• Monday, Oct. 3, 2022
Music Notes
Oscar-winning sound designer Nicholas Becker joins Q Department for commercial representation
Nicholas Becker
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Nicolas Becker, a French sound designer for cinema and contemporary art, is now available for special commercial projects through music studio Q Department.

The internationally recognized sound designer received the Best Sound Oscar in 2021 for Sound of Metal directed and co-written by Darius Marder. The film tells the story of Ruben (Riz Ahmed), a drummer heavy metal who is losing his hearing little by little. Becker defends the idea of real integration of sound from a film’s genesis: “For me, a movie is a miniature utopia, where you can collaborate very closely, in a real intimate way, with people, to create fiction. And I think on Sound of Metal, you can feel that”. 

As a sound effects technician, Becker cut his teeth working on films like La Haine by Mathieu Kassovitz (1995), The Impossible (2012), Gravity by Alfonso Cuarón (2013), Ex Machina (2014), Arrival (2016), and Suspiria (2018) and has since applied his experimental sound research to cinema as a sound designer. More recently, Becker worked on Bardo, False Chronicle of Some Truths, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, presented at the Venice Film Festival in 2022. Becker has a slate of upcoming projects, most notably with Philippe Parreno, Patti Smith, Louis Vuitton, a sound installation at the MoMA in collaboration with Arca, and another with the Pinault Foundation to name a few.

Q Department founder Dražen Bošnjak pioneered a signature style, “music design,” where he blends music and sound design, creating an immersive experience that first catapulted Q Department onto the world stage. “Becker, like myself, is an avid sound field recordist. He is a master of his craft; it’s hard to define where his music and sound design begin and end,” said Bošnjak. 

“I only use personal recordings in my work, moments that I have recorded in the forest, at the seaside, or studio. When I work on a film, all these memories are flooding back and create something very emotional for me like a layering of memories and moods and emotions from my past,” said Becker. “Thanks to electronic music, we are integrating more elements into the vocabulary of sound. Our definition of music is expanding to include instruments, samples, field recordings, voiceovers, and archive. Twenty years ago, it was considered experimental, and now we accept it. “

Becker works in a specialized way that he collaborates with Hollywood directors, independent filmmakers, and commercial directors who have “an interest and a budget to devote to sound.” Q Department looks forward to bringing Becker’s unique sound vocabulary to the commercial world. 

“We are kindred spirits”, said Q Department CEO Jacqueline Bošnjak.

Q Department is a women-owned and led studio (Jacqueline Bošnjak, CEO and co-founder) with a global reach that includes operations in New York (headed by CCO Dražen Bošnjak), Los Angeles (headed by CD Zack Rice), and Paris (headed by sound designer JB Saint-Pol) and a new remote mix house (led by mixer Matt Orlando). Q Department produces sound for films, television, advertising, metaverse, location-based experience, and virtual reality. 

Q Department also works extensively in interactive sound, having produced over 100 VR and AR projects including Alien VR and The Martian VR for 20th Century Fox; OKAVANGO VR Series for National Geographic; Emmy-nominated Dear Angelica, Oculus; Passengers: Awakening VR for Sony Pictures Entertainment; Mr. Robot VR for FX Network; The Legion Mixed Reality Experience (with Microsoft Hololens), FX Network; Lockheed Martin’s The Mars VR Bus; and Emmy-nominated and Lumiere winner The Last Goodbye, VR documentary.

Most recent work includes the sold out ode to New York City, The Living Portrait of New York, an immersive experience produced by RadicalMedia and Ogilvy for Citizens Bank. 

Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Sundance, Venice Film Festival, and Tribeca Film Festival feature Q Department’s work regularly.

Q Department’s sound technology company Mach1 received a Lumiere Technology Award from Hollywood’s Advanced Imaging Society for its contribution to advancing spatial audio in immersive sound production.

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