RHYTHMUS: The Making Of

My name is David Naroth. I'm the founder of Naroth Audio. This year has been incredibly odd for many of us in good ways, bad ways, sideways.


I started out years ago assisting David Fleming (Blue Planet II, The Lion King 2020, Hillbilly Elegy) working at Remote Control Productions with him on Hans Zimmer's team. It was an incredible experience to have and from it I learned so much. During my time as an assistant, I was tasked with many things but one that I took immediate interest and truly enjoyed was creating instruments and sampling. It became a hobby that I brought home with me, learning not just the best ways to sample and record something, but how to code the instruments with features and functions that I thought were useful. After a few years of creating one off instruments for various movies or projects I had the idea of starting my own sampling company, but between working as an assistant as well as doing additional music on the show Chicago Fire, time was not something I had much of.

A few movies and a couple years later, I had moved out of the role of an assistant to be an Independent Composer. As you all know, everyone's lives had hit a brick wall the beginning of this year. Many shows were cut short, many people lost their jobs. I was fortunate enough to have had work to keep me busy and afloat, but I also found I had a lot more time on my hands. I picked up painting, gardening, learning a new language, amongst many other things. I've always had a huge interest in so many things, my wife usually is the one bringing me back to reality and keeping my focus in check. All of these things were a nice break from the constant strain to find a work-life balance as a composer, which at times can be difficult.


Almost out of the blue, my old idea of starting a sampling company began flooding my head. Rhythmus was barely even a concept at that point. I knew I wanted to start a library and I knew I wanted to do something different. I've always been drawn to music that feels raw and organic. I would say a few of my biggest inspirations musically are Radiohead, Olafur Arnalds, Max Richter, & Johan Johansson. I wanted my company to have that same sense of life, nature, and beauty all of them evoked in their music. I began toying around with finding music in everyday life. This was where the idea of Rhythmus was created. Rhythmus was to be a percussive library out of non traditional percussive sounds.


I began designing the instrument before I even recorded a single thing. This was probably the hardest, but most rewarding part of the process. I've dabbled in different coding languages in the past as well as KSP, Kontakt's Scripting language, but I would not consider myself an expert composer by any means. The instrument started out very small and basic, 4 little sequencers that worked nice and well. My ambition grew however, and with each feature that came into my head, so grew my eagerness to learn how to implement it and make it work. There were many times I would hit a wall thinking "it's broken, it won't work" or "I have no idea how to make this how I want it", but I didn't give up. I would look on forums, dig deep in the KSP manual, even as I was doing dishes or cleaning I'd be trying to figure out how it could be done. I think the harder something is the more rewarding it can be. Writing the code that finally worked was almost like a high.

I was finally satisfied where the instrument was and decided it was time to start populating it with sounds. My wife was about to lose it with me tapping on everything in the house, or in the store, or outside. It felt like EVERYTHING had some unique voice if you played it right. If time were not an issue, I would have sampled anything I could touch. I decided for this first library that 100 was enough.

During the sampling process, I paid careful attention to which samples would be used and which wouldn't. I carefully tried to craft each sound and its round robins to feel organic and not robotically perfect. This was a fun but tedious process. I would swap samples in and out until it felt right. After recording everything, implementing all the sounds, and polishing the instrument I finally had a chance to play with it. It felt as though I hadnt made it but was discovering what Rhythmus was as an outsider. Many of the different functions surprised me with their usefulness, such as the Shuffle sound tools. With 100 sounds and 4 Engines, there are 96 million different possibilities with ensembles. I would create a groove and sit there pressing shuffle over and over and each time be surprised at how different and unique these combinations could be. I'm truly happy with how Rhythmus has turned out.

This journey has been incredibly rewarding to see it to the end. I never would have thought I would be doing this a year ago and I'm incredibly excited to be releasing Rhythmus. I have so many ideas on what will be next in line at Naroth Audio and can't wait to share them with you! Thanks for taking the time to read this.