YouTube-Borne, Multifaceted Success

BROOKLYN, NY—In some ways, Fall On Your Sword is a tricky entity to define: Is it a group of YouTube stars, a performing and recording band, a multi-media sonic art collective, a music production company or musicdriven video artists? The answer is all of the above, while also being—perhaps a little more prosaically—a full-service audio post production facility that recently opened a second room at its home base in Williamsburg.
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Foys second studio, The Foundry, is a 700-square-foot, Pro Tools-based room featuring an Avid S6 M40 console and a Martinsound MultiMAX EX surround monitor controller. Currently used in 7.1 surround mode, The Foundry is wired for eventual Dolby Atmos work. BROOKLYN, NY—In some ways, Fall On Your Sword is a tricky entity to define: Is it a group of YouTube stars, a performing and recording band, a multi-media sonic art collective, a music production company or music-driven video artists? The answer is all of the above, while also being—perhaps a little more prosaically—a full-service audio post production facility that recently opened a second room at its home base in Williamsburg.

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“Fall On Your Sword in its very earliest incarnation started out as a video art project,” explains UK-born Will Bates, a composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist and company founder. “It actually began with YouTube, making these crazy video mashups. As a result of the YouTube successes I started performing these videos live. The whole time I was doing that, I was working at a much larger company, scoring commercials and smaller independent films. I left there, brought in Lucy [Alper, executive producer and Bates’ business partner], and started Fall On Your Sword as a company, springing out of the band and video art project.”

FOYS moved into its 2000-sq.-ft. facility in 2009. “We were fortunate enough to get what is probably the last bit of commercial real estate in Williamsburg,” says Bates

“At the time, it didn’t feel like there were many business here aside from your standard retail,” says Alper. “So we were definitely worried that we would have trouble getting our clients over here.”

As things have turned out, Alper and Bates need not have been too worried about clients making the trek across the river to Williamsburg. Commercial clients have included Coca- Cola, Google, Nike and Siemens. As a composer, Bates has scored Going Clear, Alex Gibney’s documentary about Scientology; Another World, about the Occupy Wall Street movement; and numerous other long- and short-form projects, including Steve Jobs: Man in the Machine, also by Gibney, which debuts at SXSW.

“Having music production, mix, sound design, Foley and ADR all in one place—that was our business plan initially,” says Bates, “to be able to offer that to filmmakers, commercial directors and the like, for them to be able to get all of their audio done in one joint, essentially. We still do a lot of those kinds of projects, where we do the music, score, sound design, music supervision, the mix and everything, but we also separate those per-project as well. Where larger projects just want to mix here, and the score has been done elsewhere, we do that as well.”

The company has grown organically, starting out with The Forge, a 300-square-foot, 7.1-capable room centered on a Pro Tools 11 HD Native system driven by a D-Command. They built an office next to it, then more space became available down the hall, Bates recalls: “It has naturally progressed, and in a weird way has been dictated by the real estate that’s been available to us. We’re taking up New York one hallway at a time.”

Two years ago, they started planning and building The Foundry, which recently opened. The larger room, at 700-square feet, is also Pro Tools-based. Chris Harmaty of Audio Structures provided studio design.

The Foundry features an Avid S6 M40 console. “We were really talked into [the S6] by Avid,” says Bates. “Having looked at all the options, it seems like the most obvious choice for us. We have the D-Command in the other room, and obviously they stopped making that. I was sick of things being discontinued. So we have the S6—it’s somewhat future-proof, and we wanted the most recent piece of gear in there. We’re very happy with it.”

The S6, which is paired with a Martinsound MultiMAX EX surround monitor controller, will serve as a springboard for the next phase of The Foundry, he expects: “The room is currently being used as 7.1, but it’s wired for Atmos.”

As for plug-ins, he says, you name it and they’ve got it. “We have a lot of mixes come through here, which is wonderful—we love there being all sorts of different characters and traffic here—but one problem is that everyone has a different set of tools that they use. So we found that we just have to have everything.”

As The Foundry opened in mid- December, 2014, George Dellinger joined to manage both rooms. “We also have a number of full-time assistants, and a couple of engineers and designers and mixers who are in and out,” says Alper.

The building houses more than the audio post facility. “My wife is a painter,” says Bates. “Her studios are next door to the new room, so there’s a Fall On Your Sword art department now. She’s actively involved in creating the look of the place; we have a very specific aesthetic. The Forge, we were going for a nineteenth-century bordello feel. I feel like The Foundry is more of a 1920s gentlemen’s club.”

Interactive art pieces have largely replaced his live performances, says Bates, who last played at Sundance 2013. One interactive art installation, “Private Drive-In,” is a 1974 VW Beetle outfitted with a surround sound system. A new piece, “Greed Is Good,” debuting at New York’s Spring/Break Art Show in March 2015, features a giant sphere and spinning Champagne bottles with music and video by FOYS.

Fall On Your Sword

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