With only minutes to get the right message across, the soundtrack has a lot of heavy lifting to do.
And its job is never the same.
Sometimes the music is front and center – driving the creative.
One perfect lyric could be the tagline for a client’s entire campaign.
Sometimes its job is more subtle — but just as vital.
Like music layered quietly under a voiceover to create the perfect vibe for an entire piece.
Whichever its task, it always drives a narrative.
It always tells some story.
And it always evokes emotion.
When you hire professional musicians to create a custom soundtrack, you’re inviting them to help tell your story.
It’s a big responsibility. And it’s an honor to be trusted with the job.
It’s also smart of you. Because musicians are great storytellers.
Why We Want to See Your Face: The Benefits of Doing A Music Search Together
For us to help you, first we need to understand your story. And we need to understand the way you want to tell it.
How do we do that?
We’ve found that hands down, there is one way that works best.
It’s the fastest, most efficient, and most rewarding way to collaborate on a composition with a client.
What is it?
The simple act of listening together, In Real Time (IRT).
It’s not always possible to meet IRL (In Real Life). But we do have the technology to meet face-to-face — no matter what.
And that’s one of our biggest secrets for success.
Clear and Honest Communication Wins Every time
It may sound quaint, but there really is no substitute for one-on-one communication.
A little human contact goes a long, long way…
Ever regret having an important conversation via text?
You can’t read tone. You can’t see facial expressions. You waste time going back and forth trying to clarify what you mean. Usually, at least one person ends up frustrated, dissatisfied, and unheard.
That’s what doing a music search without “IRT” is like.
There’s no reason it has to be that way.
We can say that with complete confidence, because —like much of the world — we’ve become recent Zoom pros. We’ve found time and time again that you can collaborate faster “in person” — even online.
That’s because communication flows more easily when you and your music team do a music search together.
You can fine-tune that perfect message… that ultimate tagline… that certain vibe… until it’s tweaked *just* right.
There’s a flow of creative energy that ebbs and builds when you work In Real Time.
Opus Orange has just released their incredible new single, Breaking Mirrors. Mixed by Tucker Martine (Modest Mouse, Sufjan Stevens, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Neko Case and more) and Masterd by Doug Van Sloun (Focus Mastering), Breaking Mirrors is a true indie-rock anthem. Directed by Bernard Chadwick (Loud Forest), the video puts the usually camera-shy frontman, PB, front and center. In Bernard’s own words, the video is “a poetic montage of what it feels like to try to break free from a certain kind of anxiety.” Watch the video below and make sure to like, comment, and share across all social media platforms.
Katie Hampton: Vocals
James Neil: Drums
Alex Strahle: Electric Guitar
Carlen Walth: Bass
Tucker Martine: Mixing Engineer
Doug Van Sloun: Mastering Engineer
Tanner Teale: Artwork
Can You Really Nail the Right Creative on “Just A Demo?”
We’ll be blunt: Nope.
Not with the “traditional” way most people work anyway.
First off, it’s never “just a demo.”
Or at least it shouldn’t be.
Unless of course you like to waste time, throw money out the window, and dwell in a frustrating swamp of miscommunication.
But are there some concrete ways to squeeze the most juice out of the initial discovery session for a new project?
We’re so glad you asked.
Because we’ve fine-tuned super successful strategic hacks that save our clients time, money, and frustration.
Through careful planning, and a meticulously crafted vision…
Oh, who are we kidding.
Through trial and error, a whole lot of wasted time, and a bunch of expensive mistakes― we finally figured out what works.
Since PB needs a break from belting misquoted 80s lyrics in the bathroom and Schultz is waiting on his espresso delivery, we figured we’d take a minute to share a few insights.
Hopefully this sneak peek into our process helps you the next time you’re ready to collaborate on a custom composition for your next project.
We hope these tips help you in the quest for conceiving the perfect creative. We think they can make music-making more productive, more economical, and less frustrating.
They certainly did for us and our clients.
How one tweak changed everything
Once we made this one, small change in how we approached a project, everything else kinda fell in line.
In hindsight, it should have been more obvious.
But since we constantly see so many others still making the same mis-step, we figured it was time to speak up and share some insight.
Hack #1: Shift the Communication Model
Maybe you’ve already heard this famous quote: “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
Kinda sums up round after round (after round… after round… after round…) of passing digital files back and forth with a new client.
Being able to translate words and musical descriptions into someone’s actual creative vision is mostly an art. But what if you could turn it into a science?
You can. In fact, that’s exactly what we did.
We created a process so simple, it’s almost silly.
Look, it’s unavoidable that creating the right custom soundtrack for someone else starts out by playing some twisted musical version of Marco Polo.
But if we only took stabs in the dark, we’d create a lot of unnecessary grief for the whole team. And likely a lot of frustration for our clients.
That’s why we threw “industry norms” out the window and started following our gut instincts.
How? We skip the back and forth demo bullshit and work together with our clients from the start.
Because as you’ve probably experienced yourself, *trying* to interpret what another human means can take a lot of time-consuming trial and error.
Why not start making music in real time, and give instant feedback ―before your hired gun runs miles and miles down the wrong road?
We’ll go a little deeper into our process in our next blog, so keep your eyes peeled for more specific tips on how to start benefiting from this tweak yourself.
Honestly, we’re kinda surprised someone else didn’t think of this before us. It’s a game changer.
Hack #2: Trust Your Composer’s Genius – It’s What You’re Paying Them For
If you wanted some generic, pre-packaged, boring filler, you wouldn’t have hired a pro in the first place.
After all, with today’s technology it’s not like you don’t have a hundred other options.
(It goes without saying your go-to team needs to check their egos at the door before they even think about walking into the studio. After all, they’re not creating their own personal opus. Their #1 job is to bring your vision to life. This should be a given.)
But remember, you did reach out to a bona-fide artist for a reason.
Never underestimate their unique ability to help get you where you dream to be. They have a trained ear and particular skill set lost on non-musicians.
Look for someone who owns that. Humbly.
Hack #3: Don’t Sweat Having the “Perfect” Musical Lexicon.
It’s impossible, so don’t spend too much time stressing over it.
When it comes to describing music, there really isn’t one right or wrong way to do it.
One person’s “brighter guitars” is another person’s “can you make this more pop-y?”
Very few folks share any common definitions when it comes to talking about their musical vision.
We guarantee your composer has heard the same words you think are vivid, specific, and clear to describe pretty much the opposite of what you actually want.
Here’s the good news: you don’t have to stress over finding the perfect descriptive adjective.
Remember, our unique gift as musicians is that we’re blessed with the ability to hear things differently than other people.
It’s how we bring your artistic vision to life. We have the power to read through the musical lines and dig out that sonic gold you’ve been trying to mine.
Once we get to know your particular vocabulary, we’ll have a shortcut to getting you the sound you want – faster and more accurately.
But we never make the fatal mistake that any musical lexicon is universal. To get the right track, we figure out our client’s unique dictionary every time.
Want More Words of Wisdom from Emoto Music?
We hope those three tips help you birth creative visions faster, easier, and cheaper.
Want more insight on how to get the best custom commercial music made? Have a mistaken 80s song lyric you need corrected? Need tips on brewing the perfect espresso?
Make sure you’re on our mailing list. We’re gonna be coming at you with more hard-learned tips, unsolicited advice, and commercial music-making gold.
If you’ve been watching the new PeopleTV show, then you’ve heard some Emoto magic! PB worked with Warner Chapell Music on the new intro theme for PeopleTV. It’s funky, it’s fun and it’s just *perfect* for the show. Make sure to catch it streaming for free, weeknights at 7:00 PM ET.
Here’s something cool from 2020 we at Emoto can reflect back fondly on – Emoto Alumn (both intern; then staff composer), Ryan Elder, keeps taking the torch higher and higher. We’ve always known his work on Rick and Morty was award-winningly stellar, and in 2020 the show garnered more accolades with it’s 2nd Emmy win for Outstanding Animated Program. We’re just waiting to see what more the Academy has in store for Ryan in the years to come. Congratulations Ryan!
Columbia Sportswear new “Warm Smarter” campaign was a tight collaboration between Emoto Music, 740 Sound and San Francisco-based, 215 McCANN. Produced in real-time on a Zoom final recording session, these spots feature various curious critters crashing on your favorite campsites.
Clif Bar & Company and Emoto Music have partnered again to create Clif’s new “Sustained Energy” campaign, featuring tennis phenom Venus Williams and USWNT legend, Megan Rapinoe. Written by Stuart Rau and arranged by Paul Bessenbacher, the music puts viewers right in the middle of the action. These spots are sure to get you out of your seat!
Emoto Music teamed up with Merkley + Partners advertising agency to develop “Fortune Teller,” as part of Mercedes-Benz USA’s 2020 ad campaign. Co-written by Alex Kovacs and Paul Bessenbacher, with sound design by 740 Sound, Emoto’s contribution fully captures the mystery of the car buying experience. Check out the spot below!
When we’re not closing down Sunday brunch’s, mixologizing (made up) variations on the Vieux Carre or baking sourdough bread from hundred-year old starter, you’ll likely find us at any of the local farmer’s markets. Local, in season and keeping small farmers afloat is one of our many passions. So imagine how thrilled we were to have the opportunity to work with Serena Creative on a package of public service announcements for Food Forward – “fighting hunger and preventing food waste by rescuing fresh surplus produce, connecting this abundance with people in need and inspiring others to do the same”.
Check out the :60 spot directed by Ric Serena, music by PB, mixed by Durand Trench, location sound by Stan Gonzales!
Having to keep this hush-hush during production, we are now thrilled to share our Twilight Zone Super Bowl promo for the upcoming reboot with Jordan Peele, premiering on CBS All Access. With the internet all atwitter immediately after it aired, the video racked up over 1M views in under a day.
Directed by Ric Serena with sound design by Durand Trench, PB’s mysterious score alludes throughout to the iconic Twilight Zone theme, culminating at the end with the original theme as we all know it.
NOATAK: Return to the Arctic, from frequent collaborators The Muir Project, was recently featured on National Geographic as part of their Short Film Highlight series. Emoto Music’s Paul Bessenbacher and Matt Bowen scored the short film which made its run on the festival circuit back in 2016 starting with the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Later appearances included the Wild & Scenic Film Festival Tour, Dances With Films, and G2 Green Earth Film Festival.
Check out the video below to watch the short film in its entirety or click the link to read the article:
Artist Robert Townsend, subject of the latest documentary from director Ric Serena, was featured in the March 30 issue of LA Weekly. The three-page article highlights the recent success of the documentary on the film festival circuit and details Townsend’s background and career.
“The unveiling of serendipitous events surrounding the project, coupled with the film’s original score (composed by Paul Bessenbacher of Opus Orange and Matt Bowen)… touches on inspiration, connection and the journey of our belongings after we’re gone.”
The documentary, which features an original soundtrack composed by Emoto Music’s Paul Bessenbacher and Matt Bowen, has already won the Audience Award for Best Short Documentary at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival and will be showing at several other film festivals this year, including:
Beverly Hills Film Festival: April 6, 7:15PM
NYC Independent Film Festival: Producer’s Club Theater S, May 10, 4:45PM
American Documentary Film Festival in Palm Springs
Florida Film Festival
Read the full article, starting on page 15, here at LA Weekly or check out the trailer to the documentary below.
This project for MoMA with WAX Studios in NYC is a promo for the upcoming show “ITEMS: Is Fashion Modern” on display from October 1 through January 28. The show examines the present, past—and sometimes the future—of 111 items of clothing and accessories that have had a strong impact on the world in the 20th and 21st centuries—and continue to hold currency today.
The score uses only sounds from the fashion world – coat hangers, leather belts, scissors, cloth tears, velcro rips, sewing machine, high heels, perfume spray. The sounds were sourced from One Thousand Birds and organized into music by our very own Paul Bessenbacher.
Emoto’s Paul Bessenbacher partnered with LA drummer John Robinson (Daft Punk, Quincy Jones, Micheal Jackson) on this latest spot for Cox Extreme Internet from Doner Detroit. Cartwheels, backflips, hoverboards, trampolines and banister slides all in one continuous take.
Emoto’s Paul Bessenbacher worked with director, Dave Meyers and Dolly Singh, founder and CEO of Thesis Couture on their latest NSFW film: The status quo is no longer acceptable to the women of this generation. We must elevate our expectations, to elevate our experience. We must Break Through and find our thrones.
Emoto Music’s Paul Bessenbacher is partnering with Matt Bowen to compose the soundtrack to a new documentary titled “My Indiana Muse.” This project is another collaboration with director Ric Serena and tells the story of artist Robert Townsend as he makes a deeper connection with the subject of his series of large paintings.
Check out the trailer to the documentary below, featuring PB’s score.
Emoto Music’s latest commercial, “Ready to Play,” developed in collaboration with BBDO Atlanta was featured in AdWeek. The PSA, created for Baseball for All, features a beautifully re-arranged acoustic recording of John Fogerty’s classic, “Centerfield.” This project featured Emoto’s Paul Bessenbacher serving as Arranger and Paul Schultz as Executive Producer.
Check out the spot below or read the full article on AdWeek here.
Emoto Music lent it’s talents to frequent collaborators, The Muir Project, for their latest release NOATAK: Return to the Arctic which is now available on Vimeo in 4K. Scored by Emoto’s Paul Bessenbacher and Matt Bowen, this short film premiered at the 2016 Banff Mountain Film Festival and has screened with the Wild & Scenic Film Festival Tour, Dances With Films and most recently the G2 Green Earth Film Festival!
Directed & Shot by Jason Fitzpatrick, Jen Serena & Ric Serena
Emoto composer Paul Bessenbacher & composer Matt Bowen have scored “NOATAK: Return to the Arctic”, a new short film brought to you by The Muir Project – the creative team behind Mile… Mile & A Half. The film was dreamt up and directed by Jen Serena & Ric Serena of Serena Creative & Jason Fitzpatrick. NOATAK will premier at Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival in Toronto Canada in the coming weeks. Check out the teaser below and stay tuned for a release date!
35 years after their first visit to the Noatak River in Alaska’s wild and spectacular Brooks Range, two adventurers in their 70’s reflect on a lifetime of outdoor experiences and what still awaits them.
Sheet music to the solo piano album, Equilibrium, recently released by Emoto featured artist Opus Orange is now available for FREE download! Learn your favorite songs – all you need is a printer and a piano.
Emoto composer Paul Bessenbacher has scored the music for “Czappa” a short documentary directed by Ric Serena of Serena Creative and The Muir Project. The seven-minute film features Bill Czappa, a television repairman by profession and object-sculpture artist by passion, who’s repair shop doubles as a gallery displaying over 70 works of his “California Assemblage” styled artwork. Opus Orange “Bloom” is also featured in the short, fresh from their latest release Equilibrium.
Emoto Music is thrilled to announce that we have been selected as finalists under two categories at the 2015 AMP Awards for Music and Sound! The winners will be announced at the AMP Awards celebration in NYC on May 5th.
Emoto teamed up with BBDO NY Creative Director Greg Hahn, SVP Director of Music & Radio Production Rani Vaz, and Executive Producer Diane Hill to create a sentimental spot for GE focused on the evolution of ideas. The GE “Ideas” arrangement, composed by Steve Hampton, features a full orchestra led by Mark Robertson of Allegro Entertainment and is a 2015 AMP finalist for Best Original Score.
Emoto worked alongside The Escape Pod agency’s Executive Producer Ken Kwiatt, Producer Mary Ann Holecek, Executive Creative Director Vinny Warren, and Creative Directors Kurt Lenard and Matt Wilcox to bring Toys R Us a new theme composed by Paul Bessenbacher of Emoto featured artist Opus Orange which is a 2015 AMP finalist for Most Effective Sonic Branding.
The G2 Film Festival in Venice, CA will open with a sold-out screening of Mile… Mile & A Half this Friday, October 17th at 1503 Abbot Kinney Blvd featuring an after screening performance by Emoto featured artist Opus Orange.
Mile… Mile & A Half follows a team of artists as they set out to hike the John Muir Trail, recording their experience. The film was directed by Ric Serena and Jason M. Fitzpatrick and was scored by Opus Orange members Paul Bessenbacher and Bernard Chadwick.
The event is sponsored by Samy’s Camera, South End Venice, and Angel City Brewing. Screening begins at 6:30PM, cocktail party and filmmaker meet and greet begin at 8:00PM.
Keep up to date with Opus Orange via Facebook to hear about events and get tickets first.