Meet the Team: 12 Questions With a Sound Designer
What’s your name and how long have you been working for BetterSleep ?
My name is Danil and I’ve been with BetterSleep for 3 years.
What is sound design ?
Sound design is the art or practice of creating sounds for mediums like cinema or video games. In our case, it’s used to craft sounds to help people relax and sleep better. Designing sounds can be done with the use of acoustic or electronic instruments.
What does a typical day at work look like?
My weeks vary, but I’m often working on different tasks so the work is never boring.
Beginning of the week: Administrative tasks, meetings with the team as well as freelance artists, and planning the rest of the week’s tasks.
Second half the week: Doing creative stuff with sounds! This involves composing music or mixing and mastering sounds for new releases. I have to ensure that all of our audio content is well prepared and ready to go with different teams for app integration. I also communicate with freelance musicians to make sure projects are advancing well.
How do you come up with new sound ideas ?
My main goal is to satisfy our users’ needs. When I come up with a sound or music, I ask myself, “Will this help a user relax or fall asleep?”
Many sounds are cool but don’t necessarily answer those needs. This is why before thinking about a sound, we directly ask the users what they want through emails, surveys, and of course social media. We also take direct requests.
In my time at BetterSleep I’ve been able to learn our users’ needs very well, including what they like, and what helps them the most.
The other way to come up with new sound ideas is to stay curious and see what other artists are making, as well as what’s popular on other apps and platforms.
Which element do you prefer as a sound base: water, wind, earth or fire?
Whether it’s sound or music, I like soft sounds. Soft sounds are static and continuous and pair well with other sounds. These soft sounds make great background noise, which is the real foundation of any mix.
How do you create or record sound?
I use microphones to record. We use specific microphones for different purposes like: nature recordings, 3D sounds, ASMR style recordings, and voice recording for meditations.
Particular sounds require particular microphones and environments. For example, a lake recording needs to capture all the subtle elements of the lake.
When I’m creating sounds on a computer, I use an analog synthesizer and build custom algorithms with machine learning. Machine learning helps build a big chunk of a composition before we adjust it, and the result is always a bit of a surprise. Our healing music collection was composed by machine learning.
What is the weirdest sound you recorded ?
ASMR is the weirdest, without a doubt. The recording process itself is what’s unique. ASMR requires finding the right material, room, proper ambiance and recording techniques. Capturing sounds for ASMR can be really challenging.
What is your favorite sound?
I love the sound of an analog synthesizer because it’s always warm and unpredictable.
What’s your favorite mix for sleep ?
I enjoy healing music and sci-fi sounds.
Which is your sleep animal (dolphin, bear, lion, wolf)?
I’m a Lion: I wake between 5:30am-6:00am. I’ll have a glass of water and then start working because that’s when I’m the most energized to approach big projects. My afternoons are for tasks like innovation, code adjustments, reading, and developing smart sounds. I usually go to sleep around 10pm.
Do you prefer guided meditations or bedtime stories?
I definitely prefer stories. I love following the quest and the development, and how sounds follow the storyline.
What type of sounds are harder to design?
ASMR & nature sounds are equally difficult. Creating a perfect ASMR sound means you need a specific microphone and a good space to record. This can be challenging, because the mic can pick up sounds of small movements and affect the recording.
Nature sounds all depend on location. You need to travel to places like lakes and waterfalls and you can’t control the environment once you’re there. It might be windy, or there may be people around. Recording 2 minutes of perfect nature sounds can take several hours.
The most difficult sounds are animal sounds. Aside from all the standard possible complications, the animal needs to be willing to perform. Sounds from dolphins, whales and tropical birds can’t be found in Canada so we have to work with sound designers elsewhere (like for Malaysian birds.)
Join us on a restful journey to sleep.
BetterSleep helps you fall asleep easily with soothing sounds, sleep meditations, bedtime stories, breathing exercises and much more.
Combine the different features and mix them together to create your own perfect sleep sanctuary!
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