Ever since Lyman Hardy first heard Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar as a kid growing up in Houston, he’s been obsessed with sounds. “I would make my parents play the record over and over again,” says the 44-year-old composer, who spent years playing the drums in “weird bands” before parlaying his musical talent into creating sounds for commercials and films. Today, he runs Stuck On On, an audio and video postproduction studio in East Austin, where he designs an array of noises—everything from thumping heartbeats to boozy bar chatter—for award-winning movies, like the recent Cannes favorite Take Shelter and Restive, which scored big with audiences at the 2011 Austin Film Festival. At home, Hardy enjoys a more soothing sound: a set of wind chimes that his wife, Allison, gave him for Valentine’s Day.
About the Items in Lyman Hardy’s Editing Bay
• My band, Total Unicorn, plays all over Austin. I wear this mask during concerts. It gets pretty hot under there.
• I go back and forth between two computer screens. On the left side is my timeline and snippets of dialogue. I’m working on My Sucky Teen Romance right now.
• My friend Thor Harris put a pickup on this kalimba and electrified it. I’m no kalimba wizard, but I can get around.
• Bleep Labs makes a light sensor called a Thingamagoop that controls an oscillator, and the more light it gets, the more sound it makes. I use that a lot.
• My wife went to grad school to study fine art and did projects inspired by pharmaceuticals. The by-product was pharmaceutical swag. It’s nothing personal.
• I carry my portable recorder around and record ambient sounds and so forth. For Take Shelter we needed a very distinct gas-lantern hissing sound. Like a psssssss sound that a Coleman lantern might make.
• These are from Handmade Music Austin, a digital music collective that makes electronic instruments. One is an analog bass drum, and the other is an autonomous bassline generator. I have a bunch, and they make all kinds of different sounds.
• This green egg is great for a shhhk-shhhk-shhhk kind of noise.
• I drink a lot of coffee and, like, ten glasses of water a day. I dehydrate, and then I rehydrate. I go to the bathroom a lot.
• I doodle during meetings, and it actually helps me stay focused. It serves as meditation. If I had been born ten years later, they would have given me Ritalin.
• If you buy cheap sunglasses all the time, like I do, a mini-screwdriver comes in handy.