Keith Hillebrandt was brought on board the Nothing Collective after his Diffusion of Useful Noise sample CD caught the ears of Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor. After more than seven years of added experience, coming off the heels of developing sounds and remixing music for Nine Inch Nails and related projects, Hillebrandt has released a sequel of sorts to Diffusion of Useful Noise. The CD is packed to the brim with Mac AIFF files and Reason/Recycle REX Loop Definitions, as well as Emagic EXS instruments. The sounds are not your average sample CD sound clips - don't look for realistic sounding drums or string sections or breakbeats. This is noise - ranging from harsh to subtle, with everything in between. Rhythmic, ambient, spaced out, the longer clips are the kind of stuff that helps accentuate a track. The drum sounds could fit just as well in an Aphex Twin track as part of a Merzbow noise sculpture. Everything is highly processed, and surprisingly applicable to even a most straightforward song mix. I'm sure that in years to come, echoes of Useful Noise v2 will be heard in movie and television soundtracks as well.
Gearheads are probably wondering how these sounds were assembled and designed. "I do most of my work in the Mac, but I still end up using quite a bit of my external hardware. Logic has really been the rock of my setup, and my dependence of soft synths grows every day!" Keith explains. "My current favorites are Absynth, Kontact, EXS 24. I use both Battery and Reason for all of my drums and percussive loops. As for hardware, I still love the Nord Lead and Modular. I'm still using my ARP 2600 for processing audio. I got away from using it in New Orleans, so it's really exciting again to get tweaking with it!"
Despite the fact that any fan of Coil could probably put some of these loops on infinite repeat (with a shuffle here and there for a little variety), Keith's mostly been working on another sample CD with Jerome Dillon (titled Arhtyhmia, recently completed earlier this month) and mixing for some rappers in the LA area. "I have been working on some of my own tracks... I'm sure something will come from it, when I don't know. I guess you can say I'm searching for my voice right now, and staying sharp by working with other musicians." Hillebrandt has also been working on Dillon's Sedativ project.
So what's this about another sample CD, and original music by Jerome Dillon? "Well Jerome and I were always partners in crime with Nails and have always worked well together, so working together was a given once I moved out to LA. I came up with the idea to do a CD ROM together and he thought it would be a fun thing to do. So after I released Useful Noise we just dove in." Keith told us. "I think it will be a good follow up my CD ROM, because Jerome has such a unique approach to rhythm and while sonically it will have my fingerprints,it will be a lot different than UNv2."
There are many different types of music software available nowadays. We got right down to business with Keith, asking why create UN, what do you feel youre offering that currently lacks in the market? "Well I think Useful Noise v2 is a pretty fearless collection of sound. There are no rules when I come up with these sounds, and I think anyone who wants a bit of edge to there sound will love it," he replied. "I've found that there is a real lack of barrier breaking sound libraries out there right now. Most CD ROM/Soundware companies just seems to want to appeal to the lowest common denominator, and give their users as little support as possible. It's a shame really, because I'm sure people would really like more from what's offered these days." Nice!
Naturally, since this is a NIN Hotline interview, we squeezed in some questions like What did you take away from your time working at Nothing Studios? Keith obliged without hesitation, "Well I learned a lot about life while I was there but the biggest thing I learned was how to be a professional in that world. Many of the studio tricks I nicked from Trent, Alan or Dave have served me well."
In case you were wondering what sort of music Keith spins as of late, we asked him. "Well I've pretty much stopped listening to rock music, just listening to mainly electronic stuff these days. I've been addicted to Sasha's airdrawndagger CD for the last 6 months. I just can't stop listening to it! I've been listening to minimal tracks like Ritchie Hawtin and tweaky stuff like Oval, Alta Nova and Pansonic. Being back in California I feel like I'm around a lot more sources of new and interesting music."
I hesitate to post this because I feel as though in having heard Useful Noise v2 I know a neat trick that I'd love to keep to myself. It's the kind of feeling I got when I first tried out Rebirth or Reason - "This is going to be huge." I have this impending feeling that a lot of people are going to shell out the $99 for this CD and use it to spruce up their own tracks. I'd wager that a lot of people will make tracks primarily out of UsefulNoise samples and claim them as entirely original. Its an excellent, excellent collection of sounds, and a very nice addition to any sonic arsenal. For the $99 you also get access to online samples added by Keith - this collection grows larger every week! Definitely check it out
©2003 The NIN Hotline (www.theninhotline.net) Questions by Leviathant and WhitechapelMolly. Answers and photographs provided by Keith Hillebrandt. Do not reproduce without permission. It's easy enough to email us and ask, and there's no reason we wouldn't let you use this material. If however you do decide to snag this without asking, we ask that you please include appropriate credit.