Nu Epiq: Interview with Immediate Music’s President Yoav Goren
Nu Epiq is the fourth opus from the famous Trailerhead series, successfully launched in 2008 and devoted to the power and emotion of epic orchestral music. Produced by Yoav Goren, co-founder and President of Immediate Music, Nu Epiq is an album that redefines the epic music genre and takes it in new musical directions, resulting in a breathtaking musical journey.
Trailer Music News: Nu Epiq takes the epic music genre in new directions. How would you define epic music nowadays?
Yoav Goren: I think the genre, while being relatively young, is evolving – and expanding – rapidly. The foundation was laid decades ago by several great classical composers who established the orchestral/choral color for the genre. While Immediate embraced this style in our early days of producing epic music for use in trailers, we’ve also ventured into the hybridization of the orchestra with elements of heavy rock and synthesis. I think we’re at a point today of being able to disregard the actual instrument lineup and focus instead on the strong emotional content of a composition and its accompanying sound recording. New Epic music for me must paint a profound, emotional and cinematic picture with an inherent ability to build and blossom into an all-encompassing, bigger-than-life experience. All in a matter of three or four minutes… 🙂
TMN: Nu Epiq is based on tracks that were originally part of the Immediate Music catalog. How did you select these tracks? What was the creative process behind this genre defining album?
YG: Actually, Nu Epiq contains several tracks that are not part of the Immediate Music catalog – so there is a departure there in a sense from previous Trailerhead albums. Part of the selection process was indeed to compose new tracks that have not yet been heard. The other part of the selection process for me was to identify existing tracks which I could creatively amend and enhance with new writing and production. Except for one track on the album, all the songs went through a fun “re-imagining” of the original compositions. I dissected the tracks, did some creative editing, added new harmonic and rhythmic parts, vocals and other colors. I challenged myself to hear tracks I was very familiar with in a new way, and act upon my creative instincts to offer them up differently for those already familiar with some of these tracks.
I also purposefully wanted to blend a wide variety of epic music “subgenres”, in order to define my vision of Nu Epiq. So the selection process was initiated with the knowledge that this will be an album with a need to mix and match aggressive action, epic emotional, intense beauty and other flavors into a complete album listening experience.
TMN: What is the significant difference between Trailerhead: Nu Epiq and previous releases?
YG: I think that Trailerhead: Nu Epiq takes the genre beyond the safer definitions of how “trailer music” was presented in the previous three Trailerhead albums. While the approach on the previous albums was more of a compilation of trailer music hits, Nu Epiq seeks to go past the borders of that limitation and really try to present this as a bona fide music genre that need not be shackled to its association with motion picture advertising. I wanted to go from a narrow Trailer Music definition to a broader Epic Music statement with this release.
TMN: What goes into the production of this kind of album?
YG: There is a massive amount of work that is performed by many talented people in order to realize the final results of the recordings and the album. Obviously we start with the compositions by some great established and also up and coming composers. Besides my own works, I do work very closely with the composers in shaping, guiding, offering compositional suggestions – in order to bridge our collective visions for what we wish the final piece to be. The composition then goes through the process of orchestration for when we do our orchestral and choral recordings of the material. I do some of that work, but mostly collaborate with talented Hollywood orchestrators who know their craft so well. Attention to detail must also be paid when combining samples and synths parts with the orchestral sounds. There is a lot of experimentation happening during this phase of the production in order to find the most cohesive marriage of live and electronic instrumentation.
The live recording must be performed by a great orchestra in a great recording hall. That component has several moving parts – orchestra contractors, engineer, music prep and copying, good coffee at the right time… It really does take a team to effect success. Then, of course, comes the mixing process, which is where everything either comes together or falls apart. What I mean is, sometimes you realize you did not get the intended results when you sit in the mix room and listen to what’s been recorded (and what went through all the previous processes). If such is the case, changes to the composition, arrangements, scheduling of new recordings, etc. need to happen. But most times, the original creative vision closely matches what is represented by the raw recordings. The mixing process is extremely gratifying because of the breadth of creative options. Oftentimes, especially on Nu Epiq, I will take a finished mix, break out the stems, chop them up, reverse them, process them, mix them with other parts of the track from different locations, etc. This to me is almost another form of composition that adds another dimension of creativity in realizing the goal of presenting a final recording on an album. The DJ’ing of epic music!
Finally, the mastering process takes all the final mixes and makes them sound more or less consistent with each other as individual album cuts on a cohesive collection. This is also a fun part of the process, as the mixes often greatly improve sonically in this final chapter of the album production.
Additionally, there is working with the artist on the album cover and packaging, as well as devising a theme for the liner notes and general vibe of the CD layout (yes, there are still plenty of folks who wish to buy these). Then, importantly, comes the establishment of the album release date in order for a marketing plan to be devised and implemented.
TMN: Triumph was supposed to be the last Trailerhead album, and the third opus of a trilogy that recently turned into a tetralogy with the release of Nu Epiq. What made you change your mind? Can we expect a fifth album in the future?
YG: Wow, I learned a new word today… tetralogy. Thanks!
I came to realize that these albums were largely known as Trailerhead even more than the artist name Immediate, and that the series title enjoyed a strong branding with our fan base. I also thought that Nu Epiq needed an anchor to base its foundation upon, and sharing the torch from Trailerhead onto a new approach for the genre, while still connecting it to the artist (via the series title), made sense. Imperativa Records’ new distributor eOne also wished to roll out the entire Immediate-the-artist collection together, and thought that titling the new album with Trailerhead also made sense in being able to promote the Trailerhead back catalog.
At the end of the day, I kinda like the Trailerhead moniker and wasn’t ready to abandon it just yet J. And it is likely that the name will carry on for future releases.
TMN: Are there any updates regarding concerts in Europe?
YG: No updates at this time about performances in Europe. There always seems to be something in the works from various promoters and producers, but we have not been able to put together a show schedule to our liking. Stay tuned.
TMN: A new Globus album was also recently announced. Can you tell us more about it?
YG: The new Globus studio album is currently in the process of production. I take more time with Globus because it is a deeply personal project for me. It also has the additional layer of lyrics, and I work very hard and long to get it just right – for me. So it’s not just about the music composition, but also about the stories and messages that are being projected. There are currently more songs written than what will be on the album. As with previous albums, most of the songs springboard from existing Immediate recordings, but take on a whole new life when the band starts working with the material. One thing I will say about the next album is that I usually don’t like to repeat myself – so expect the Globus approach to composition and sound, but also expect a few surprises.
TMN: Anything else you would like to share with us?
YG: I just finished recording a new commercial release project for Immediate that has nothing to do with the Immediate Music catalog. You will start getting hints about this project very soon through social media. It will surprise you. The expected release is 4th quarter 2014. It’s gonna be epic…. 🙂
Nu Epiq is available to the public for purchase in digital format through iTunes, Amazon and Bandcamp, and as physical CD through Amazon and the Imperativa Records website. For further information, visit immediatemusic.com.
Featured image © Haik Katsikian