Happy New Year Presh Nation!
On our new year’s day special today, we have an award winning film composer and sound designer as our guest. The AMVCA winner takes us through the work of a sound designer and advises newbies to be open to learning. He’s the first of many this year and we had a very interesting conversation.
PRESH: Good day sir, can we meet you?
KOLADE MORAKINYO: My name is Kolade Morakinyo, a film composer and sound designer. I am also the creative head at Visus Sonic arts – a film audio post production company established about 3 years ago. Before then I functioned as the Agency producer at one of the top advertising agencies in Nigeria : LTC-JWT. I am an accomplished pianist. I enjoy quality film productions, great music and I am really passionate about empowering the younger generation with my knowledge and craft.
PRESH: What are the basics of what you do as a sound designer?
KOLADE MORAKINYO: I’d say it involves creating sounds, recording sounds, morphing and tweaking of existing sound using sound effect tools with the primary aim to telling a story.
PRESH: Tell us about your early days
KOLADE MORAKINYO: I was born and raised in Akure, Ondo state. Fortunately, my background in music started from my family. My Father exposed me to some good music fundamentals. Much later, I connected with a late friend Dapo Osewa who showed me the world of digital music production, from that point my interest in Audio production experienced a significant leap. At this time i was an undergraduate at the Federal University of Technology, Akure studying Mathematical sciences. After graduation I switched over to my passion – film sound. The transition wasn’t too difficult considering the amount of preparedness i have had before the opportunity to switch showed up.
PRESH: You’re the head of Visus Sonic arts, can you tell us about your team?
KOLADE MORAKINYO: My team is made up of young sound enthusiasts who work at different stages of audio post production. These duties involve background sound effects editing, sound effects editing, dialogue editing, foley and foley recording, film score, and mixing.
PRESH: Can you elaborate on these stages?
KOLADE MORAKINYO: Yes, background effects editing is the art of introducing realistic ambiances and environmental sounds. The aim of this process is to make give a scene the character it should exhibit. For example, a scene intended to be a busy market scene might have been shot with a few actors in it. Often times budget constraints limit the application of extras for that scene. Consequently, the scene appears very weak. A corresponding busy market ambiance/sound would then be recorded and used to either replace or layered into the soundtracks improve the liveliness of the market scene.
Sound effects editing has to do with working with existing sound effect libraries recorded by other specialised sound designers. These professionals take time to record explosions, gun shots and other hard effects that can not be replicated easily in a studio. An audio post production studio is required to acquire licenses from the sound effects library before any of these sounds can be used. These sound are then edited by sound effects editors to suit the purpose of their project.
Production dialogue is termed as dialogue recorded from a film location. It includes all the conversations and all the inevitable unwanted noise from a location. These sounds are captured by a location sound mixer. A dialogue editor would be required to remove all unwanted noise from his choice dialogue tracks, ensure these dialogues are audible and have uniform level of loudness.
Foley is an interesting art. I could say it is the art of performing an actors role all over again in order to capture other sounds other than the actor’s speech. It is also the art of recording props sounds. To name a few, these include sound from doors, shoes, cups, cloths, and body falls. These sounds when performed and recorded well can give life to a character. These recordings also add believable details to films.
Film scores are music cues carefully composed to tell stories by emphasizing the moods in a film. It would be very disturbing to hear a comedy soundtrack at a funeral scene.
Mixing is the final stage where all the aforementioned sound elements : foley, sound effects, background effects, dialogue tracks, music tracks are mixed together to make a wholesome experience for the viewer.
PRESH: Wow such a handful, Do you think you get enough credit for all your efforts?
KOLADE MORAKINYO: It’s really a lot of work, and I would use this platform to commend every “lone wolf” Sound designer in Nollywood for being audacious and courageous enough to step into Nollywood’s field of film sound. Nevertheless I must not forget to acknowledge the fact that sound design in Nigeria is nothing close in quality to Hollywood standards. However, we keep doing everything we can to up our game, get more education and grow accordingly with the pace the industry is growing. So I do not think credits are very important for now. We simply want to get the Industry’s sound standards to where it should be.
PRESH: You were nominated at the AMVCA last time out as the best sound designer for the movie Tatu. A category which you won. Just how much work did you put into that particular movie
KOLADE MORAKINYO: All the nominees in the category did an amazing job. Tatu was a very interesting and challenging project. The director, Don Omope was a key factor in making it a success. I believe he had a clear idea of the sound he wanted for the film. We had several discussions regarding the project and i think our communication during the production was really clear and smooth. My other respected award winning partner on the project Pius Fatoke was the location sound mixer. His work was the foundation my sound design processes were built on. He ensured all location sound recordings were professionally recorded. If his delivery was bad there wouldn’t be any tangible sound for me to build on.
PRESH: Before you started Visus sonic arts you were at LTC-JWT, what was your role as the agency producer?
KOLADE MORAKINYO: I produced commercials for radio, Tv and print media. Radio commercial production usually involves hands-on production processes such as directing, sound recording editing and mixing of radio productions.
PRESH: What are your hobbies?
KOLADE MORAKINYO: I like video games and football. I am also a Liverpool fan. I enjoy listening to good music and watching thought provoking documentaries.
PRESH: Who’s your favorite musician?
KOLADE MORAKINYO: I have a couple of them: Herbie Hancock, Cory Henry, Jacob Collier, Junkie XL.
PRESH: What’s your take on the quality of Nigerian music?
KOLADE MORAKINYO: I think Nigerian music is doing quite well in terms of quality, and it keeps getting better. Also we have seen some interesting collaborations between Nigerian and other internarional artistes in the past few years.
PRESH: After getting married in 2016, you’re blessed with a beautiful wife and son, how have you managed family life and work?
KOLADE MORAKINYO: Well, i’ve had to adjust somehow to the changes, finding a balance between family and work. It comes with the package.😊 I am grateful to have a very supportive and understanding wife. Work is usually time demanding and it isn’t fixed like the usual 8am-5pm office routine. I am sure not all women can cope with that level of business
PRESH: Tell us about coming from a family that loves music. How did it influence your path being a keyboardist that you are?
KOLADE MORAKINYO: Well, it means we always had one reason or the other to listen to music, learn music and frequently participate in making music. I did a lot of church music growing up and through this period of time I met some crucial people who aided my music development.
PRESH: Have you thought of going into Music production?
KOLADE MORAKINYO: I think about it. However, I may not always have the time to manage music production and film sound.
PRESH: What other movie projects have you worked on?
KOLADE MORAKINYO: My recent projects include
Up North, Merry Men(Yoruba Demons), New money and Wedding Party 2
PRESH: These are top movies, well done. If you were not into sound designing today, what would you have been doing?
KOLADE MORAKINYO: Thank you. If i weren’t into sound design I’d most likely be into sports.
PRESH: What part of sports will you have been into
KOLADE MORAKINYO: It will definitely be football.
PRESH: What aspect? Coach, Player or media?
KOLADE MORAKINYO: A player or a Coach.
PRESH: What’s your working principle?
KOLADE MORAKINYO: Integrity, consistency, and reliability. These key principles have helped with retaining and keeping my clients satisfied and happy.
PRESH: Up North the movie just premiered recently have you been getting reviews yet on your work?
KOLADE MORAKINYO: I had been receiving reviews even while the project was still ongoing. We hardly get reviews from the usual cinema goers because our work is done when everything sounds natural or goes unnoticed as sound effects. We get more reviews and feedback from other film technicians. After the first premiere in Lagos there were several good comments from top film technicians regarding the sound for Up North.
PRESH: What other accomplishments are you proud of so far?
KOLADE MORAKINYO: It is hard to say. I love celebrating every little progress I make, but I don’t dwell on past successes just like I don’t dwell on past failures. Even before a goal has been achieved I already have a list of others goals to aim at. I really don’t believe in creating lofty goals, make little goals and take it one step at a time. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very good to have a shelf of accomplishments but I would prefer working towards being significant.
PRESH: Any advice for prospective sound designers?
KOLADE MORAKINYO: They should know it is not always about money, and they should always be open to learning.
PRESH: Thank you so much for a very wonderful time out.
KOLADE MORAKINYO: You are welcome and thanks for having me.
PRESH: Peace ✌
Don’t jump steps, Don’t take 2 steps at a time. Each step is there for a reason. Set achievable goals and continue to improve on them. Also, importantly, make a resolve to follow your passion. Ire oo 🥂