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Josh Hayes Starling Song Featured Image
Sam WillisOct 5, 2023 9:00:00 AM2 min read

Josh Hayes: A dBs graduate creating free sounds for film composers

dBs Institute graduate Josh Hayes has started making digital instruments for Decent Samples, a free-to-use, open-source sampler. We caught up with him to find out more.

Field recording can provide a rich vein of creativity for producers, sound designers and composers alike - they inject the personal and the real into music production or sound design, imbuing them with a sense of time, space and place. 

For Josh Hayes, a recent graduate of dBs Institute, field recording takes centre stage for his current project Starling Song - a free-to-use digital instrument for film composers and music producers which he's hosting on Decent Samples. It's part of a wider project that Josh has embarked on to create and sell digital instruments online. We caught up with him to find out more.

Hey Josh! When did you start working on this project and what inspired you to get started?

I started learning to program a Decent Samples instrument last year around November and soon after that, I produced some rough drafts. I stepped away for a few months and recently returned to update a few of the older libraries. Now is the time I feel was right to start releasing them. This first release is quite basic in terms of what you can now do in Decent sampler, so expect much larger and more complex instruments in the future!

Generally, what attracts you to the idea of creating instruments for sample libraries?

I just really enjoy creating my own playable instruments, I enjoy the process of recording, editing and creating the GUI. I can tell you exactly where I recorded these samples so it means a lot personally. There's something very rewarding about creating a playable synth or instrument.

Is there anything that you think makes this instrument unique?

Sonically, there are always going to be sample libraries that sound similar but I do think that Starling Song has a uniqueness to it. I recorded the starlings on a walk in the north of Devon, so in that regard, it is unique to that time and place. With future releases, there will be custom-made convolution reverbs and FXs so there are real possibilities for libraries to be unique.

Have you had any feedback from customers yet?

The sample size for feedback has been small so far, but what I have got back has been very positive. I would say that the first few libraries are basic and are single sounds with some FXs, but there will be much bigger releases in the future!

What are your plans for the future of this project?

Plans for the future are to keep making and releasing these instruments, along with some sample packs. I'm currently updating and finishing off older libraries to release in the near future, most for free and a couple for a small fee. I'm also working with a friend and old dBs colleague to create instruments together under the name Bedroom Soundworks, which is still in its infancy, but we're hoping to sell them on bigger platforms. We're both still doing this in our spare time and doing it as a passion project. It's been great to sink our teeth into a project and enjoy the process.

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