Sound designer Martyn Zub talks Emmy nomination and work that went into ‘Beastie Boys Story’

martyn zub
Photo courtesy of Apple

Like many of us, Martyn Zub wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life at first.

Originally from Adelaide, Australia, Zub spent time when he was younger playing in punk bands and creating sounds in his room. It wasn’t until his parents introduced him to an audio engineering course.

“I fell in love with it,” said Zub. “I thought, ‘I get paid to do this? This is pretty cool!'”

Zub worked on a number of projects and ended up running his own studio in Adelaide. Eventually, Zub came out to Los Angeles for a job opportunity and has been in the United States ever since.

“I thought it was going to only last a year in Los Angeles, but I’ve been here for ten,” said Zub.

Zub currently serves as the Supervising Sound Editor, Sound Designer, Re-Recording Mixer for Formosa Group and has worked on a number of different feature projects, including “Frozen,” “Insidious: Chapter 3,” “Deadpool 2,” and the “John Wick” series. 

“I’m a fan of the ‘Deadpool’ franchise. I got to see the film change so much during the process,” said Zub. “I had worked with the director on the ‘John Wick’ franchise previously, and the people behind it were some of the loveliest people in the world.”

Zub recently earned recognition for his work on “Beastie Boys Story,” a new live documentary that chronicles the story behind the Beastie Boys. The film is written and directed by Spike Jonez, alongside Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz, and follows the band through the origins and filmed their recent shows prior to the pandemic.

“I’ve always been a Beastie Boys fan, they were the soundtrack for my life when I was younger,” said Zub. “I got to speak with Spike about the project and we got along really well.”

Zub says that he started working on the project in November 2019. Several microphones were placed throughout the venues at Beastie Boys shows, allowing for the film to get perspective not just from the stage but in the audiences as well.

“There was a lot of loud content from the live shows,” said Zub. “We wanted audiences to be really immersed by it. It was tough wrangling up the mics, but we were able to get it all together. It was challenging in that there was so much material and a bit of a broken schedule, we’d be working for a few weeks here and there before we made the final mix.”

The film was meant to film at South by Southwest, which was ultimately canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film has been streaming on Apple TV+ since April.

“It was the right thing to do under the circumstances,” said Zub. “The film was mixed at the highest format, so when the premiere was canceled we had to shift gears so it could be streamed in households. Many people were going to be listening from an iPad, their iPhone or TV. We had to translate it across all platforms.”

Zub is up for two Emmy awards for his work on “Beastie Boys Story,” one for Outstanding Sound Editing For A Nonfiction Or Reality Program (alongside Paul Aulicino and Pernell Salinas) and another for Outstanding Picture Editing For A Nonfiction Program (with William Tzouris and Jacob Feinberg). 

“Being nominated is really humbling and gratifying,” said Zub. “It’s great to be recognized by my peers, I definitely didn’t expect it.”

Zub acknowledges that he wouldn’t be here without the help of his team throughout the years.

“The nomination is also a bit of recognition of the team over the years to get us here,” said Zub. “Just to get nominated is fantastic.”

For more information about Zub and his work, visit the Formosa Group website.