Award-winning composer and sound designer with over 10 years experience in film and entertainment. Credited in over 25 short films, 5 feature films, various television and gaming, and hundreds of commercials, my work has appeared in Cannes, IDYLLWILD, the Syfy Channel, Superbowl 2016, Netflix, Hulu, Discovery Channel, and more.
My services include:
Original music to picture
String and Orchestral Arrangements
Post Production Sound Editing and Mixing
Sound Design (Sound effects, Foley, etc.)
Voiceover Recording and Editing
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Interview with Matthew Raetzel
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: As of late, I've only worked with vocalist Richard Farrell on SoundBetter, and I can't say enough nice things about him. Incredible soul/blues singer, fast turnaround time, and he provided a large set content to work with. Hire him!
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: I use both on a daily basis, they have so much to offer to eachother.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I want you to see/hear your project, and think to yourself "Wow, I made that?" I promise that I will do everything in my power to make sure you feel that way by the time you have those files in your inbox.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love getting up in the morning every day knowing that I have the freedom to do what I love most. Don't sell yourself short, and make the most of the time you have while you can!
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: A piano, a guitar, a box of strings, a hammer, and a chisel. You can't survive without the last two ;-)
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started playing guitar and drums around age 13, performing in local rock bands for 9 years following that. In the later years of performing live, I began taking an interest in scoring for film and sound design/mixing, and have been actively working on such projects for over 10 years now.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I would say my style is a nice blend of organic and synthetic. I love to utilize organic sounds, such as strings, bells, or natural textures, and interweave or layer them with technology to create new interesting tones. A few artists I sound similar to include Max Richter, Clint Mansell, Eskmo, and Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Hans Zimmer without a doubt. He reinvented the film music industry, I would love to learn more from him.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: LAYERS. They mean everything. If you think you're done with a track, you're not. Add more layers. It's much easier to eliminate later on in the process than to add. Now, when I say layers, I don't necessarily mean more musical elements. You can have 3-4 musical elements that will fill a track just fine. But production-wise, each of those musical elements need body and depth, and the only way to do that is to add the right sound elements to complete them.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I get hired a lot to work on film music, but I enjoy producing pop, rock/metal, indie, ambient, house, EDM, and others!
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Intuition. It's important to remember that we work in a business that's more about people than it is about music. And I feel I intuitively understand what people really want from their projects, even if they can't openly express it. Because of this, I work very well with others, and thrive in teamwork.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Body. I am told by peers and clients that I have a knack for making things sound huge.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: It always begins with a conversation about your vision for your project. I want as much information from you as possible, because I want to understand what you're trying to achieve, and not only help you achieve, but take your vision even further. Following that conversation, I like to have 1-2 days (up to a week depending on the overall scope of the project) to just sit down and experiment. Every film has a different voice, and sometimes it takes some time to find the right voice, even if the vision is clear. Once I have sketches that I think will best suit the project, I take them to you to discuss direction, possible ideas or changes stemming from those sketches, etc. I then work on a game plan that includes spotting the film, making a calendar of which cues need to be written each day, and determining the number of minutes needed to score each day. Once the music is completed, I have another conversation with you regarding revisions. After final approval, I mix and finalize every cue, edit the music into the film, and send final files to you. My process is similar for sound mixing and producing, although the turnaround time is much faster because there isn't any writing involved :-)
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I run my studio out of a historic house in my hometown of Detroit, MI. The upstairs level contains a live room and two control rooms. My personal control room is acoustically treated with custom-built absorbing and trapping designed specifically for the room. On the side wall is a custom vocal booth cabinet and a Neumann TLM 103 microphone for tracking. In the back is a series of stringed instruments, including acoustic guitars, mandolins, ukeleles, and a kora. My DAW is PC-based, running a Scarlett 18i8 into Cubase and Adobe Audition primarily for recording and mixing. Playback is running through a stereo pair of Genelec 8040B studio monitors and a 7040A subwoofer. For scoring, I own a wide range of virtual instruments and synthesizers, too many to list. My current hardware includes an Arturia Keylab 88 Controller, Moog Sub37, and the Roland System-1.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: That's a tough question, as I really do love all styles of music. But as a film composer, film music takes up a large portion of that list. Some of my favorites include Hans Zimmer, James Newton Howard, Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, Gregory Tripi, Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream, Max Richter, Clint Mansell, Muse, John Williams, The Black Keys, Tchaikovsky, Hozier, Ramin Djwadi, and Benjamin Wallfisch.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: In this day and age, I feel like every job I get to work on is unique in its own way, and it makes every day fulfilling and exciting. But if I had to narrow it down, I do quite a bit of sound design/mixing, especially for film, voice-over, and commercials. Many of the projects I work on lead to getting hired to score music to picture as well. It's a great process, and ends up being convenient for clients to have a one-stop shop for post audio and music.