Interview with Raul Vega, the Creator of the Fictional Podcast Swiss and Lali Hijack HOLLYWOOD!

Raul Vega is the creator of the podcast series, Swiss and Lali Hijack HOLLYWOOD!, which has big plans for their finale. The podcast airs on Thursdays and the finale will be released in three parts starting on November 4th, the second part of the finale releases on November 11th, and the final episode that features a surprise guest star on November 18th. Raul 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 and Dunkirk. Read on to learn more about the creativity behind Swiss and Lali, his influences and dream projects and collaborators. 

Tell us a bit about yourself. What was the first podcast you created and how did you come up with the idea?

I’ve always been fascinated by the art of storytelling and the many ways that people tell them. It’s no surprise that I chose to work on movies for a career! Being a composer and sound engineer, naturally my ear was more active than any other of my senses. So after about 7 years of working on film music, I decided to expand and get into fiction podcasting. My first series, Rose Drive, was my attempt at building a portfolio outside of my music work. I had never written anything before, (well, not with words) so I decided to take on the challenge myself. The story is rooted in a fictionalized version of my hometown. It’s a mystery series with all kinds of twists, turns and horrors buried underneath this quiet suburban town. I wanted my first show to pull elements from my inspirations as a kid, be it movies, books, or video games.  It turns out I have a real passion for it, so I decided to make another show but on a far less serious side. That’s where Swiss and Lali Hijack HOLLYWOOD! came into play. It was easily our coping project for the heat of the pandemic last year and now has turned into something bigger that we hope everyone can have some fun with!

Who are some of your favorite long term collaborators?

My leads and co-producers Aparna Brielle and Kristin Couture! Not only are they two of my closest friends but they’re truly some of the most versatile artists you’ll ever know. Along with them, working with my best friend and star of my first podcast series Aaron Cavette is always a blast. We’re constantly finding new ways to push each other’s creative minds, which only makes the end result that much stronger.

What episode was the most fun to work on for Swiss and Lali Hijack Hollywood?

Easily my favorite is episode 4 where Lali has a drug trip and has a cathartic experience with a talking Raccoon. We got to do all kinds of fun sound design, trippy effects and feature music from our good friends “thanks.” which was the driving pulse for the scene. We definitely have more of these types of episodes loaded for the future of the show!

What gear do you tend to use, especially in the production of Swiss and Lali Hijack Hollywood?

Whatever we have around the house, really! For the most part we’re able to get our work done with a ZOOM H6 recorder and a few SM7b’s microphones, but it’s really the environment we record in and the edit where the real work happens. I edit and mix in Pro Tools and use a variety of plugins and custom processing tools to get the sound we need.

Who are some of your influences?

I wouldn’t have gained the courage to launch my own shows if it weren’t for the support from my boss and mentor, Hans Zimmer. Hans is known for pushing the envelope in his film scores, and never being content to do the same thing in the same way. I try my best to adopt this mentality every time I get stuck in my writing, editing or sound design. I just think, “Well, this isn’t working so let’s go the less obvious way!” You always end up learning something when you decide to just play around and aren’t afraid to make mistakes.

What is your dream project? Dream collaborators?

I’m kind of a quiet horror nut. I just love the classics from the 80’s and 90’s and I can’t help but think how fun it would be to make an audio fiction production of Nightmare on Elm Street or even Friday the 13th! Having Freddy or Jason buried in your ears, listening with the lights turned off, and nothing but sound to haunt your mind could totally take these stories to a new, terrifying level! 

Where can we find you on social media?Instagram and Twitter you can find me at: @rowdyvega

Thank you for reading! Listen to the Swiss and Lali Hijack HOLLYWOOD! podcast here or on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. You can connect with Raul Vega on his Instagram and Twitter.

About Jake Stern

I love to write about entertainment, film composing, sound, music, and more. Follow me to stay up to date on interviews with your favorite artists!

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