Getting Sonically Other-Worldly with Jürgen Branz
Social media has become an important place for artists to share their portfolios these days. Whether you’re promoting your visuals or music, the ability to instantly share your work with the world is now within everyone’s grasp. One creative who has been making full use of this power is German sound designer Jürgen Branz ,whose Instagram account is garnering a following for showcasing his ability to create sound textures to compliment the the striking visuals that they accompany. The otherworldly sounds that emanate from the Augsburg-based creative’s synthesizers have a remarkable ability to capture our aural consciousness, so mesmerising are his audio-visual collaborations with talented animators.
Wanting to explore his creative process, we caught up with Branz to learn more about his path into sound design and the personalities who have inspired him through sound.
Hi Jürgen, how’s 2021 been for you?
Quite exciting! I worked on a lot of super interesting and inspiring projects. Some were very challenging, and I feel like I made some huge progress in my craft as a sound designer.
What were your early memories of music?
My first CD was Ennio Morricone’s Time of Adventures. I remember listening to some tapes by The Beatles before that too.
How was your experience going into sound design?
It happened kind of serendipitously, actually. I had bought some synths as a hobby a couple of years before getting into sound design. Around five years ago, my friend and fabulous visual artist Vincent Schwenk asked if I could send him some sounds for his animations, and it ended up working very well. We began to experiment more with collaborations and soon were working on our first paid projects for clients together. It has been a very natural progression since then. About two years ago, I moved my stuff into a proper studio space and decided to go all-in with my energy and time.
What is your working process when it comes to designing sound?
My process is different for every project. Sometimes I start playing with one of my synths or the Eurorack; other times, I start by going through my field recordings. I bounce sounds from my Ableton [sound workstation] to my [recording] gear and back a lot.
What would you say is the most challenging part of your job?
Taking care of business decisions (such as budgeting) and dealing with creative blocks, especially when I’m starting out on a project. The ‘blank canvas’ syndrome is something I struggle with a lot.
If you have only to show one of your works to represent yourself as an artist, what would it be and why?
I think it would be the sound design for the project IMAT, which was a material exploration of visuals but also of audio. I love working with different textures and moods in one piece. And I love working with peers like Vincent Schwenk & Vitaly Grossmann.
What have been some of your proudest moments as an artist so far?
When clients and collaborators tell me that they love my work.
Who are some of the other artists or musicians that you look up to?
John Black of Cypher Audio and Ivan Llopis of Banjo Soundscapes are two sound designers/composers that I’m always very impressed with.
What can we expect from you in 2022?
A highlight of 2022 will be my appearance in the opera The Creation by Joseph Haydn at the Staatstheater Augsburg. I will be doing the live-looping and remixing of the orchestra and choir. Very exciting. Apart from that, I’ll be creating a lot more sound design for wicked visuals, I hope.
Tell us more about this playlist you have created for us.
I constantly feed a playlist called “cable management,” which is 17 hours long and contains a lot of my all-time favourites and recent finds. The Sound of Life playlist is an intuitive selection of that larger one.
Get immersed in the world of Jürgen Branz.
Cover Credit: Manuel Branz
Writer | Kevin Yeoh
When he isn’t making sure Sound of Life stories are published in a timely manner, Kevin enjoys wandering aimlessly in Kuala Lumpur city, going down the YouTube rabbit hole and discovering new music.