Raul Vega, the producer of Swiss and Lali Hijack Hollywood, is an LA based digital instrument builder, podcast creator and composer. For the past 10 years, he has collaborated with Hans Zimmer by crafting the musical instruments utilized to create the scores for Dune, No Time to Die, Interstellar, Wonder Woman 1984, Dunkirk.
In an exclusive interview with ProductionHUB Raul shares his experience on the series—highlighting the anatomy of one of his favorite episodes.
PH: Can you share your favorite episode to work on for Swiss and Lali?
Raul Vega: Every episode holds a special place in my ridiculous mind, but this three part finale really takes the cake for my favorite! We spent so much time getting it ready that it was the most planning we’ve done for the series to date. The best part was that we got to work with all of our amazingly talented friends again, and introduced new characters as well.
PH: Describe this scene and the significance it has to the rest of Swiss and Lali.
Raul Vega: We really wanted to give our fans something special for the end of this crazy adventure we made them join us on. So we decided, “let’s make it a long one!” and chose to make it a three-parter. It all essentially functions as one long, movie length episode which probably raises more questions than wraps up plot points. But it was an excuse to get the gang back together and go big with more characters, plot twists, sound design and A list talent.
PH: What tools, plugins, or instruments did you use in your production of this scene?
Raul Vega: I beefed things up a bit for this one. I still stick to the tried and true Pro Tools and Logic Pro X, but I made a lot of custom instruments for this one for scoring and sound design purposes. I’m a big fan of boxing them into a VST, so building them into Kontakt helped me keep things organized and really individualized my color palette for this finale. I also used countless UAD plugins as well as a handful of stuff by Eventide to really get those spatial verbs sounding deep when necessary. Two of my additional composers, Steven Doar and Omer Benyamin, came up with a really fun and catchy theme song for the villain reveal in the finale, where they essentially stacked and processed several vocal passes of a chant we came up with together. The end result was a tight yet hilarious 4mix they sent over, singing the words “El Daddy” in and out of their singing range, which had us dying in laughter.
PH: What technical challenges did you encounter while working on this scene?
Raul Vega: My mac tower is running a bit on the older side with a high-sierra OS, while my newer Macbook is rocking the M1 chip. So my biggest issues? Half my plugins weren’t yet compatible with the M1 chip when I was editing! I literally had to go back and forth from recording on my laptop to cleaning up with RX on my tower, doing light sound design and processing with plugins, then transfer the session (sans plugins that aren’t compatible yet) onto my Macbook to do the final mix and master. Since then most of my plugins are now M1 compatible, but during the summer and into late fall they still weren’t, so it was a lot of unnecessary back and forth between two rigs.
PH: What was the dialogue like between you and Swiss and Lali's cast regarding this scene?
Raul Vega: Most of it was giving more background and insight into what each character’s secret was. I’m one of those writers who loves to keep people guessing, even my cast, until the very end. So unless it’ll interfere in the performance, I keep people in the dark throughout a lot of it until we get to those emotional moments that need the full delivery. The biggest secret was not only the reveal of our biggest voice-over actor, Patton Oswalt, but what his character’s involvement was in the entire plot of the first season. Once we had him locked in and recorded, I told the rest of the cast where their characters stood in everything, which made it way more fun for them in their sessions.