Hey fellow creators!
This week we had the pleasure of hanging out in the studio with trailer music composer Nick Road and got the opportunity to ask him a few questions. Nick is very well known in the trailer music scene but for those that don’t know, Nick Road is a trailer music composer based in Kyiv, Ukraine. He is best known for composing the music in trailers for Avengers: Infinity War, Black Widow, Falcon And Winter Soldier, Star Wars : Rise of the Skywalker, X-Men, Call of Duty: BlackOps, Wonder Woman, Blade Runner, Dunkirk, Deadpool , and more than 100+ big Hollywood campaigns.
Check out some of Nick's Work!
When did you start composing and who were your influences early on?
Hey! So I started creating trailer music 7 years ago. It was very new to me back then and I had never really done it before. But I did have a lot of experience in pop music from when I worked in Ukraines Got Talent and X-Factor Ukraine. So this helped me a bit to “jump” into the trailer industry.
One of the composers which I liked a lot is Ats Attila and his track Shredder. This is still relevant today and I’m still a big fan of it! Mark Petrie is also a very talented composer and someone who I’m sure is on the list of a lot of composers in this industry.
Where do you usually start when writing a cue and why?
Usually, I start from the biggest part, like the 3d act and climax. It’s easy to finish with the part where all instruments are coming together and then go back to the middle and intro with lower dynamics. I typically start with Hits , Booms and basses because it’s like building a skyscraper; you need a foundation first, and then adding all mid and hi frequency instruments. The main benefit from this technique is that you really know where you’re going to end up with your cue and how powerful your mix will be at the end. For me it’s a very good starting point.
What’s your favourite part of the process when creating a cue and why?
My favourite part of the process is definitely when I take a shower and sing the fun percussion track out loud; ( SSSTuf tuf Taaaaaaa , SSStuf tuf TADADADA). Then I turn on a recorder in my phone and sing this demo all the way through. Then later try to mimic it in the studio with real percussion. Really fun and I recommend trying it if you don’t already haha.
Check out the trailer for Tomb Raider!
Nicks music can be heard from 00:00 to 1:00
Trends are constantly changing in trailer music so are there any tips or processes you could give to help stay ahead of the curve?
Sometimes you are trying to follow the trends and sometimes you end up being the person who creates them. As for me – it’s better to create something different with a new vision or trend. Its so awesome when some of your sound design or music inspires the editors and you see that play out on screen. But for sure you should be ready and sharp to jump on any existing trends and make it even better. Looking at all the new trailers and tv spots always helps to feel out the wave.
What was that singular moment when you realized that going full-time was possible?
When I had a bit of a nest egg in savings and getting placements gave me the feeling that I could live the next few years without work at all. That was the point for me that I knew I was ready to go full time with trailer music. But it’s also very important to properly set your expectation because it is a lottery. Sometimes you are on top and sometimes someone else is. So you should always strive to be better and better with each cue. There isn’t really space to get too comfortable though because the industry is changing so fast.
If you want to learn more about Nick and his process or just want to say “what’s up” then you can reach him through the link below.
Thanks for hanging out!
– Shawn from Cinematic Tools