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: A combination though I lean towards digital so that I can edit whilst on the road
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: Fun to work with, professional, always working towards getting the most effective performance
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Creating something that didn't exist yesterday
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Can you make it sound like Hans Zimmer. Sure! I'll give it my best shot
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That I only do orchestral. I'm a guitarist first. I really love Rock and Pop and have a strong leaning towards Prog because I enjoy the brilliant technical performances.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Can you describe how you would like to sound and what emotional feeling are you looking to achieve
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Come ready with a couple of reference tracks and have a clear intention of the destination
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Ibanez JS Guitar, SSL UC1, MacBook Pro, Logic Pro, Spitfire Audio suite
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: A teenage hobbyist that turned into paid work for a TV show on ITV in the UK. That kick started my foray into composing and mixing over the last 15 years.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Emotional with elements of rock, often big pounding drums. Subtle guitar
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Olafur Arnalds because of his experimental approach, all about feeling an emotion.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Use a transient designer on the drum bus and spread things a little wider
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Orchestral, Classical, elements of Rock, Drama
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Finding melody, hooks and emotional connection
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: A sense of the whole, sometimes overseeing the entire project. Tapping into the emotional intention and bringing melody to the fore
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Regardless of composing or session guitar, I like to get a pallet of sounds together into a template. I refer strongly to reference material and in the intention of the customer. I generally like to sketch out a whole composition with one instrument (usually piano or guitar), once the structure is in place, I layer the instrumentation up. A similar approach is taken to mixing
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: A largely in the box system featuring a full suite of SSL tools, fabfilter, Soundtoys, Eventide, Spitfire Audio, Native Instruments. Running through Dynaudio monitoring I have a collection of contemporary and classic guitars featuring Fender and Ibanez models
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Steven Price, Olafur Arnalds, John Williams, Joe Satriani, Devin Townsend, Leprous, Andrew Scheps, Jake Jackson, Simon Rhodes
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Composing cues for TV and Cinematic work, recording guitar parts, sound design and mixing other composers works before the mastering stage