Interview with Matthew Skopyk

Feb 03, 2011

How and why did you get involved in Design?
I always wanted to be the guy that played the organ and music at hockey games! I would practise at home as a child watching Hockey (on the TV) on mute, playing CDs and organ before face-offs. Obviously, playing music in plays was the next step in a natural progression!
Briefly describe your sound design process.
It’s so important for the design to reflect the momentum and gravity of the players and their situations. A palette can be built ahead of time, but it has to be fine-tuned and musically composed during the rehearsal process. This allows for, what I feel, is a truly organic result. The soundscape and the music become players in themselves as they respond to all subtle nuances created by the director and actors in the rehearsal process, which are almost always non-existent in script form.
How true is the final sound design to the ideas you have immediately after reading the play?
Some shows are more obvious than others upon the first read-through of the script. Others rely completely on actions and timings of actors, which cannot be determined until the week before opening. Rarely have I nailed a sound design in my mind on the first read.
Describe a memorable, funny, or cringe worthy experience as a sound designer.
Equipment failure! We’re always at the mercy of the ghosts in the machines!
What is something people would be surprised to learn about sound design?
Sound (more specifically music) activates more regions of your brain at any given moment than any other part of the theatre experience (speech, lighting, set, etc).
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I have one two-coloured eye!
Is there a style that defines your work or a signature – something that invariably shows up?
Quartet strings and droney synths!
Who or what are your biggest creative influences?
Arthur Russel (composer, cellist) – Amazing life, amazing talents, amazing mind.
What, in your opinion, is the greatest attribute a designer can have?
The ability to learn and grow with new technology. Tech is a good thing, not bad. It expands your palette and inevitably allows for a higher quality output on a lower budget.