Andrew Diey won the New Sound Designer scheme in 2006 - which gave him the chance to spend six months with BBC Manchester's award winning radio drama team.
What is a sound designer?
Radio drama would be nothing without the commitment of skilled sound designers. It's the incredible sound effects they create that bring the images to life and give depth and emotion for the listeners.
Sound effects have come a long way since coconut shells and thunder boards!
Find out more about Andrew and his latest work on his website radium° audio
Andrew enjoys designing sound for radio drama as the audio takes centre stage. He points out that in TV you can just end up matching the visuals that you see on the screen, but with radio you really are following the narrative and there are no pictures to fall back on.
With radio, you are painting a picture with the sound, a bit like cinema for the ears. It would be great to add additional channels so that we can broadcast in surround sound, enabling us to build an immersive sound world, where the listener is invited into the story and feels surrounded by the experience, that's the whole point of sound design...
It's not about whiz, bang, crash, it's about naturalistic sounds, setting the scene, putting people in that era. That's why I go out and record my own sounds from the natural world.
Winning the 2006 New Sound Designer scheme gave Andrew the chance to extend his existing skills in a radio drama environment and make contact with producers and directors within the BBC.
How did Andrew get into sound design?
Andrew's interest in sound design developed from his passion for electronic music. From the age of 18 he was experimenting with sound, creating tracks and making a name as a solo artist.
He went on to study music technology and electronic music with two years in Sweden at the Electronic Music Studio, further study in Manchester and a spell at IRCAM in Paris - a pioneering music research centre.
Since studying, Andrew has worked on many personal projects, produced several CD's and has performed across Europe.
His sound creation has been used by international clients for publications, marketing, manufactured and engineered products, broadcasts, entertainment products and many seminal works.
He has worked on over 22 PlayStation & Xbox games, and designed the interior sounds for Bentley's Continental GT car.
Andrew's experience as a sound designer
In his career as a sound designer, Andrew has gone to great lengths to record amazing sound effects. He's been down pot holes, in tanks, next to Jump Jet Harriers and even in abattoirs. He once had a very close shave when he was recording the sound of high voltage tesla coils and the electrical arc nearly hit his boom pole!
The sound designer spends much of his (or her) time listening to sound - at work, at home, on holiday - we are always tuning in to new sounds, analysing them into their component parts and then cataloguing them for potential use.
Collecting different sounds makes for an unusual and exciting job and Andrew loves the fact that no two days are the same.
What's he doing now?
Andrew continues to create music and sound effects for computer games, film, TV and radio, and he also researches and writes about sound design online.
He's just finished designing the sound and writing the music for 'In Denial', a BBC Radio 4 drama based on the true story of Paul Blackburn, jailed for 25 years before being acquitted.
Andrew used piano fragments and gentle tonal textures, interluded with the story and used the sound design to underpin certain emotive scenes. He explained: "It's a human story, so I didn't want to lead the music in a direction. It's important to follow the narrative."
Andrew, has been appointed as one of only two UK representatives to an EU funded, European networked research group looking into Sonic Interaction Design (SID).
Sonic Interaction Design is the use of sound to convey information, meaning and aesthetic or emotional qualities in interactive contexts. This includes sound branding (think of Intel or the Brian Eno composed Microsoft Windows start-up sounds). Andrew's new post in the research group will allow him to hone his craft even further.
There's no other place on the planet where I can rub shoulders with people that are not only researching an area that is going to be very important to sound in the future, but also to be able to bash out ideas with people who understand the parameters and specifications of what I do.
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