Sound Designer, Composer and Co-Musical Director of The Swell, Nicola T. Chang, talks all things sound design and what the process was like composing for this production.
Nicola returns to the OT for the fourth time, having been the Sound Designer for Little Baby Jesus, The Tempest and Shakespeare Up Close. Her other theatre credits as Sound Designer include: For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets To Heavy and performing in STOMP (West End) and SIX The Musical (West End).
Nicola is a multi-faceted artist and we’re thrilled to offer you a glimpse into her creative process, and a link to Nicola’s carefully curated pre-show playlist for The Swell.
WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS LIKE?
I like to find a palette first – or the “range of possibilities” – in which to work from. I think doing a lot with very little makes the most exciting work! With The Swell, the assignment was “vocal score”, so every important musical element you hear in there is vocal – whether it’s melody, harmony or rhythm. I first brainstormed a playlist of all possibilities, ranging from madrigal music to collegiate a-cappella, to find the right and unique palette for the show.
The starting point of every track in the show was a simple vocal line – the shape (ascending/descending), the tempo, the patterns etc. And then embellished with other instruments and sound effects.