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Inspiring Conversations with Azrul Saleh of Skybox Audio

Today we’d like to introduce you to Azrul Saleh.

Hi Azrul, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My interest in programming started 10 years ago when I took a video game scoring class in Berklee College of Music. We had an assignment to either write a piece of music for an existing game or design our own video game from scratch. I chose the latter. This sparked my obsession for programming and I’ve since learned numerous other languages, including Kontakt’s KSP and Arduino code.

I moved to LA after college. I had the pleasure of assisting Danny Dunlap, a composer, producer, arranger that specializes in music for TV commercials, radio jingles and film trailers. Danny and I bonded over the love of building things and we worked on countless electronic and programming projects.

One notable project involved building our very own piano sampling robot using a bunch of electronic components, 3D printing and Arduino programming. Our creation worked so well that it inspired us to become business partners and start our very own sample library. Our first product is called Hammers + Waves, which features 10 keyboard instruments that were sampled by a robot that we’ve built!

We aren’t stopping here, and am super excited to continue our passion in sampling and creating instruments that aid composers on their creative journeys.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
We’ve chosen an innovative path that no other sample library company has done before, which is building a one of a kind sampling robot to capture keyboard instruments with pinpoint accuracy. That alone comes with its own sets of challenges as there were no instructions or manuals to follow. There were lots of trials and errors in getting the robot to perform the way we want it to, and lots of time that went into testing and finetuning.

To me, the development stage is always a demanding yet rewarding process to go through, as the skybox team is motivated by the concept of shortening the distance between an idea’s inception and its realization. We just love making stuff! It’s the journey that makes the end product feel even more fulfilling and special, as we know we had put in so much time and effort into creating something we are proud of.

As you know, we’re big fans of Skybox Audio. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Skybox Audio is a sample library company that launched in July 2021. It was formed by Danny Dunlap, Dana Nielsen and myself. My role as audio programmer is in developing and programming software instruments for the company. I also spend a lot of time in handling a multitude of other responsibilities with my jack of all trades skill set. This ranges from website development to 3D rendering/photo editing.

I am fortunate to be working among many talented individuals here at skybox. We are a small team that share the same goal; striving to create unique products that inspire musical creativity and that are intuitive to use. During development, we always keep our users in mind and implement only practical features that enhance creative writing.

For instance, the graphical interface skybox Audio instruments comes with are purposefully minimalist in design. It aims to encourage musicians to tweak parameters and create their own unique custom sounds. On top of that, our instruments offer 16 levels of sample velocities and are edited using proprietary automation processes. This ensures the absolute highest quality of sound playback. I think that’s what sets our keyboard libraries apart, and why we are so proud of the Hammers + Waves launch.

Do you any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
I had a lot of hours dedicated to video games, and figuring out how they work. When I was six, I remember having my first “a-ha!” moment after solving a minesweeper puzzle by myself. Figuring out the logic to puzzles and understanding how computer programs work is enjoyable to me. My passion for making things and problem solving definitely comes from a love for video games.

Pricing:

  • Hammers + Waves – Complete ($576)
  • Hammers + Waves – Acoustic ($189)
  • Hammers + Waves – Chime ($129)
  • Hammers + Waves – Electric ($129)
  • Hammers + Waves – Complete ($129)

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