Nicolas Peck (b. 1965) is an American composer, keyboardist, sound designer, and audio director. He has been continuously active since the early 1980’s, and has made a living as a sound designer/composer since the late 1990’s.
Peck began piano lessons at the age of eight, and discovered synthesizers and home recording in his early teenage years. He later brought the Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes, and other electromechanical keyboard instruments into his arsenal of performance instruments. He plays guitar, electric bass, the Buchla Easel, the Kyma sound design system, and Serge and Eurorack modular synthesizers. He sings popular and choral music as a bass/baritone, and is a member of the Disneyland Candlelight Choir.
Peck holds a BA in Psychology from UC Berkeley (1987), a BA in Electronic Music from San Francisco State University (1993), and an MFA in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College (1998). Primary music teachers included Pauline Oliveros, Maggi Payne, Chris Brown, Alvin Curran, and Herbert Bielawa. His principle areas of study were experimental electronic music/musique concrete, modular analog synthesizers, analog hardware design, and computer music.
Peck’s commercial career has been primarily in video games and interactive media, including stints at Lucasarts Entertainment (sound supervisor), Skywalker Sound, (game sound supervisor), Activision Games (audio director), and as a freelance sound designer/composer under the name Perceptive Sound Design. Notable games include Grim Fandango, Star Wars Battlefront, LEGO Star Wars, Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb, and Guitar Hero Van Halen. Notable films include Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, and Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust.
He has been audio director of Disney Publishing Worldwide since 2012, where he has done hundreds of projects for iOS/Android, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and many Disney partners around the globe. He is currently focused on creating audiobooks and linear audio stories across the many franchises of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Twentieth Century, National Geographic, and Lucasfilm.
Peck has written for and performed as a keyboardist/vocalist in musical groups across a wide variety of genres, including progressive rock, jamband, traditional jazz, and Hammond organ-based soul jazz. He has been working in experimental electronic music for decades, and that is where his primary noncommercial musical focus has been from about 2010 onward. He has released nine LP’s/CD’s in various genres, and has appeared on numerous compilation albums. His last physical CD was 2007’s Fire Trucks I Have Known, and all material has been released as streaming media since then.
Peck has been deeply involved in teaching and the sharing of knowledge in a variety of forms. Through the 2000’s and early 2010’s, He wrote many articles and reviews for Electronic Musician and Mix magazines, and Gearwire online. He has delivered guest lectures on sound design and making a living in audio production at Mills College, CSU Chico, and the Audio Engineering Society. He has taught Pro Tools and sound design on a college level at Diablo Valley College. He has been interviewed on a variety of podcasts, and is a panelist on the Audio Nowcast, a podcast that has been running for 14 years. In 2018, he launched the Under the Big Tree YouTube channel, which is devoted to various topics in synthesis and electronic music. As of this writing, he has posted over 100 videos to that channel.
Peck is currently involved in a variety of creative arts projects, including an ambient collaboration with composer David C. Hughes, ambient improvisational solo recordings, work on an experimental electronic album entitled Red and Blue, and videos for the Under the Big Tree YouTube channel. He looks forward to the day that the world opens up again, and he can meet you in person at NAMM, Synthplex, Superbooth, Knobcon, or the Kyma International Sound Symposium.