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Messages - Vince DiCola

Thanks to Mixmaster for a nice review of our new DPI record.  I\'ll do my best to address each of your points:

- Travis gets full credit for the artwork on this one.  I really love the work he did, and he even came up with the CD and song titles for us in order to support a concept that has a very unified feel overall.  Great job, Travis!

- Stay tuned for some additional notes on this project.  We kept the liner notes very basic with the intention of posting some additional information here on the web site.  That should happen soon.

- I used 5 keyboards on this recording -
   ALESIS QS-7 (acoustic piano and various synth sounds)
   RHODES VK-1000 (organ)
   KURZWEIL K-2000 (synth sounds)
   ALESIS ANDROMEDA ANALOG SYNTH (analog synth colors)
   FENDER RHODES ELECTRIC PIANO (this belongs to Travis, and it needs to be
   mentioned that the sound he got for the one song we used it on (track 2)
   really helped that piece write itself!

- The synth used for that sound you mentioned on track 1 is my K-2000, and no, you cannot get that sound out of any ALESIS keyboard.  That is a custom sound I made by stacking a few of my other synths, sampling that stacked sound across the keyboard and then adding some of the KURZWEIL\'s own elements.  Of course just about any modern synth these days has the capability of helping a player/programmer get in an \'area\' soundwise for just about any sound you may want to try and go after, but that particular sound is one I worked very hard on for quite a long time.  The sound I used a sort of reference is Keith Emerson\'s YAMAHA GX-1 (the \'granddaddy\' to the CS-80).  My sound
was never meant to replicate - only \'pay homage\'!

- Regarding this group ever performing live, there are currently no plans but I personally would love to do that someday.  I think it could be quite an exciting journey to take an audience on with us.

I think I covered all your questions and comments.  Thanks again for the positive review.  (And by the way, I love the phrase "Jazz in a Modern Jacket" - very nice!)

To "Slayerunas",

I didn\'t have anything to do with the LION track on the Transformers soundtrack, and honestly I have no idea what ever became of that band.  Sorry I can\'t be of any help there.  Good luck.

Vince DiCola
Dear Soloist,

Regarding which CD\'s I\'d personally recommend to someone who likes my material from ROCKY IV, I suggest 2 for starters which are available here at tdrs music...  "In-VINCE-ible!" and "Falling Off a Clef".  Both feature quite a bit of soundtrack-related material (though "...Clef" leans a little heavier in that direction).  Half of "In-VINCE-ible!" consists of vocal tracks, but even some of that could fit well into the soundtrack genre.

Hope this helps.

Dear "soloist",

Thanks for your inquiry about the gear I used for my earlier film score work.  There was a TON of analog and digital gear used on the ROCKY IV score.  Most of the sounds were designed by my good friend (and synth programmer extrordinare) Casey Young, and most of the gear was Casey\'s as well.  I don\'t recall the complete list, but to the best of my recollection we used the following:

Moog Modular
EMU Modular
ROLAND Jupiter 8
YAMAHA TX-816 (8 DX-7\'s in a rack)
MOOG MiniMoog
PPG Wave
EMU Emulater 2
AKAI S-950
AKAI S-1000
ROLAND D-50 and (D-550)

We used a lot of external processing gear as well, like the Lexicon reverbs, Eventide Harmonizers, etc.

Your question about which synths today can get close to the sounds we made back then is a tricky one.  Some would say some of the newer gear closely replicates those sounds, but others maintain that it\'s simply not possible to expect a software synth to
have the \'fatness\' and \'punch\' the old hardware synths have.  I still use some of the older gear like the YAMAHA DX and TX stuff, Prophet VS and D-50.  I also use an ALESIS Andromeda (good analag synth), and a KURZWEIL K-2000 (very versatile and good-sounding sampler/player) in addition to some of the newer software units like ilio\'s "Atmosphere" & "Trilogy".  (For some of my recent movie score work, my partner Kenny Meriedeth and I made use of some of the new orchestral libraries, but that obviously gets away from actual synth sounds.)

The real tricks with synth pragramming are, a) tweaking the sound to sculpt it into whatever piece of music you\'re working on (I very rarely just call up a preset) and...  b) stacking instruments and getting each one to contribute vastly different elements of the overall sound.  Some programmers choose to stack similar sounds from different instruments, thereby creating the illusion of a \'bigger fatter sound\'.  There are certainly times to do this, but we haven\'t really used that technique very much.  As in acoustic orchestration, a lot of times less is more and you can often get a \'bigger\' sound by arranging the notes and putting sounds together in such a way that you end up with a huge and very effective sound with surprisingly few notes and sound sources.

Just as one example, a lot of the bass sounds we used were made up of one synth handling just the attack ("punch") element of the sound while another synth was used for the sustaining "warm and fat" part of the sound.  We mostly used  the modular synths for that stuff and I have yet to hear any software modular synths that come close.

Some of the current synth gear I would recommend looking into would be the YAMAHA Motif (great sound and quite versatile) and ilio\'s "Atmosphere" (fairly inexpensive but make sure you have a good computer system to use it on).  As far as piano and organ sounds go, I really like this new software piano program called "Ivory" (from a company called Synthogy... a division of ilio) and Native Instruments B4 organ program.  The authenticity of both these programs is very impressive.

OK, so ends Vince\'s "Synth Programming 101"!  Credit must go to my friend Casey Young for his extremely valuable guidance throughout the many years we\'ve worked together.  I hope I\'ve addressed your questions and thanks again for your interest.

Thanks again to all who continue to express interest in some work of mine from so long ago!

Specifically in response to the message that was posted on 12-11-05 from Illusion456...   Yes, I COULD re-record my material from "Rocky IV" and release it on my own, but this would be a major undertaking.  My partner Kenny Meriedeth and I are making a major presentation for the new Rocky film and I\'m hoping for us to be considered in some manner to participate in the music for this new movie.  Thinking ahead, if we are fortunate enough to be involved, I will then try and interest whatever record company is attached to the soundtrack in releasing my "Rocky IV" score in its original form.  There\'s a certain magic to the original versions that no one (including myself) could ever recreate.  We\'ll see what happens.

In response to DM\'s message from 1-4-06, the record versions were recorded as the film was in the early stages of production and the film versions had to be adapted to picture once the final footage was ready to score to.

Thanks again to all of you.  Please stay tuned here for updates on my possible involvement in Rocky VI, the new Transformers movie and/or any other projects I may be fortunate enough to participate in.

Hello Roger,

It\'s messages like yours that help keep up my enthusiasm for staying in the music business!  It is really encouraging when we as artists hear that our work has been inspirational to those in different parts of the world.  Thank you so much for your kind words.  I remain on the lookout for ways to make my ROCKY IV score available.  As I\'ve mentioned in the past, if that ever comes to pass I\'ll be sure and post a notification here.

Thanks again, Roger.

Hi George,

Thanks for your message and kind words.

Regarding your request for the specific pieces of music you mentioned, the ROCKY IV stuff should be fairly easy to locate since it was released officially on the original soundtrack (there was another compilation released years later called the "Rocky Story" and some of the pieces you mentioned appear on that collection as well).  Regarding Unicron\'s Theme from my TRANSFORMERS score, a company called BotCon released a version of that piece (as well as most of the remainder of my score) some years ago but I\'m pretty sure they\'ve been sold out for quite some time unfortunately.

I talked about gear elsewhere on this site so please refer to those posts for that information.

Hope this helps.  Thanks again.

I want to thank all who continue to show an interest in my work from the movie ROCKY IV.  Many have been asking if and when the instrumental material that wasn\'t included on the soundtrack album will ever be released.  The copyright to that material is owned and controlled by parties other than myself so there are some legal issues involved that have been preventing me from making it available on my own.  If I am ever lucky enough to clear these hurdles, I will be sure and post a notification here for those who may be interested.

Thanks again  to all who continue to have an interest in my earlier movie work.

Hi Karl,

Thanks for inquiring about "The Protoform Sessions" disc.  That is indeed one of the discs I\'m trying to reacquire from the company that orignally had it manufactured and has since gone bankrupt.  Travis and I have been discussing reissuing a few things on our own in one form or another and this disc is among them.  Stay tuned here for any updates.

I hope all is well and thanks for your continued interest.

Hello Meesum,

Good to hear from you.  Regarding ROCKY VI, at no time would I ever have said I\'m scoring a movie unless and until there\'s actually a deal signed.   I think what you may have heard me say at BotCon is something to the effect of hoping to be considered if this project ever gets off the ground.  I\'ve learned long ago not to count on anything until a deal is officially in writing (and even then things can still fall apart!).  The only thing I know at the moment regarding ROCKY VI is that the movie finally appears to be going into production, and there\'s already talk of Bill Conti (the composer of all the ROCKY movie scores except ROCKY IV) doing the music for this film.   However, as I said, things can and often do change.
I would still like to be considered for this project and plan to make Sylvester Stallone aware of that fact at the appropriate time through the appropriate channels.  Where it goes from there is anyone\'s guess, but I will be sure and keep everyone updated here if and when any additional information becomes available.

Thank you for your continued interest and support.

To johnny8ball,

Thanks for your inquiry regarding my original score to TRANSFORMERS...  THE MOVIE.  At this time there are no plans to make that material available as a download, but that could change at any time.  I would suggest checking in here from time to time for any updates.  Thanks for your interest in my score.

Dear Joseph,

Sounds like your son has great taste in music!   Regarding sheet music for "Training Montage", I\'m fairly certain none exists.  Someone somewhere may have done a transcription, but none that I personally authorized.  Sorry about that.  Good luck with the midi-to-sheet-music conversion if you decide to tackle that.  My experience with most of the current programs that claim to accomplish such a task is that it hasn\'t been quite perfected yet.  I\'d be curious to see the results if and when you pull it off.

Thanks, Joseph, and best of luck to your son with his musical pursuits.

Just wanted to thank Travis for tirelessly trying to hook up Buckethead and me for some type of future musical collaboration.  I was really pleased and surprised to get a message from BH on my home answering machine a few weeks ago.   We\'re trying to figure out the best and most productive way to bring this about.  Thanks to those of you who\'ve already expressed interest in the idea of a collaborative effort between BH and myself.  Hopefully we can make something happen soon.  Stay posted!

Thanks again to Travis for all his efforts.

Thanks to Niels for writing.

To offer a little background on my musical education and influences...  I started private piano lessons when I was about 5 years old and continued off and on until I was well into my teens.
I also studied percussion in my younger years, specifically in high school and college.  I went to Millersville State College in Pennsylvania and Towson Sate University in Maryland, though I did not complete my college education.  I was heavily influenced by some of the great progressive rock bands from the 1970\'s; specifically ELP and YES.  I\'ve always loved the marriage of rock, classical and jazz styles.  As far as my "playing style" goes, that\'s pretty well represented on the discs you have.  I would decribe my style as adventurous, melodic, thematic and rhythmical - with rock, jazz and classical overtones.

I\'ve covered my gear issues elsewhere on the forum, so please have a look for those postings.

Although I myself was a guest at several "BotCon" TRANSFORMERS conventions and always had a good time at those events, the friend of mine who headed those conventions no longer does so.  As a result, the convention in Chicago last year was most likely my last.  I met a lot of great fans and made some very nice friends at these events over the last several years, for which I\'m very grateful.  One never knows what the future holds, so I\'ll never say never!  As I mentoned elsehere on this forum, there is a new TF live action movie being produced, and it is currently scheduled to be released in July, 2007.  That\'s still a ways off, but I\'m hoping to be considered for being involved in the music for that film in some capacity.  Keep checking back here from time to time for any possible updates.

Thanks so much for the kind words, Niels.  I hope I\'ve addressed all the issues you inquired about.  Take care, Niels, and best wishes for your own success.


Hello Tim,

Just wanted to thank you for the kind words about our band PITY THE RICH.  Travis\'s production really added a lot (I still hear new things nearly every time I listen).

Regarding your "Artistic Transformations" request, I think plans are in the works to make some more CD\'s.  Keep checking here for updates.

Thanks again.