Sonic Fuel

Oct 1, 2012 9:00 AM, Mix, By Matt Hurwitz

CHRIS LENNERTZ/TIM WYNN

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Composer Christopher Lennertz, left, engineer/mixer Jeff Vaughn and composer Timothy Wynn listen to a playback through Sonic Fuel’s revamped Avid System 5 console.

Composer Christopher Lennertz, left, engineer/mixer Jeff Vaughn and composer Timothy Wynn listen to a playback through Sonic Fuel’s revamped Avid System 5 console.

Film and TV composer Christopher Lennertz wraps up a cello overdub for a recent project and then announces the next track, a guitar overdub. But instead of sorting through contact lists and contractor recommendations, he takes a shortcut: upstairs at his studio at Sonic Fuel to knock on the door of a colleague, Aaron Kaplan, also an accomplished studio guitarist, to ask him to play on the track. Much easier.

The approach isn’t one either he or partner Tim Wynn could have taken even a few months ago, prior to the June opening of their new facility in El Segundo. The new Sonic Fuel, unlike its predecessor in Marina del Rey, has nine composing rooms, mostly occupied by talented cohorts with whom they’ve crossed paths on previous projects. “This facility has enabled us to bring in other people who have their own specialties who are also able to rent the studio space,” Lennertz says. “We’re really able to help each other out.”

He and Wynn, who met while studying music at USC with the legendary Elmer Bernstein, founded the company 10 years ago, after working separately for five years alone at home. “We both realized we were sick of not talking to anybody, of being solitary. Plus, we would do sessions late at night, and that’s just not feasible with home and family life.”

The two then built their own studio in an industrial part of Marina del Rey, with space for two composing rooms and a 13x18-foot recording room. “We could get about 12 people in there,” says their longtime engineer/mixer, Jeff Vaughn. “It was sort of tight. It had a sound lock, so you could put a guy out in the hall and leave the door open, if you needed.”

Lennertz recorded seven seasons of score for the TV show Supernatural there, video games (including The Simpsons) and many other projects, as did Wynn, for nine years. But after three three-year leases, they decided to buy their own building and create an environment that would better fit their needs. “We wanted to make sure we had the space to do what we were really getting asked to do a lot, which was multi-stem 5.1 mixes for film, TV and video games,” Lennertz says.






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