SUPERVISOR SPOTLIGHT: BRIAN REITZELL
On a cool late December morning, I met with composer and music supervisor Brian Reitzell at his dimly lit studio on the ground floor of a non-descript Glendale office building. Not far from the movie studios, this is where he makes music and supervises films and TV series. If I had to use one word to describe Reitzell, it’s “passionate.” I was impressed not only with his brilliant creativity and success, but with his immense passion for records, especially vinyl and CDs. He has a massive collection of 10,000 of the greatest tracks of the last five decades. As a music supervisor, Reitzell has proven to be adept at previewing scenes for music legends and through sheer chutzpa and persuasive brilliance, help filmmakers convince these legends to make fair deals that fit their tight music budgets. Above all, Reitzell has a unique ability to collaborate with an artist or band not normally associated with film scoring, and to bring them into the creative process. One of those artists is My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields, who scored Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation. Now with the release of a uniquely challenging score composed by Reitzell for an interactive episode of Black Mirror (Bandersnatch) for NetFlix, Brian Reitzell is the preeminent creative music supervisor and composer working today.
Q: You grew up in Ukiah and Redwood City in Northern California, where you discovered an uncle’s drum kit and learned to play. Tell me about your early days as a chef’s apprentice and a drummer. I moved to San Francisco when I was 19, lived in a place for 100 dollars a month. You can’t do that anymore! 1t was the late 80’s. It’s so expensive up there now. I had a very good time working in the restaurant biz. I was studying to be a chef. I had a paid apprenticeship. It was a very good time in the restaurant industry — we had Alice Waters. We had Stars Restaurant in San Francisco, one of the great restaurants in the world. But I was a drummer, so I moved to LA in 1991 to play with Redd Kross. I auditioned and got the job, and two months later I was on the road. All of my twenties were spent touring. I quit Redd Kross and started working on my first film with Sofia Coppola, The Virgin Suicides. I ended up joining the French band Air. I did a score with them for the film, and then I played with them for seven years. I had these seven-year cycles with Redd Kross and Air.
Q: Are you still touring? No, but I might someday. I’ve just been so busy. I’ve always loved to create rather than re-create. I love the stage. But it’s hard work. I have a kid now, and I don’t want to miss out on any part of her life. She’s twelve. So apart from a film we mixed in New Zealand recently, I’ve been around home. Which is great! I toured so much, been everywhere, so I don’t need to do it again. This year I played on a record for an artist named Sharon Van Etten that comes out next month. I hadn’t done a hands-on studio session for anybody other than myself for probably ten years. It was so fun not to be in charge of everything, not to make all the decisions, and just to be The Drummer. Percussionist. I play a lot of instruments on it.
Q: Everyone has a different set of experiences but how does being a percussionist and drummer affect your composition for film and TV? Even as a teenager one of my favorite records was the score to Francis Ford Coppola’s Rumble Fish, done by Stuart Copeland up at their Marin studios. As fate would have it, I became very close with The Coppolas, and I got to hear all the music demos. Stuart of course was the drummer for the Police. I really love his score to Rumble Fish. I listen to it as much as I listened to Synchronicity.
Q: So what are your most recent projects? The most recent thing that I did, and that I wasn’t able to talk about literally until today, is a special episode of Black Mirror called “Bandersnatch” on Netflix, which airs tomorrow. They release the trailer today. It was one of the greatest challenges of my life because it’s a choose-your-own-adventure story. So it’s not a film or a TV episode. It’s an interactive piece of entertainment. It needed over five hours of content. I think 230 plus Pro-tool sessions. Just to make the sessions took an entire day. That deep. “Bandersnatch” takes place in 1984. That was the year I graduated high school. So for me to get into that show was so natural. I have the instruments. I have a PPG Wave 2.3 to make the sounds needed. In the story the main character is programming a video game so I made those sounds. I have a Game Boy, I have an Atari 2600 that been modified to be a synthesizer. So he uses that engine. I have another instrument that uses the Commodore sound chip in it, so I got to make the “chip” music for the show, which normally might have been the sound designer’s job. But the director is David Slade who I collaborate with a lot. David and I did a movie in 2007, Thirty Days of Night. Except for one or two things, I’ve done all of David’s stuff. It’s a very unique relationship, and it’s a very unique way of using sound. “Bandersnatch” is a great example of that, it is pretty avant-garde in the sense that it’s very psychological and physical, rather than overtly melodic and traditional.
Q: You mention the 80’s – we are in the licensing side of a 300,000 large catalog, pitching music daily. Everyone now is looking for authentic vintage, that not only sounds-like 80’s but is 80’s or whatever’s the period for their show. I just made a placement in Stranger Things which needs pre-84. For American Gods, as you know, they needed 50’s, so we licensed “Ah Ha” by Baby Washington, from the MusicSupervisor.com and Resnik Music Group catalog. What was so bizarre about that episode is that I had to make Celtic Doo-Wop music! We had to make a “reel” jig, but with Doo-Wop. I had two “reel” musicians that played on that score. And I got the guy who plays the Uilleann pipes in the film Titanic, Eric Rigler. He’s the top guy in the world and he’s from Venice California. Not even Irish. A surfer! That’s the great thing about Los Angeles — we have those kind of resources. You can do anything here.
Q: So tell me the story about how you met Sofia Coppola? It was the end of 1990, beginning of 1991. When I moved from the Bay Area to LA to play in Redd Kross, I needed a place to live. The bass player was dating Sofia who was maybe 19 years old. She was doing a press tour for Godfather 3. He went with her for a week to Europe, and so I lived in their apartment while looking for a place to live. I had not even met Sofia, but I was living in her apartment and sleeping on the couch! A week into it, my car was stolen and I had a lot of my personal belongings in it. So it was: “Welcome to Los Angeles, you have no car and no place to live!” I ended up sleeping on couches for a couple months and the bass player and Sofia broke up. But then through another friend, I went up to her father Francis Ford Coppola’s place up in Napa for a 4th of July party. There I met Stephanie Hayman who was Sofia’s best friend. We started dating, and we’ve been together since 1991.
Q: Married? No, but I wear a ring and we have a child.
Q: As good as. My Dad was married five times.
Q: So you learned a lesson. The French always say that once you’re married the romance goes away. So… a lot of my French friends are not! Sofia and I met through Redd Kross. So when she was going to make The Virgin Suicides, that movie took place in the 70s, so she already had decided she wanted Air to score the movie, which is pretty interesting, because Air was not a very popular band at the time. The fact that she would pick a band rather that a film composer — but she learned from her father. But Sofia needed someone to help her pick the 70s music. The Virgin Suicides takes place in the early 70’s. I’m a record collector geek. I have maybe 10,000 records. It was my passion. Sofia would ask me about any song on the radio, and I could tell her where it was recorded, who played on it and so on. She knew that I knew music, so she asked me to be the Music Supervisor, though neither of us knew what being the “Music Supervisor” meant. The only time I’d ever seen the title “Music Supervisor” was on the Midnight Cowboy soundtrack. It says that John Barry is the Music Supervisor. And I assume that’s because he brought in Nilsson to sing “Everybody’s Talkin.” John Barry scored the movie. So I just assumed the guy with that title was just involved with the music. So that’s what I did because I didn’t know any better. So I worked with Air on the The Virgin Suicides score, playing drums and sort of being the mouthpiece for Sofia, because I knew her and what she wanted. I was in a Versailles studio with Air doing the score and I could say “Hey Guys… try this.” Technology then was VHS tapes. We’d put on a tape and watched it. I set a monitor next to the drum kit and I would cue to them. And that’s how we did that score. Of course I was also collecting and choosing the source music. And that’s what I continue to do: Be involved in whatever I can do musically for the director. Sometimes I’m just scoring, like the project I’m doing now, Enclosure X, which is going to play in museums, a 30-minute piece. It’s an installation by an artist name Rachel Rose. It might be the future because it is being produced by an independent film company that I’ve done feature films with. This is the first time they’ve worked with a visual artist and produced an artwork not for movie theaters or Netflix or anything. Black Mirror “Bandersnatch” was a brand new thing for me. And my first project in 2018 was scoring for National Geographic and Ron Howard on a show called Mars. I did the second season. It was half documentary, half scripted. Again, something I’d never done before. Each project that I’ve done lately has been a new format, and I love that.
Q: Jumping back to The Virgin Suicides you managed to land some pretty big songs for very little money. One of them was “Strange Magic” by ELO. A supervisor’s biggest challenge is a limited budget and everyone’s in love with the famous songs. And I knew nothing about what songs go for, but I learned very quickly! Because ELO had just had a song in Boogie Nights and I heard that that they got $80,000 a side, and 80,000 was more than my entire music budget. Naively I thought that if I did something really cool and respectful and showed the scene to the artist, they would want their music used, because it was so cool. So we put all these famous tracks in and were going to have a music screening. Through Jason Schwartzman who is Sofia’s cousin, Jason knew a guy who knew Jeff Lynne. A doctor. I wrote a letter inviting Jeff to the screening, which I faxed to the doctor. And I never heard back. So the screening was full of artists and managers, record and publishing company people, Carole King’s people. I had about 35 total. But Jeff wasn’t there. The screening started at two o’clock and it was two sharp. I said let’s give him five more minutes. Somebody asked me who I was waiting for, and I said Jeff Lynne, and there was a sigh in the room. He’s not going to show up! So I went outside, and he appeared wearing sunglasses, with his girlfriend. He sat in the back row. I was sitting next to Sofia, and we played the movie. As the movie ended and the lights went up, Jeff got up and walked over to me. “Brian, you can have my song for Fifty Cents.” Then he walked out the door. Everybody heard that! Now, granted, I had to pay everybody the same “favored nations” fee. But Jeff saw how we’d used his song and loved it. It snowballed, and I got all the big songs with the exception of “Tiny Dancer,” which was later used in Almost Famous. Ironically the woman who refused us at Polygram also represented me! Even though we had Bernie and Elton give us the approval, and with Sofia and I writing letters, faxing back and forth.
Q: Are there any other times you got the big song nobody thought was get-able? I was trying to get “All of the Lights” which was a Kanye West track for Sofia’s film The Bling Ring in 2013. The song has about eleven songwriters on it, people like John Legend, Elton John, Fergie – all huge artists. Rihana sings on it but she’s not a writer. And there was a publishing dispute going on. The record label told me that I’d never get the track. On top of that, the characters in the film are singing it on camera! I had been emailing back and forth with Kanye and his assistant and I remember I wasn’t getting a straight answer. But they were into it. Sofia knew Kanye. Luckily for me, Sofia is very charming whether it’s Mick Jagger or Kanye or whomever. I remember Kanye was in Paris and he was just going into a dinner party. And I had to have an answer. I thought if he said yes, then all the others would fall in line. His assistant said, I’ll get you an answer as soon as he walks out of this dinner party, and sure enough, he said yes. So they shot the scene with it playing on the stereo, and another take without it as a backup. I didn’t have that much money, so each of thee famous writers on the song were going to get — hundreds of dollars! Hip-hop is very difficult because of all the writers and samples. As fate would have it, it all cleared.
Q: Do you work with a music coordinator? Does someone do your paperwork and licenses? I work a lot with Jill Meyers. She did The Virgin Suicides with me and taught me. I wrote letters and did paperwork on that first movie, but I said I’d never do that again. My job is better spent doing the creative. I work with the overall budget and deals. I also work with Christine Bergren as well. The two of them are powerhouses and they know everybody. Some producers don’t understand why the music supervisor wouldn’t do the paperwork, but most directors don’t care how it gets done. I tend to save money. I’ve never been over budget, even with The Bling Ring, which had insane amount of hip-hop. The business has changed a lot. When I did Virgin Suicides there were bands you couldn’t even touch or afford. AC/DC didn’t care how much money you had. Now that’s all changed.
Q; How did you get into TV show scoring? Gus Van Sant and I did a show called Boss. Gus asked around if there was someone who was a composer AND a music supervisor, and he was told Brian can do both. In the end it goes back to John Barry and Midnight Cowboy – whatever we need to do, we can do.
Q: I recently worked on a great little movie that went out to festivals called Quest, and the director had a Dylan song at the end, and everyone said forget it, it’s not going to happen. Dylan actually watches some stuff himself, and he told his publisher, I love this little movie, we’ll give it to him for 5K. Yeah we had Dylan in American Gods, and we thought it wasn’t going to fly, but he or one of his people saw it, and agreed. I really respect artists who want to know how their music is being used. My songs are my kids, it’s your work. I get it.
Q: Especially now with the advent of Netflix and Amazon and their smaller budgets I think some of these bigger publishing people are saying Let’s Make a Deal. I want to be on that show because I want to be hip and young. And promote my catalog. I love it when music people want to see the film. I did a movie with Sofia called Marie Antoinette. With the exception of Adam Ant, who said yes right away, I showed the scenes to all the artists. I didn’t have to. I was in Paris and I went to London, I showed Siouxsie Sioux, I showed Robert Smith, I showed people how we were going to use their music and they really appreciated that. Q: Did you temp the music on screen? I don’t even use the word “temp” when I music supervise, not when music works. In Lost in Translation and Marie Antoinette there is almost no score, it’s almost all from my record collection. For Lost in Translation, 80 percent was all on two mix CD’s. For Virgin Suicides it was a 70’s era movie, but wasn’t a stoner movie. We were using Gilbert O’Sullivan and 10cc and The Hollies.
Q: You had Simon and Garfunkle in Lost in Translation, a slow corny restaurant jazz cover of Scarborough Fair. Paul’s brother who manages him was a bull. He called up and yelled and screamed at me. You can’t do this to my brother! Then we showed Paul the scene and he loved it. After it came out, Paul sent me a thank you letter.
Q: On both a business and creative level, what was your biggest career challenge as a music supervisor, and the most satisfaction you’ve gotten from a project? The biggest challenge was clearing the Kanye track in The Bling Ring. It took months, and I’d never dealt with a track in dispute. Another was when I did Marie Antoinette, and there were two tracks by the band Bow Wow Wow in the movie, “Fools Rush In” and “I Want Candy”. Their producer and manager Malcolm McLaren had the tapes and I wanted to remix both of them because I liked the idea of bringing Kevin Shields from My Bloody Valentine in and have him do new mixes. I thought that would make it special for our film. Make them quadraphonic. On “Fools Rush In” the singer Anabella was really young, maybe 14 when recorded and out of tune. I thought I could re-mix and tune it. Sofia liked the fact that it was out of tune a bit — it felt like young love, silly. She’s right. I wanted to alter it a little and make it more cinematic. I needed approval from Malcolm and get the tapes, because Malcolm owns part of it, and that was also in dispute. So I met Malcolm who was living in Paris. Sofia had a party and invited him. He came and we hit it right off, mostly because I know so much about all the great stuff that he did. I ended up going to his house, having dinner with him, really as a fan and geek. And I loved to hear all his stories. Over a couple bottles of wine in an amazing Spanish restaurant, he agreed to get the tapes for me. By the way, Malcolm also has the Sex Pistols’ tapes. EMI has sued him several times, and they still don’t have the tapes. So I even considered hiring a Private Investigator to follow him. Never did! But he got me the tapes in storage somewhere outside of Paris, and they were driven to England. The tapes were “baked” for three days, and then he sent me the files. Not long afterwards, he passed away. But I was able to get the remixes done, down to a couple days before the mix of the film. Soon I was able to have the members of Bow Wow Wow come to my house. I played them the new mixes which they loved because Kevin is a genius. And I was able to give them the multi-track of their biggest song “I Want Candy” so they now have the multi-track, and they have licensed it many times. I always like it when I can turn people on to the music that they don’t know and make some money for the artist. I got countless stories: For Reckless Eric, I used “Whole Wide World” in the movie Stranger than Fiction. The guy from Stiff Records said “No.” And Eric needed the money! When Stiff put out the record they sped it up. It worked cause the song was a hit. But Eric begged me, please get the rights, and please use it at the normal speed! I eventually got the rights (don’t know if you should print his part) after one of heads of the magazine Mojo that Eric knew threatened the guy at Stiff Records. The Mojo guy said, I’m not going to put your music in my magazine. It was a flat out “no’ that got turned around.
Q: Do you music supervise or score more often? I don’t know what I’ve done more of — score or supervision. Lately I’ve scored more. I’d love to take a movie like Lost in Translation and just use my records to score it. When I did Stranger than Fiction in 2007, I based the score around the band Spoon. I even wrote some of the score with Britt Daniel who writes songs for Spoon. I got him to give me instrumental versions and multi-track versions of songs of his. I took the multi-tracks and worked them and finessed them to picture. In some cases I added some percussion and organ and scored the movie that way. Every movie I’ve done has one song or artist that everything is connected to. With Lost in Translation it was My Bloody Valentine. With Stranger than Fiction it was Britt Daniel and Spoon, with Virgin Suicides it was Air. For Friday Night Lights it was Explosions in the Sky. It’s harmony, it’s cooking, it is the nucleus, and I love that. I love the challenge of having an artist, and then bringing them into the scoring process. I love to collaborate. I grew up being in bands. It’s a room full of people doing it together. More and more these days, I’m having to do it entirely by myself. Sometimes the budget is so small I only have an engineer in the beginning and the end. With American Gods, we had Debby Harry, Shirley Manson, Mark Lanegan, people from bands who would come in and work with me. With the show Boss, it was Robert Plant, it was Air. Every project is different, but when I read a script, I always go to my record collection. I can figure it out. I really believe in the mix tape. The technology is constantly changing, but the result is the same.
Q: What advice would you give up and coming writers, producers, bands in terms of film and TV access and placement? Study music. As a music supervisor, after I did Lost in Translation, which was a very successful movie, I would get 5 or 10 CDs in the mail every single day. I didn’t sell them, I kept them all. I put them in my computer, the ones I wanted to keep I put in my office, the rest went in my garage. It’s only two years ago I got rid of thousands of CD’s in my garage. I didn’t sell them, I traded them for more. I still have in my room a wall with roughly 5,000 CD’s and it’s just one wall. I can stand at that wall and look at it, like last night, rather than being on the internet which can take you down a rabbit hole or can be wonderful — but I still like to go to record stores. I like to just browse through all of that. I was at Amoeba Records in Hollywood the other day on my birthday, which is Christmas Eve. Every year, I go to Amoeba. It’s interesting the amount of new vinyl, new pressings, even the new White Album which I just bought, it’s amazing. Record stores are important. It’s not just sitting inside a laptop. When I was working on these projects, I never thought about what everybody else likes. I was thinking about what I liked, what my friends liked, what Sofia liked – my peers. I’m very selfish. That’s why I work with a Kevin Shields, Mark Hollis, Siouxsie Sioux. It’s because I’m a fan of theirs. Musicians start out worshipping rock stars, but as they get older, they worship filmmakers. My idols were John Bonham and Stuart Copeland growing up. Now it’s great filmmakers.
Q: There are directors where the music is truly a character in their film, and that sounds like the kind of director that you would like to work with. How do you get to the bottom of the director’s taste or are you coming from the your own taste first and foremost, and that’s what he gets with the deal? I don’t work with anyone unless I can sit down and meet them. The Black Mirror episode I just did was all done in the UK, but the director David Slade lives here. So he came in to my studio. He’s the only one I met on the whole show. But now there’s Google Hangout and Skype — all these ways of working with people remotely that is phenomenal. Feels like a hundred years ago I was doing those movies with Sofia! On The Virgin Suicides the technology was so difficult and so expensive to do anything. I had maybe 100 VHS tapes of different cuts of Lost in Translation. None of it was digital.
Q: What do you say to young people who ask: I want to be a Music Supervisor. How do you do it? I don’t know because it just kind of happened. All I can say is do it if you’re really passionate about it, if you love music. When I was twelve, my mother worked for the United Way and the local radio station in Santa Rosa donated all their records to the United Way because they were going to be a talk radio station. So all those records sat in our house, it was only supposed to be over the weekend, but they sat there for weeks. And I played every single one. My mom said I could pick out ten records. It was like living in a record store. And the cool thing was in the old days DJ’s would write notes on the sleeves; there was a sticker on there for each track: “Upbeat, sounds like the Cure.” So I listened to every single record. Now you have the internet. When I was 12, I had incredibly diverse collection of records. It was Jazz, it was rock, blues, soundtracks, everything. My passion for music really blossomed. If you want to be a music supervisor or composer, it’s important to learn the fundamentals. It’s important to develop your taste by listening to everything and really soaking it in. If you persevere, you’ll get the opportunity. If you’re passionate about it, you’ll do good. It’s important to please yourself, if you don’t, you might as well do something else.
Q: Tell me about the records you made, like Auto Music. It’s good for driving! That record took almost 10 years to make, because I would do a song in between a film project, and each one was an experiment for me to grow, to get ready. You know I’m a wood shedder, when I’m not working I’m working. I’m trying to grow, whether it’s sitting at the piano and learning different voicings, or it’s technologies or whatever — I’m constantly trying to grow. For Auto Music, the first piece that I did was an experiment based on something Kevin Shields told me that he did for the song “Sometimes” in Lost in Translation. It was about how he EQ’d and layered guitars. So I took that concept and did my own experimenting and then I actually had Kevin play on it. I would listen to it as I made the seven-minute drive from my home in Silver Lake to Griffith Park where my studio is. I found that track was really great for driving because it wasn’t ABA sections, bridge. Pop songs have that structure. When you’re driving though, it’s fluid. Here’s a tree, here’a truck, it’s all changing and developing. So I decided to take that a little bit towards Krautrock, Motorik beat and make it more about driving. In Los Angeles we drive, and I wanted to make a record to score and soundtrack the drive to Malibu, the drive to the Valley or whatever. Each song is really meant to be listened to while driving. I just started the second Auto Music, but God knows when I’ll finish it. On The Virgin Suicides, that score I did with Air, if you listened to the record or watch the movie, the two are completely different. Because the music editor and Sofia pulled it apart to make it work in the film. What we did was essentially make a record based on images. For the new Black Mirror episode “Bandersnatch,” I’m not even going to put a soundtrack record out. I want it to only exist in that program.
Q: Anything else to add about you and your career and what you’ve been through in life? I feel really fortunate to be able to do this. I remember in high school we had to say what we were going to be when we grew up. I knew by age 12 what I wanted to do — be involved with music. I said I didn’t care about making a lot of money. I used to be a big fan of the band The Replacements. When someone once asked why aren’t you as big as U2? They said: We don’t care about the money, we just want to keep doing what we love to do. Now I wish I had said, well it would be nice to be rich too!
Q: Finally, you love these ancient percussion instruments like the Japanese Anvil. Why? My hero is Toru Takemitsu the Japanese composer. He influenced my music for Hannibal. He was once giving a talk and someone asked him how many swimming pools do you have and how big is your mansion? He said I have a bathtub and I live in a small modest house. Good enough for him, and for me Toru Takemitsu I discovered while in Redd Kross. My passion other than playing drums at the time — I collected Jazz records. Art Blakey, great Be-Bop. I somehow discovered a Toru Takemitsu record. The percussion was so imaginative, the music sounded so modern. I’m not a big fan of Mozart, perfect classical, or Vivaldi; it has its place. But it doesn’t emotionally hit me. Toru Takemitsu’s music is so futuristic with old instruments. I just bought an Anvil from 1910 for a project which takes place in the 1700s. When you listen, it has such a complexity to it, it’s fantastic! There’s something about old metal, back in the day, made from steel and alloys. His scores also combine harp and celeste. I love texture, it’s why I love Ravel — the music is so cinematic. Textures above all else. And making music and not having the audience know what the instruments are, means there’s no baggage connected. When you hear a saxophone you have a certain connection, whether you realize it or not. If I can take all those out of an equation, I think it makes for a richer more interesting, more complex, more immersive experience watching a movie — because this sound is as original as the story that’s being told.
Interview by Julius Robinson
MUSIC SUPERVISOR SUCCESS STORIES
MUSIC SUPERVISOR INDUSTRY OBSERVATIONS & TRENDS
2019 Could be the beginning of a the best time in history to be a music maker
The Music Business is Growing
People are Paying
Last year 534.6 billion paid on-demand audio streams were delivered, up from 376.9 billion during the same period a year ago, an increase of 42%.
The battle ahead will be to get our fair share and ensure that all of the people involved in making the music are also getting fairly paid.
What Kind of Music Does MusicSupervisor.com Need?
MusicSupervisor.com pitches music for series, films, ads, trailers, and online uses worldwide. These projects are often on streaming sites like Netflix, Amazon Prime, as well as cable channels such as Showtime, HBO, Starz, and the major networks. These shows now have smaller music budgets — and so there’s a need for independent pre-cleared music.
Because of the very short turnaround time (one hour to end-of-day) and restrictions we must follow for sharing confidential briefs, we are looking for music that is already uploaded, meta-tagged and ready in our MusicSupervisor.com site.
Here are some of the general trends ***:
1) “Coming of Age” projects that needed young pop and indie rock, male or female vocals. Female empowerment lyric themes are trending.
2) Latin songs (Spanish language vocals), male or female, dance, pop, romantic — in all Latin sub-genres and decades.
3) Covers of famous 80’s and 90’s songs, all genres (you control the master 100%).
4) “Vintage” — authentic period music actually recorded back 1930’s – 1990’s and now the 2000’s. Please enter “release date” in the meta-tagging form.
5) Hip-Hop/Rap with a social commentary or change theme reflecting our times.
*** The Number One consideration – upload your best quality music, whether or not it is listed as a current trend. We NEVER KNOW what the next request will be. Quality always wins in the long run. Music Placement is a marathon, not a sprint!
*** IMPORTANT: Whenever possible also upload the instrumental track (without vocals). Productions often need them to cut around dialogue. Often instrumental versions are requested to be delivered at the same time as the vocal version. So if it’s not already uploaded, your track might not get pitched.
(Tip: after you upload the instrumental .wav file, use AutoFill to re-fill in the metadata, then change what is different – “Song Title (Instrumental)” and select No Vocals)
The Staff at MusicSupervisor.com
Devin Kennedy is the cool guy you wish you were. This unassuming dude will blow you away with his catchy topline and melodies. You know every word to the song by the time its over. His Khalid meets The Chainsmokers fusion is so good you don’t want it to end. Yeah yeah yeah, we know, those are such top 40 sounding artists, but hey they’re top 40 for a reason, but do yourself a favor and trust us this time. Beyond releasing solo music, Kennedy has also toured across North America with former Big Time Rush member James Maslow and graced massive stages like Jingle Ball and the iHeartRadio Music Festival. His sultry baby makin’ tunes are a must add to that one hidden go to playlist when you’re tryna spit some game. This is one band wagon we are so on for the long haul, but at least we got to say we discovered him first. Sounds Like: LAUV, The Chainsmokers, Quinn XCII, Christian French, Khalid Vibe: Chilled, Sexy, Brooding, Electro RnB, Funky Video: Watch Now
Velvet Starlings. Excuse what we are about to say, but FUCK. This kid, yes we say kid, because he’s 15, literally embodies classic rock and the 70’s stylized funky hippy style people are longing to get back to at this point. Sometimes it’s mind boggling to fathom how this level of talent has manifested this young. I think we call them prodigies. Well whatever you deem him, if you’re into The Beatles or The Black Keys or the carefree spirit of the 70’s, just stop now, because its literally right in front of you right now. Christian Gisborne is the multi-instrumentalist behind the band. Already having received airplay on some of LA’s biggest radio stations like KROQ and KCRW, his full-bodied sound is just as good on the recordings as it is live. We all know how hard the conversion from album to live show is, but that’s why rock will always be king. It’s talent, first and foremost, not heavy over-production and Christian has more talent than most top 40 artists you’ll hear on the radio. If you’re in the LA area, do yourself a damn fine favor and go see Velvet Starlings. Sounds Like: The Black Keys, Arctic Monkeys, The Beatles, Kasabian, The Raconteurs Vibe: Folksy, 1970’s, Rousing, Psychedelic, Rock Video: Watch Now
Undecided Future is that band you text 15 of your friends at the same time saying “Dude, listen to these guys ASAP”. If you combined 90’s Justin Timberlake with the boy-band version of Bruno Mars you’d have Undecided Future. These dudes are crazy and weird, but in such an infectious way that inspires you to make that Goodwill trip to pull a Macklemore and raid the thrift store after seeing their live show. If they could be described in 1 word, it would most def be FUNKY!…with the exclamation point, because you’d have to yell it inappropriately loud, because why not. These dudes have performed and recorded with Jason Derulo and Most Def, so you know their respect for old school hip hop and smooth sultry RNB runs real deep. Lead vocalist Matt Isaac not only has a range of the god’s but has the funky dance moves to match. The group has such a passion for their craft, and will have you dancing not even caring you don’t know the words to their songs. The feel-good groove is enough to get you up and pull out some of those retired 70’s disco fingers. Sounds Like: Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, Vista Kicks, Michael Jackson, The Beach Boys Vibe: Funky, Soul, Feel Good, Happy, Catchy AF Video:Watch Now
Jo James is that perfect mixture of rainy day, melancholy vibe that you need sometimes while delivering a warmth of reassurance with his covetable smoky voice. Imagine pulling out your favorite soul vinyl, starting up your record player, making a cup of coffee and curling up on the couch with a book, what vinyl is it? Well whatever it is, if its not Jo James, you’re wrong. Sorry. The Austin native has begun to tour on the west coast, and we’ve needed this indulgence of rough rugged vocals to satisfy our thirst for Soul/RNB. You have Alabama Shakes, Leon Bridges, and now Jo James. You know that one band you have that you listen to in secret, not because it’s a guilty pleasure, but because you don’t want anyone else to have what you have. Very much “only child syndrome”. Be so greedy with this one, because it’s rare to find something like this. Sounds Like: Otis Redding, Leon Bridges, Tom Petty, Lenny Kravitz, John Mayer Vibe: Smoky, Groovy, Soul, Bluesy, Bouncy Video: Watch Now
Honest Men is so on trend right now with Alt-Pop music. They hit the nail on the head. Their light-hearted anthemic style of music has allowed them to share stages with artists like COIN. The band’s sound blends ‘80s tinted synth-pop with heady indie rock. It’s an edgy sound full of gonzo energy and verve, sonic flamboyance, and contagious charm hard to resist. They don’t sound like Blink 182, but their music conveys the same thrilling dynamism, meaning it is lip-smacking good. Hailing from small town Waco, TX, yes that Waco, these guys made the quick and smart relocation to Austin to hone their craft after releasing their self-titled debut album. Their affectionate vocals are complimented well by dreamy basslines and funky riffing that gives way to explosive solos. Who knew pop could rock like this anymore? Make sure these guys are on your radar and added to your favorites. Sounds Like: COIN, Knox Hamilton, Colony House, Night Riots Vibe: Epic, Anthemic, Edgy, Fun, Synthy Video: Watch Now
Barry Coffing, MS Founder/CEO: “I was at NAMM speaking on a panel in the Idea Center (thanks Thornton)”
Orville Stoeber, Carolyn Corn, Barry Coffing, Gallie Fisher and Thornton Cline
Here are my highlights from Winter NAMM 2019. I had a hit list of stuff for my studio, a friend’s multi-purpose studio in Boston and equipment for the recording studio at the new HSPVA (High School For The Performing and Visual Arts) building in Houston. It’s my alma mater as well as my brother, sister, sister in law and daughters’. My son is in callback auditions, so I’m crossing my fingers (and toes) that we will add one more name to the list. It’s always fun needing to be at NAMM – instead of just wanting to and making up a reason. I did buy a very cool backpack from a leather guitar strap/bag company as an impulse buy. Ah…the smell of leather in the morning.
Here are my great eight in no special order:
1) Audeze has developed a state of the art platform for high-end headphones that is nothing short of amazing. Co-Founder Shankar Thiagasamudram using their Mobius “Immersive Cinematic 3D Audio Headphones” took me through the paces of the HQ Application. For Film, TV and VR creators there is nothing like it.
4) API is making great new boards that sound amazing. My favorite studio in Houston ‘Wire Road” installed a 32 channel Legacy AXS and everything that runs through it just sounds better.
They have a small project studio version THE BOX that has 8 channels of mic-pres and is perfect for the professional on a budget. I’m starting to save now. www.apiaudio.com
5) I met a mic genius that is David Bock founder of Bock Audio. He has created some of the most unique mics around blending old and new. I was producing a singer with an incredible tenor voice soaring past high C’s. He was blowing out every mic we tried. Nothing was working until we tried the Bock 5O7. It captured everything magical and handled the crazy dynamics without a hitch. They are now shipping the Soundelux USA U99 – it’s a multi-pattern tube microphone inspired by the classic U67 with a great mixture of the old and new. www.bockaudio.com
6) I got to spend some time at the Dave Hill Designs booth and hear some of the records he is working on and as you might expect the recordings are so pristine and perfect that it takes you to a different world. He also has a line of mic-pre’s that will be perfect for a road rack for band/orchestra recordings that I am working on. The Europa 1 is the newest one getting all the great reviews
Then there is the Crane Song Ltd. Avocet IIA Monitor controller with Quantum D/A “I want, I need, I got to have it, Santa. PLEASE.” For producers who can’t mix (that’s me) we need to ship our projects off to be mixed – so now our home listening environment must be great. Dave this will make my home studio complete so I’ll be stalking you. www.davehilldesigns.com
7) NEVE what else do you need to know. They now have a rack of 8 mic-pres that plug right into Dante the RMP-D8 Three of those and you have 24 channels of pres to go. The vintage sound of NEVE flying through the current technology of Dante. www.rupertneve.com
8) BOSE Professional – I love any company that is engineering to solve problems instead of copying someone else. Last year at NAMM, BOSE featured the new S1Pro the ultimate coffee shop/busking/backyard personal PA. Two Channels with reverb and a third Bluetooth channel that fits in a backpack and weighs 18 pounds with an 11-hour battery life so you can literally play all night long without a plug. I bought one right after the show and told every artist I knew about it. This year I’m buying two more plus their T8 8 channel mixer so I can run in stereo and I got one for my brother’s real estate presentations. I am also getting two for the High School and the Studio in Boston is getting a pair. That’s 6 and counting.
The studio and the high school are both getting F1 Model 812s with F1 Subwoofers. I have a music conference and festival and we got to use one of the first pair of F1’s for our Springboard South (Wine Festival Stage). They sounded great and two years later we used them at the Heinen Theater in Houston for the same event. This year in San Diego, Springboard West was sponsored by BOSE, so there were F1s, L1s and S1Pros used together and separately. Good news the F1s tops are now on sale. https://www.guitarcenter.com/Bose/F1-Model-812-Flexible-Array-Loudspeaker-Pair.gc
Both the Stregga studio in Boston and HSPVA will be just like Noah’s Ark with two of everything. (2) F1 812s, (2) F1 Subs, (2) L1s with Subs and (2) S1Pros. Think of it as PA Transformers. 6 PA’s that can combine to make a great big sound system big enough to play an outdoor stage in the park.
More from Mr. Coffing: “That’s all I could fit into the space but I love gear and I will keep you posted.”
Our most robust program is Band Bootcamp, the series of professional development panels we hold for the performers chosen to play at each annual Springboard Festival. Earlier this month, we threw our third Springboard West Festival in the sublime Ocean Beach, CA neighborhood in San Diego. We had 48 solid artists on the bill (chosen from more than 3000 submissions!).
All of them (and only them) are invited to participate in intimate events that feature world class managers, producers, songwriters…you name the music industry vertical that could help a working musician and we had a ton of apex representatives from that arena.
Last year’s panels yielded placements in film and tv, song collaborations between artists that are charting as you read this. Plus a slew of management and production deals.
What’s going to come out of 2019? We’ll let you know via #springboardeffect. This is our ninth year of working with Springboard Festivals on Band Bootcamp and, man, they just keep evolving. We’ve dreamed and worked hard to present an event that supports artists and we’re grateful when we receive feedback like the Facebook post to your right. Read it through and anyone would be hard-pressed to argue that we aren’t making an impact. Which, of course, is exactly what we’re looking for.
A good number of performers have recently been brought to our attention through past performers. This clear endorsement strengthens our resolve to keep growing this amazing community.
Next stop: Memphis in June. Stay tuned for more details.
Opened for One Republic in front of 50k fans
Of Sea & Stone
Management Deal & Sponsorship
Opening Slot on Ok!Go! Tour
Production Deal & Opening Act
Millions of Instagram Listens
Radio Play & Interview
Manager, “American Idol”
J Shep & Standard
Live TV Performance & Interview
Song placed in the hit TV show “Grownish”
Love Past Blue
Signed to Guns N’ Roses manager & Slot on Warped Tour
Multiple Endorsement Deals
Ships Have Sailed
Producing A Single
Love Past Blue
Management, Production Deal & Documentary
Radio Play & Interview
Film Placement (End Title)
Radio Play & Interview
Aaron & Ashten
Radio Play & Interview
Radio Play & Interview
Management, Balcony TV
Radio Play & Interview
Featured on Fox’s “Showtime At The Apollo”
Landed recording/producing in Nashville by Billy Smiley (5 time Grammy Award Nominee & co-writer on 27 #1 hit songs)
Signed to Elsium
UK Radio Play & Film Placement
Fifty Dollar Dynasty
Radio Play & Interview, Film Placement
Balcony TV, Radio Play & Interview
A Tribute To The Sun
Steamboat Amp Endorsement
That Boy Zarius
Radio Play & Interview
Film Placements, Radio Play & Interview
Radio Play & Interview
Opened for Little Big Town and Hunter Hayes
Major Label Distribution
Mixing by Dale Pennar
Reality Show & Fender Endorsement
Radio Play & Interview
M16 & The Full Moon Wolves
3 Film Placements
Curse & Cure
Radio Play & Interview
Film Placements, Radio Play & Interview
Avenue Of The Giants
Fifty Dollar Dynasty
Production Deal, Radio Play & Interview
COMPOSER CORNER: Michelle Qureshi
When writing an article for Wegetmusic, there is always this impulse in me to look for a blockbuster composer. Who wrote the most badass music this month? Whose music was featured in an ad or movie recently? Which one of those artists has the most exposure? But there is a massive cognitive dissonance when I approach these interviews in such a manner. Because most of the time, these composers wrote pieces specifically for the purpose of scoring a scene or movie and I rarely listen to them during my day to day tasks. Maybe because I compare my own skillset with theirs, or maybe because their music lacks a certain amount of freedom and serenity, that I desperately look for in my own life and in my own music. So what I kind of music do I listen to? I listen to Michelle Qureshi. Almost daily actually. A composer who joined our database several years ago and who initially approached me to get feedback on her craft. Back then I realized, that she was incredibly talented and most of the time I gave her advice on production quality and tension building. Little did I know back then, that she would be scoring my own life years later. She writes music to wake up to in the morning, to calm down after a busy day of work. And to find peace even in the most insane and hectic hours of the day.
Michelle, please tell me about your education and biography. Which instruments did you learn during which part of your life and how did they affect you? What brought you to creating music in the first place? I grew up in a family that enjoyed listening to music but we weren’t particularly musical. Yet even when I spotted toy guitars in any shops, or a guitar in someone’s home, there was that spark of connection! So at thirteen I saved up my money to buy my first guitar and embark on the role of an enthusiastic self-taught guitarist. I learned primarily by listening to guitar legends of rock and pop, being influenced by The Beatles, and other bands and solo artists, like Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, Mike Oldfield, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, Pat Metheny and Leo Kottke. But I also aspired toward a more expansive understanding of music. Initially I started my undergraduate work in Psychology, but a few semesters in I recognized my need for creative expression, so I changed my course of study and started out, at twenty, as a beginning classical guitar student in pursuit of the discipline and ultimate creativity that a formal music education promised. I graduated, with honors, with Bachelor and Master of Music degrees. Exposure to classical music and jazz at college, as well as discovering a love of music from many different parts of the world, brought a new level of influence to my music. Studying the music of Bach, Mozart, Brahms and the great tradition of Western Classical music, together with indigenous music traditions from across the globe, and several contemporary composers whose music is often heard in film scores, such as Ennio Morricone, Michael Nyman, Philip Glass, Johann Johannsson, Omar Khairat, and A.R. Rahman, inspired and enhanced my musical worldview. There was a long period of time where my life was not outwardly involved with music but after I had my daughter it began to trickle back in, initially as a language of love I wished to teach her and eventually as she grew up, I discovered this new desire to compose the music I was hearing and feeling from within. That’s when I remembered the power of music and its great potential to unite, connect, and touch us all, and I now share my music as both a composer and performer.
In your music lies an ocean of serenity. Your music has the power to calm us down, when nothing else can. Please tell us about your writing process and how these emotions are transferred through your music. First of all thank you for experiencing the peace and tranquillity my music offers. I guess you could say my pieces are stories drawn from my imagination but carved out of my own inner emotional landscape. Life experience also shapes my music a lot, mirroring that familiar oscillation between love and fear, but always striving for more of the former. In stressful times I’ve been known to take refuge in a good pair of headphones. Music just amazes me in that way it has of caressing our ears en route to touching us so deeply inside. There are a lot of images and photos of nature on your facebook feed, that you took during hikes. In how far does nature specifically influence your writing process? By now I’ve lived in many places and many settings and I’ve had the opportunity to see a decent amount of the world. I find myself at this stage able to spend some time walking in a nearby forest a few days a week and it’s so inspiring. I think all creative people honor the wonder and awe of the world around us. So now I have this, which sweetly reminds me of the time where we lived when I was thirteen, with that first guitar, beside the woods sand dunes along Lake Michigan.
Please finish the following sentences and give descriptions in your own words: Music is …. Music in its fundamental form of sound is present at our very core. The breath, the heartbeat, all vibration reveals that. I often draw inspiration from Sufi poets and so I’ll share this: “Many say that life entered the human body by the help of music, but the truth is that life itself is music.” ~Hafiz
My deepest musical experience was … As a performer, I play small, intimate venues. In that setting my deepest musical experiences can happen often. It’s that moment when I finish a piece and the energy of connection just hangs in that silence!
My own music helps me to …. When I’m creating music I’m in a timeless state that can be quite blissful. And if I’ve successfully captured that, as well as the emotional aspects of the piece, hearing the music can deliver that joy to me again, if I allow myself to listen purely for the impact of it, without the inner critic being engaged.
My favorite instrument I use for writing music is …. because ….. My favorite instrument I use for writing has first to be my ears because I’m always hearing what comes next. My other favorite would be guitar because of its portability and being able to explore sounds on the instrument in any room in the house or outside or really anywhere.
My daily routine … supports my writing process because …. Essentially my work day follows a weekday schedule of seeing off my husband and daughter to work and school then either shifting to my practice room or studio, with touching on the business aspects of my music in terms of social media, promotion and seeking playing opportunities in between. I generally follow where my creative impulse takes me on any given day, and if it’s to the practice room it’s going to be about guitar, focusing on new ideas. A few times a week I’ll capture videos of guitar improvisations to post on my social media sites. I consider these ideas seeds for new works and my album Short Stories is a perfect example of shifting from my practice room with a handful of ideas into my studio to record an album. Other times my studio time means developing ideas from pieces that start with sounds I love created from electronic instruments, layering synths and exploring how acoustic and electronic instruments can be woven into complementary textures. But whatever the sound source is, I think one thing that’s present in my music is that I’m always in a state of wonder and discovery as I write; I’m genuinely excited or searching or curious about where a piece is going and how it’s going to get there as both an observer and a creator. I generally have from morning until early afternoon for my studio and practice times, with occasional afternoon gigs, and then I shift back to mom/wife roles. But of course things overlap. I’ve spent a few years now listening to my pieces in progress while hiking in the woods during my daughter’s daily after school rowing practice at Eagle Creek Reservoir here in Indianapolis. It provides a kind of forest bathing for me, which is mind-clearing and peaceful. On the weekends I often have a gig and I’ve recently begun presenting my sound immersions at yoga studios, using guitars with my Music as Metaphor singing bowls, gongs, didgeridoo, flutes, etc. Each activity enhances the other and I’m thrilled to have the time and space to indulge my creativity.
In my opinion the best piece I ever wrote was … I struggle with these kinds of questions, choosing a “best” or “favorite” and I tease with my daughter that this is why she’s an only child! But truly I think it’s not been written yet. With my latest album, Silver Chord, I’m getting closer, but it’s rare to listen and be completely content my own pieces.
I write music because…. Besides just being something I am so passionate about, I find that music is such a pure form of expression and a beautiful way of communication that can be received by all and in many ways. I like to write music that invites deep listening, that in turn reveals something new each time.
You can find Michelle Qureshi online at: