Podcast

Episode 12: Eric Kalver – Understand What The Product Is

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This week I’m talking with music supervisor, composer and drummer Eric Kalver.  Eric is in L.A. and stays extremely busy currently working for the video game publisher Activision. When he’s not finding cool songs to put into video games, he is either composing music or playing drums in a bunch of different bands around L.A. He took time out to talk with me about his journey from being a magician’s assistant (yes, you read that correctly) to being one of the top music supervisors in L.A.
Show Notes:
Sponsors: Edenbrooke Productions – We offer consulting services and are offering listeners a 1-hour introductory special. To request more info on consulting services, email Marty at contact@johnmartinkeith.com.
Talking Points:

*Eric grew up in a family of magicians.

*Check out The Amazing Eric and Bozo on You Tube.

*I went to Berklee School of Music for drumming and began taking arranging classes.

*I realized by doing arranging that would help me stick out of the crowd.

*A “lead sheet” is a music chart that is condensed so that it’s easy to read and on just a page or two so the whole band can read off the same sheet.

*I moved to L.A. sooner than I planned because people told me that the jobs would be gone if I waited.

*My first job in L.A. came because my father knew someone who produced the Daytime Emmy Awards and got me a job as a production assistant, moving chairs and sets and getting people where they needed to be.

*That got me work doing other entertainments jobs through the same company for about 3 months while I looked for music jobs.

*I was able to email and connect with a person from Berklee who lived in L.A. and eventually got me work as a copyist.

“Copyist work” has to do with the sheet music that is being played by an orchestra or player.

*I would take the master score the orchestrator was working with and I would extract the parts from the master score using a computer program called Finale.

*In Finale I would go into each instrument part and “clean it up” once it was extracted from the main score.

“Clean it up” meaning the spacing of the notes, making sure the notes make sense when you read them, cleaning up the dynamics, making sure things aren’t all over the place.

*A “copyist” is like a proof reader for a book editor.

*Having a network of like minded people who do the same kind of work as you who, if you get along with them and they trust your work ethic, then you can be recommended for jobs in the future.

*When networking, instead of offering my card to someone, it’s best if I get a person’s business card so they are the top of my mind and I can follow up with them because I may not be on the top of their mind.

*It’s better not to talk about the thing you want to network about until the other person brings it up.

*It’s all about “the hang.”

*Because of my Berklee connections I found a composer looking for an assistant. I got hired by Brian Tyler who worked on the Fast and Furious movies and Avengers: Age of Ultron.

*I didn’t study composing in college but I needed a job and was willing to learn and since Hollywood is a film scoring town, I applied for the job and I got it.

*When you’re an assistant to a composer, it’s not necessarily a job where you’re doing music the whole time.

*My job was more of an administrative job when I started. I was picking up laundry and lunch and running errands. That’s part of the job. They don’t tell you in school how to arrange the food and do hospitality, how to treat clients who are coming into the studio, etc.

*Attention to detail is important.

*Taking care of these details can prove to your boss that you can handle bigger tasks later on.

*Now, if I’m hiring a musician and they aren’t easy to hang out with it’s just not going to work.

*I got to do some orchestrating on the movies Fast Five and Skyline.

*As an orchestrator I was taking instrument parts and deciding how to split up chords that the composer created with the instrument.

*I eventually moved on and got a job at Alfred Music Publishing which is one of the main music education sheet music publishers.

*I got that job because of another connection from Berklee.

*I was the Choral Production Editor which meant I would take sheet music and proof read it for grammatical and musical errors.

*It’s another administrative job. I was helping organize the releases of choral music and helping create the covers with InDesign and editing the text.

*Through building relationships with the editors at Alfred Music Publishing and them learning what I went to school for, I got some percussion ensemble arrangements published through Alfred for Star Wars music.

*I did a Star Wars Themes Medley and Star Wars Cantina band for xylophone, marimbas, drums, bass, bells, mallets, etc.

*Then I learned about music supervision and applied to jobs and got hired as a music coordinator for a one stop shop.

* “One Stop Shop” means the company represents both “the master recording” and “the publishing” of a song. So the clearance process is very easy where I just reach out to one company who can approve both sides and it’s a relatively fast clearance process.

*I got that job at Heavy Hitters Music, not because of my musical background but from my administrative background at Alfred Music Publishing and for film composers doing copyist work and orchestrating.

*When I first started working for Heavy Hitters I was pitching music for the library to music supervisors, doing searches, guiding the company’s writers to help them know what we needed written.

*I then found a job at Activision through a referral. Now I was on the choosing side where before I was on the pitching side.

*Now I’m looking at budgets and terms, researching songs to find out where the ownership splits are.

*It’s like detective work.

*I then worked at Music and Strategy which is a company this is hired by ad agencies or specific brands as a hired music department to help with song clearance, creative ideas, negotiations, etc.

*I was working with big ad agencies creatively as well as clearance.

*Ad agency work is around the clock.

*I recently went back to Activision as a music supervisor and now I handle the music for the trailers, in game uses, internal uses, anything music related for the company.

*The music supervisor is the gate keeper to get your music in the door at a company but is not the final say. There are multiple people like directors and producers, etc. above me that have to like the music too.

*When you send an email to people like me you have to keep it short and sweet. Get to the point and tell me what you do. We are busy and don’t have time to read long emails.

*If you’re going to pitch music, you need to understand what the product is.

*What are some tips and advice for getting your foot in the door in the types of jobs you’ve had?

*Getting administrative skills down is very important to become a music coordinator. Knowing how to use Microsoft Word, Excel, knowing how to write an email and spell words correctly.

*You have to be able to do these things clearly because you’re writing to people requesting music rights, etc. so you have to be organized and have templates and spreadsheets with the status of where you are in the process.

*It comes back to networking and being a valid person that someone will vouch for you to get into these positions.

*When you’re trying to get into the music industry, you will have to do jobs that are not music related and that’s okay.

*It takes time. It’s hard work and stuff you didn’t expect to do but it all means something and can lead to something in the future

*www.erickalver.com
Raised by a family of magicians (seriously), Eric already had stage, TV, and radio experience by age 5. At age 11, the discovery of The Beatles and the movie “That Thing You Do” inspired him to become a drummer. 20 years later, he still gets to live the dream of working in music.

Eric wears multiple hats in the industry. He’s the Music Supervisor at Activision Blizzard, working on games such as Call of Duty, Overwatch, Spyro, and Guitar Hero. He is a published arranger, a composer, and a regularly gigging drummer playing in multiple groups that perform all around the Los Angeles area.

You can regularly see Eric playing drums for Baby Wants Candy at Upright Citizens Brigade, weddings and corporate events with Business Time Entertainment, live band karaoke with The Moon Units,, and on the Netflix comedy special, Todd Glass: Act Happy.

Episode 11: Hope Thal – Make Sure People Know You Exist

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This week I am talking with my friend and co-writer Hope Thal who lives in L.A.  She is a great film composer who has worked on multiple indie projects and is now on staff at Joy Music House which offers music preparation, orchestrating, and everything else that goes into creating a great score. Hope is also currently working behind the scenes on a top secret t.v. show for Dreamworks. We met when she was a guest speaker for a course I was taking and I reached out to her about writing together for tv and film projects. Thankfully she said yes and now we get to talk about her journey that has led her to this moment.  I know you will be encouraged by her story!
Show Notes:

Sponsors: Edenbrooke Productions – We offer consulting services and are offering listeners a 1-hour introductory special. To request more info on consulting services, email Marty at contact@johnmartinkeith.com.
Talking Points:

*Make sure you’re always doing something that you like and that you’re good at when you’re trying to become a professional musician.

*It helps to be able to say I did this ten episode web series, people don’t even have to see it to already feel like “Oh because you’re doing something, I feel that if somebody hired you then there’s more hope to hire you than if I hadn’t done anything.”

*Relationships are a skill you have to develop.

*Having boldness and a tasteful manner is very important.

*It says a lot when you’re just willing to put yourself out there.

*Be persistent.

*It’s okay to keep asking when things are getting rescheduled, they’re not trying to avoid you.

*Check out Catch The Moon Music.

*Never say “no.” You’ll figure it out as you go.

“Spotting Session” – Sitting with the executive producer to watch the show and talk about the score. When is the music in and out, deciding if the temp music works or if it needs to replaced.

*My job is to take notes during the session and make the time code and make sure I’ve gotten everything they’ve talked about so that composers can just engage with the director or executive producer without having to write anything down.

*After the composers create the music, I add all the music into Logic and do a Quicktime movie for pass number one, then send it over for review, get notes and keep going back and forth until it’s where they want it.

*Occasionally I get to be the one doing the music editing.

*I do all the printing of the stems which is taking the entire episode and separating all the tracks for the mixing stage.

*I create lead sheets for the music which is writing out the melody line and chord chart from the audio.

*What I’m doing now will produce fruit later if I’m just patient and be the best that I can at everything I’m doing.

*What is some practical advice for scoring or composing or admin work?

*Get involved in the community of whatever you are doing.

*Most work has been through word of mouth, relationships, school, AWFC, Society of Composers and Lyricists.

*The work you’re doing may not pay bills now, but it will lead to opportunities in the future. Small steps.

*It takes an incredible amount of patience and trust that those are the results you’re going to get.

*Your talent is important but you have to put time and energy into making sure people know you exist.

*Patience and persistence!

*It takes time to build that career.

H.B. Thal website

 

Hope Bartimioli Thal (H.B. Thal) is a composer, songwriter and vocalist based out of Los Angeles. She studied classical voice at Grand Canyon University in Arizona before moving to LA to study Film Scoring at UCLA Extension. Since graduating in 2017 she has been writing on various independent projects including 2018 LA Live Festival Best Short film winner: Cat’s Outta the Bag.
She is a composer at Joy Music House, a score production company started by composer Catherine Joy which offers services including music preparation, orchestrating, and everything else that goes into creating a great score. In March, 2019 H.B. released a self titled 4 song EP on all platforms showcasing her skills as a songwriter as well as joining the administrative team of The AWFC (The Alliance for Women Film Composers), as the Director of Communications.
Hope has a passion for story telling through score and songwriting. Whether it is assisting other composers or working with filmmakers she loves to collaborate and be a part of bringing stories to life.

Episode 10: Jeremy Quarles (Part 2) – Foster Relationships and Have The Spirit To Want To Learn

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In part 2 of my conversation with Jeremy Quarles, we focus on road managing different bands and artists including his current position with Grammy and Dove Award winner Steven Curtis Chapman as well as the ins and outs of running live sound for shows.

Show notes:

Sponsors: Edenbrooke Productions – We offer consulting services and are offering listeners a 1-hour introductory special. To request more info on consulting services, email Marty at contact@johnmartinkeith.com.

Talking Points:

*What steps did you take to let people know that you wanted to transition into road managing?

*I learned a lot about road managing from Francesca Battistelli’s road manager Greg Lee. I watched him road manage her while I was doing production.

*When your road managing, there’s nobody to learn from because you’re doing the job. So that time was really instrumental to me because I was able to learn how to best do it.

*Greg Lee also worked for Streamlined Event Agency who’s main task is producing tours and they put road managers out on various tours. He was able to offer me a job road managing for some tours, short runs and one offs that the company produced.

*I also contacted other road managers that I knew and told them that I was moving into road managing and just letting people know that’s the direction I was heading.

*You can’t be afraid to let people know those things and ask for those things.

*I took about a year and a half to make the transition completely from a production guy who could road manage to a road manager who could do production.

*It’s uncomfortable and it’s hard work.

*If you can do anything and be satisfied with your life, then you should probably do something else. But if you can’t, then you know the music industry is for you.

*Some artists I’ve worked with: Love and the Outcome, Brandon Heath, Sidewalk Prophets, Mandisa, Aaron Shust, Anthem Lights, Selah, Hawk Nelson.

*What does “advancing a show” mean? It’s everything you do leading up to a show. Being in constant contact with the venue. Making sure they’re going to have food for the artists and dressing rooms, green rooms and private restrooms for the band, especially in churches which are not set up to be event venues. And helping the promoter prepare for the artist coming in.

*It can also be providing the most updated stage plots and backline rider so they can be as ready as they can be for the band coming in with no surprises.

*Then as road manager, I go on the road with the artist to make sure all of those things are actually getting done.

*My goal when I’m on the road is to have nothing to do because everything is already done. It’s just managing and making sure the day happens as we have it set up. That way if something comes up, you have the capacity to handle it instead of doing things that should have already been done in advance.

*As road manager I am responsible for getting the payment check and making sure it is correct.

*I usually email the promoter the week before they are cutting checks to remind them of the amount we agreed to.

*A cash buyout is when the promoter gives money to each band and crew member so they can eat out somewhere instead of catering the event. The amount is usually around $15-20 for lunch and $25-30 for dinner per person.

*Once a tour was over and I needed more work, I would connect with artist managers and artists I knew which opened doors.

*Front of House (FOH) Engineering means running sound for the what the audience hears and you’re out with the audience at a mixing console.

*Monitor engineering means running sound for what the band hears on stage either in-ears or floor monitors and you’re working side stage from the band.

*What’s the difference in FOH and monitor engineering? For me, I can make 6 people happy easier than 6,000 people. Running monitors is mixing the levels of instruments for each band member in their ears or floor wedges. It’s about making the musician as comfortable as possible so they can play the best they can.

*For monitor engineers, simplicity is best. There is a baseline of how things sound good, but if you’re at that baseline, take it simple.

*I now work for Steven Curtis Chapman as road manager and production manager.

*I got that job after working on a Jason Gray tour and met one of the artists named Lindsay McCaul. Lindsay’s husband Mark Mattingly came to visit who worked for Creative Trust who managed SCC and he did their live events at the time. Over time we started attending Fellowship Bible Church where Lindsay is a worship leader and was able to reconnect with her and Mark. I did some road managing for Mark with other artists as well. Mark is now SCC’s manager and was looking for a dedicated road manger for SCC and Mark called me to see if I would be interested and I said yes.

*You meet all of these people along the way and God directs your paths in the way you’re supposed to go.

*Day to day tasks as road manager for Steven Curtis Chapman – Advancing shows, communicating with promoters about 4-6 weeks ahead of a show. Looking at the calendar and staying on top of travel, booking flights and making sure we get to where we need to go. Taking care of meal buyouts. Lot’s of communication with the promoters to get ready for the show.

*I’m also mixing FOH and monitors for SCC since it’s only him performing on this tour.

*I make sure the venue has all the production we need at the venue so it is a smooth day.

*When it comes to the sound system at a church, the booking agent will send out a rider that has minimum requirements and they have to sign off on it saying their system meets these requirements or they are planning on bring in an external sound company.

*Advice for getting into live audio production or road managing –

*Don’t be afraid to say no to things that aren’t going to move you forward to where you want to be.

*For audio engineering – contacting local companies if you want to do live sound. They are all over the country and do concerts and all kinds of events that need a sound system. Contact them and tell them you want to work and learn.

*Have the spirit to want to learn because you need to learn the business and you need to be the best at it so you can to be able to succeed.

*For road managing – Foster relationships and be willing to learn and put yourself out there.

*Peach and Pine Home.com – Interior design company my wife and I run. I am the project manager and director of content.

*Love Where You Live Podcast – home tip and tricks

Jeremy grew up just north of Atlanta, GA and has always had a love for music and an entrepreneurial spirit. In 2008, Jeremy moved from Atlanta to Nashville, where he attended Belmont University to study Audio Engineering and Music. Though many in the program were drawn to the studio, he found himself being drawn toward the road.

While finishing school, Jeremy began to work at a local audio company in Nashville, where he started working live events both in Nashville and abroad. Upon graduating, Jeremy worked his way up as an audio contractor working various tours and conferences and eventually started to work for artists mixing FOH and Monitors. While his passion for the music industry was strong, Jeremy’s passion for the production side of live events started to wane. This led to a time of self-discovery, in which he found a new passion – road managing.

Over a period of two years, Jeremy began to intentionally transition his focus from being an audio engineer who could road manage to being a road manager who could also mix. In addition to going on the road as a road manager, Jeremy also began advancing for artists he didn’t travel with as an “Advance Manager.” Since starting to work as a Road/Advance Manager, Jeremy has worked for many of the biggest names in Christian music, including:
Steven Curtis Chapman (current)
Third Day
Francesca Battistelli
Brandon Heath
Mandisa
Love & The Outcome
Sidewalk Prophets
The Afters
Christy Nockels
Meredith Andrews
Jason Gray
Aaron Shust
Anthem Lights
Selah
Hawk Nelson

Since late 2017, Jeremy has been the Road / Production Manager for Steven Curtis Chapman, which is his current position. They just completed over 100 shows on the “SCC Solo Tour.”
When Jeremy isn’t on the road, he is working as Project Manager and Director of Content at Peach and Pine Home, the interior design firm he and his wife, Chandler, own and operate. Their newest project is a podcast called “Love Where You Live,” a podcast about all-things interior design and home renovation. Golf is his favorite hobby, and his ideal afternoon includes a round of golf on a mostly sunny, 65 degree day and hanging out with his wife and close friends.

Episode 9: Jeremy Quarles (Part 1) – Learning How To Say No

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My good friend Jeremy Quarles and I visited recently to discuss his work in the music industry working with a sound company as a professional live sound engineer and also as a road manager and production manager for different artists and festivals.  In part 1 of our conversation we discuss how to go about getting a job working for production companies, the pros and cons being an independent contractor, building relationships that open doors for bigger opportunities and learning how to say “no” to things that distract from your true goals.

Show Notes:

Sponsors: Edenbrooke Productions – We offer consulting services and are offering listeners a 1-hour introductory special. To request more info on consulting services, email Marty at contact@johnmartinkeith.com.

Talking Points:

*I was classically trained on piano starting at 4 years old.

*I went to Belmont University and focused in audio engineering.

*During senior year of college I gravitated toward live sound and reached out to Spectrum Sound and worked part time prepping gear and learning what the live concert industry was.

*I offered to work for free just to learn.

*I became a contract worker after a short period of time and they would use me for shows when needed.

*What did you do at a show starting out? I was at the bottom loading and unloading, doing low level audio engineer jobs like making sure the cables are connected properly and signals are getting to all the consoles, etc.

*It takes a lot of organization and forethought knowing how the whole system works which is why it’s an entry level position. Because you are having to learn how everything works and getting that general overview of how the system works before you get into specializing into one thing.

*Contract work has advantages – Flexibility to pursue other interest and jobs when work is slow. You’re not tied down to one particular company or job.

*Contract work disadvantages – You’re not getting healthcare benefits, you don’t have a minimum salary so your budgeting is up in the air when shows are inconsistent.

*You can move up the ranks quickly from loading and unloading trucks to running sound for events as long as you pick up on it because there is always a lot of work with concerts and events especially in Nashville.

*I was doing different jobs from the patch where you’re coordinating all the inputs and outputs, to system tuning where you hang the P.A. and tune it for the front of house engineers coming in whether the band was bring someone in to run sound or if it was someone from Spectrum Sound. I was a stage tech helping the mix engineer for festivals, then I moved into mixing monitors and front of house for my own festival stage.

*I was making connections along the way with the tours and the bands I was working with.

*I was on the Rock and Worship Tour with Mercy Me and Jeremy Camp and some others and when you’re on the road for a long time, you get to know people and make connections.

*You’re not doing it to make connections but you’re always in each others mind when things come up in the future.

*The music industry is a small pocket of people.

*I had a friend who was a sound engineer and road manager who asked me to fill in for a couple of shows for Christy Nockels which was great because I wanted to get away from the technical side and more into the personal side working with artists and artist management. So this was a good opportunity to give it a try and see how it went.

*That is what turned my thinking into road managing.

*In Christian music a lot of people do more than one job on the road. A very common job for one person is front of house engineer and road manager.

*My first full time gig as road manager / FOH engineer was Francesca Battistelli.

*At that artist level she needed a dedicated road manager and a dedicated production manager.

*I became production managing and running front of house taking care of everything production related.

*What is a Production Manager responsible for? Taking care of audio, lighting and video. Working with artist management to find out what they want on the tour, what kind of elements are needed. Being in charge of the lighting director, video director, audio crew.

*Also if management wants a light show for the tour, I would go to different vendors and hire them to do the design and come out on the tour.

*I started with Francesca as a production guy who could road manage and realized I wanted to be a road manager who could do production.

*That transition means turning down some work.

*It’s a scary position to be in because you have to say no to things that aren’t going to take you where you want to go in the future in order to get to where you want to go in the future because if you don’t, you won’t have time to do the things that are going to propel you forward.

 

 

 

Jeremy grew up just north of Atlanta, GA and has always had a love for music and an entrepreneurial spirit. In 2008, Jeremy moved from Atlanta to Nashville, where he attended Belmont University to study Audio Engineering and Music. Though many in the program were drawn to the studio, he found himself being drawn toward the road.
While finishing school, Jeremy began to work at a local audio company in Nashville, where he started working live events both in Nashville and abroad. Upon graduating, Jeremy worked his way up as an audio contractor working various tours and conferences and eventually started to work for artists mixing FOH and Monitors. While his passion for the music industry was strong, Jeremy’s passion for the production side of live events started to wane. This led to a time of self-discovery, in which he found a new passion – road managing.
Over a period of two years, Jeremy began to intentionally transition his focus from being an audio engineer who could road manage to being a road manager who could also mix. In addition to going on the road as a road manager, Jeremy also began advancing for artists he didn’t travel with as an “Advance Manager.” Since starting to work as a Road/Advance Manager, Jeremy has worked for many of the biggest names in Christian music, including:
Steven Curtis Chapman (current)
Third Day
Francesca Battistelli
Brandon Heath
Mandisa
Love & The Outcome
Sidewalk Prophets
The Afters
Christy Nockels
Meredith Andrews
Jason Gray
Aaron Shust
Anthem Lights
Selah
Hawk Nelson

Since late 2017, Jeremy has been the Road / Production Manager for Steven Curtis Chapman, which is his current position. They just completed over 100 shows on the “SCC Solo Tour.”
When Jeremy isn’t on the road, he is working as Project Manager and Director of Content at Peach and Pine Home, the interior design firm he and his wife, Chandler, own and operate. Their newest project is a podcast called “Love Where You Live,” a podcast about all-things interior design and home renovation. Golf is his favorite hobby, and his ideal afternoon includes a round of golf on a mostly sunny, 65 degree day and hanging out with his wife and close friends.

Episode 8: Keith Everette Smith – Go Beyond Expectations

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My friend Keith Everette Smith and I sat down together recently to discuss his rise through the ranks of the music industry to create his own path to success as a producer, artist developer, session player and touring musician working with some of the biggest names in all of music.
Show Notes:
Sponsors: Edenbrooke Productions – We offer consulting services and are offering listeners a 1-hour introductory special. To request more info on consulting services, email Marty at contact@johnmartinkeith.com.

Talking Points:

*Keith plays trumpet, piano, drums, guitar and bass. He also produces music and does artist development.

*I started out learning trumpet and drums as a small child and added other instruments along the way.

*I started producing music in high school and college for friend’s bands by reading articles in magazines.

*Enthusiasm has always led what I’ve done.

*I produced an album and did some road managing for college friend Meredith Andrews who is now a well known worship artist.
ARTIST DEVLOPMENT
*I Enjoyed the aspect Artist Development and helping build a career from the ground up.

*I was invited to be on staff as Instrumental Director at Saddleback Church in CA because of a relationship.

*I produced the boy band Anthem Lights while at Saddleback Church.

*I began artist development for Anthem Lights and got them signed to Provident Music in Nashville. That was my door in to Nashville. Plus, I had already produced other albums independently.

*I did not expect to play trumpet when moving to Nashville. I came to Nashville to be a producer.

*What does it mean to do Artist Development? Developing your gut, your ability to evaluate talent and people of good character. It’s a very gut level thing in terms of finding people to develop.

*The non-negotiable thing for me is finding people with great character.

*Fame is a really dangerous thing.

*I consider it a great responsibility to make sure I’m helping good people steward success well.

*It’s an exercise in taking something great and making it even greater by exaggerating it and making it stand out even more than it already does.

*Most people spend their artistic life trying to fit in.

*You have to figure out how to join the ranks of those you respect, then how to stand out from them.

*The way you win at artist development is exaggerate what makes them great.

*Sometimes you can take a negative thing about an artist and turn it into a positive.

*Limitations are wonderful breeding grounds for opportunity and success.

*Comparison can be very important or detrimental.

*What are day to day attributes of being an artist developer? It’s making sure the music is great, making sure the artist is on social media and streaming services, helping an artist figure out who they are and what makes them unique, who they are as a person.

*Keith’s wife Tasha Layton is an artist and vocal coach and she says “you grow as a singer as you grow as a person.”

*What do you (artist) care about? Are you believable? Is your message trustworthy. That’s why an audience will listen to you.

*I am looking for inconsistencies in the message all day long.

*There is much about artist development and producing an artist that is simply psychology.

*Labels want to know: Can I sell it? Do people want it? Can I make money off of it?

*You have to be careful with your own artistic integrity.

*I’m trying to develop the artist into something that is appealing and consistent enough to be a good investment for the record label.

*You are doing whatever it take to be able to present the artist the way they need to be presented to labels, publishers, managers, etc.

*Social Proofing – building an artists career enough to prove to the labels that they are worth signing and investing in because other people have already proven that they like this artist. So you can trust that if you decide to sign this artist, it’s worth it because the masses already like it.

PLAYING FOR, PRODUCING AND ARRANGING FOR ARTISTS

*For most of us, doing multiple things in music is what let’s us make a living at it.

*You can’t be average. You have to be exceptional at 2 or 3 things and let what your average at fill in the gaps when there is time.

*My career has consisted of producing, songwriting, horn playing, arranging, vocal editing for big producers and artists.

*My horn playing and arranging is what gets me in the room with the biggest clients.

*Have something unique to bring.

*Your consistency is so important.

*Showing up everyday, being easy to work with, doing a great job, meeting people who are working on small projects and build those relationships so as they build up to bigger projects, you can be someone they call on.

*A friend I knew when I was on staff at Saddleback Church in CA worked on Disney projects and called me to work on The Jonas Brothers.

*I ran into a friend on the street in Nashville who knew I played horns and he asked if I could play horns on a project and it turned out to be Jack White.

*If people think you are trying to use them to make the next connection, they will stiff arm that and not want to work with you.

*Be eager but it let it come to you.

*You are always serving people. Go beyond their expectations. Don’t ask for anything in return.

*Don’t do anything for free. That devalues you.

*Develop a strategy of how you tell people how much you are worth.

*Get to know about the local Musicians Union and find out what the standard rates are for recording.

*Spend the money on a great vocal mic.

PLAYING FOR TOBY MAC

*A horn player I used to play with in the band Denver and Mile High Orchestra was playing for Toby’s albums and he called me to play on a song. That guy moved away and he referred Toby to call me for the next album.

*Then Toby asked me about playing other instruments and asked me to come play in the road as a utility player (multiple instruments).

*You have to run the business of your career.

*Know the realm of the business you are working in.

*Practical advice for people getting into this business:

*Ask someone you trust what you are doing wrong.

*Ask for help to make weaknesses strong.

*Not everyone’s supposed to do this the way they thought. Maybe you need to be in a different part of the industry.

*It’s not worth sacrificing your family.

*If you don’t love it, do something else. If you do love it, follow the paths that open up.

*Enjoy it!

*Keith’s social media @producerkeith1 on Instagram

*You can contact Keith at www.keitheverettesmith.com

*Toby Mac’s song Keith played on that Keith suggests: “Everything” on the Elements record.

Keith Everette Smith is a Multi-Grammy and Dove Award winning producer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and a member of TobyMac’s Diverse City Band.  If there’s one thread that comes through everything he does, it’s that he’s good at seeing potential, envisioning where to go and helping lead people there. He is an activator.
Smith is a lifelong trumpet player whose understanding of music, recording and performer development positions him as a sought after session player and arranger.   As a producer, Keith has a track record of success both within and outside of the church.  He has worked with artist like Jack White, The Jonas Brothers, TobyMac, Plumb, Dave Barnes, MercyMe, Amy Grant, Marc Broussard and many others.  He has also played on soundtracks and scores for movies and television including “The Lone Ranger”, “The Jersey Boys”, “Degrassi”, commercials for SoBe, and produced music for the 2016 People’s Choice Awards.
Keith has served on staff at churches like Fellowship Bible Church in Brentwood, TN and Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA and is formerly the network manager for Ascension Worship in Nashville.

Episode 7: Doug DeAngelis (Part 2) – Make Something To Show For Yourself

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This week I continue my conversation with hit producer, composer and music supervisor Doug DeAngelis. In part 2 of our interview we focus on working as a music director and supervisor for award shows such as The Billboard Music Awards and Teen Choice Awards. We also talk about what it takes to be a music supervisor for t.v. shows, the relationship a supervisor should have with an artist as well as the importance of knowing the music editor for a series. Plus, practical steps you can take to get into this line of work in the music industry.
Show Notes:

Sponsors: Edenbrooke Productions – We offer consulting services and are offering listeners a 1-hour introductory special. To request more info on consulting services, email Marty at contact@johnmartinkeith.com.

Talking Points:

*I do music supervision and music direction at the same time for award shows.

*How did you get into working on award shows? I did talent performance shows and along the way I got called to work on a sci-fi award show for Spike T.V. then she started calling me to do Teen Choice Awards and shows like that and people get to know you and start calling you for others.

*It takes about 2 months to put an award show.

*A “Dub Stage” is where you mix a t.v. show.

*Don Mischer Productions does award shows.

*I am either editing library music or writing music for the award shows.

*Label and management decide what music they want played when their artists come on stage for award shows and I have to work with them to put that together.

*Award shows are giant marketing events for artists, films, shows, etc.

*When actors or models come on stage to be presenters, I have to figure out what their brand is and create music that fits who they are. Then their managers have to approve it most of the time.

*The stress in award shows comes when they don’t tell you who the artists or presenters are until about a week before the show. So you’re doing stuff blind and chasing a lot of rumors and sometimes do work for no reason.

*You’re going to do a lot of work for nothing, but that’s part of the job.

*I do pop culture award shows, not academy awards, etc.

*You only get about 48 hours to turn a song for t.v. shows.

*I rarely have time as a music supervisor to reach out and ask licensing agents for songs to put in a show. I have reached out directly to artists and had them send me music that I needed right at that moment.

*A music supervisor’s sentiment for putting an artist’s music in a show should be “thank you,” not “you’re welcome, I just got you exposure on social media.” That is devaluing you as an artist.

*We have devalued music for the past 25 years.

*Music supervisors should appreciate the artists and thank them for making the show successful.

*Music supervisors should always be respectful of the musician’s art making their show better.

*I would love to see the business of music stop accepting less all the time and try to be innovative and get back to more with innovation.

*I moved to Nashville with the goal of saying “how can we break the mold entirely and start over again with a new model that will actually generate real revenue for artists and not just take whatever we’ve left them by giving away things all the time.”

*I have a company called Black Sleeve Media to create a new medium for music that can be experiential like the video gaming world where people will find value in and spend money on.

*We’ve built technology for mobile devices that can play back multiple multi-tracks all at one time to gamify the experience of music and tie it all to different social experiences and communication experiences and festivals, and tie to brands, etc. and make it so you’re actually participating in music. It’s all virtual currency based so you’re not buying music but unlocking features and things they can do with music that will pay the artist the same way that the sale of CD would pay.

*It’s mostly on mobile platforms working with artists and festivals to connect with the users.

*Advice for getting into this world?

*Do a lot of different things. They all have their own life and they all tie together so be free in not saying I only do one thing.

*Someone taught me a technical skill to match my mental skill so I could express myself.

*If you want to get into music supervision, there is a tremendous amount of value in technical skills. In being able to present your ideas to directors and producers they you hear them in your mind.

*Learn how to edit music. Learn how to marry that music to Quicktime so you can take a show and put the scenes and music together edited the way you want.

*The difference between being able to present yourself and your creative ideas as a music supervisor to picture, edited the way you hear them so it’s artistically doing what you’re hearing in your head, compared to just telling people your a music supervisor is huge.

*Show them you have a clever, creative style.

*You can’t show style without being able to present yourself.

*Music supervision is a very hard world to get into now.

*Learn how to program and do everything. It’s a job.

*You don’t have to do it all at once, just get on the path. It’s a long journey.

*It’s your presentation.

*How do you approach a production company to show them a demo reel so you can become a music supervisor or composer?

*You can get an agent like CAA or First Artist Management. There are multiple talent agents you can look up.

*If you can show them something, they’ll watch it. You are competing against a bunch of people who have nothing to show for themselves.

*Make something to show for yourself.

*You don’t have to be signed with an agent to be a music supervisor, but it sure helps.

*What is a talent agent going to do for you? If you’re new, they will connect you with indie films and small projects that nobody on the roster wants to do because it pays a smaller amount. They can offer that to you and if you follow through with it and do it well it will lead to bigger things, but you will only get the job is you SHOW them you can do the job, not tell them you can do the job.

*Telling people you can do this job doesn’t help you. Showing them you can do this job helps you.

*You can research “music supervision agency” or “composer agency.”

*Music editors are critical because they are the pass-through in between the composer and the music supervisor and the show.

*Music editors are critical people to get to know and send music to and work with.

*Music editors are your first line people to get music to as an independent artist because they have to add temp music to picture. Give them music and ask them just to temp with it. It will most likely get replaced but it means that your music is getting shown to directors and you might be able to get a copy back and use it as a demo reel.

*You’re just trying to show people what you can do to start and it will come from there.

*Nobody is getting music in front of directors and producers more than a music editor with their own music because they have the knife and a picture with no music that needs temp music.

*The music editor is the one who shapes the sound of t.v. show pilot more than anyone.

*Music editing companies hire music editors. They don’t need an agent.

*This is all one big job. Learn how to dive in and edit your music.

*Pick 10 different shows and try the same song in all different environments and you’ll find out where it works best. That will teach you a lot about your music.

*Comedy is the hardest to thing to put music to. If you can do that well you can jump to the front of the line because it is a very niche thing in Hollywood.

*Don’t try to be something. Be you and try you in a lot of different things.

*Learn what you’re good at by applying it to all different things.

*Doug’s website
Doug DeAngelis is a composer/producer/musical director and music supervisor. He began his professional career at age 18 at SyncroSound Recording Studio in Boston while attending Berklee College of Music for music synthesis.

At age nineteen, he recorded the Nine Inch Nails hit “Head Like A Hole” with Trent Reznor and world-renowned producer Flood. In 1989, DeAngelis left Boston on a world tour with the Detroit Techno crossover dance artist Inner City. After the tour, he moved to New York City where he amassed over 300 album & remix credits including 31 #1 Billboard Chart singles. Album credits include New Order, Michael Jackson, Queen Latifa, Chaka Khan, Love and Rockets, Alicia Keys, and No Doubt.

Doug’s career then shifted to Los Angeles where his music was embraced by Hollywood producer Michael Mann as the score for his CBS crime drama series Robbery Homicide Division.  His music has since appeared in over 100 television shows including CSI, Baby Daddy, The Evidence, The Nine Lives Of Chloe King, Bones, Alias, Cold Case, CSI Miami, ER, as well as dozens of reality television programs. He has written main title themes for Chelsea Lately, CNN Heroes, E! True Hollywood Stories Investigates, The NASCAR franchise, and co-written the main title songs to the film Blades Of Glory starring Will Ferrell, and The American Country Awards.

Recently, Doug won a BMI Music Award for his underscore to the FOX series ‘Lie To Me’, and composed the score for an Academy Award nominated feature documentary film entitled ‘The Garden’.

Outside of the studio, Doug is the Conference Chair and Co-Founder of A3E, The Advanced Audio & Applications Exchange. A3E is a leading industry resource dedicated to the future of new music technologies. A3E is an educational partner to NAMM, The National Association Of Music Merchants.

Episode 6: Doug DeAngelis (Part 1) – Nothing Beats Enthusiasm

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I met Doug DeAngelis at a Music Supervision event in Nashville recently and was intrigued because he has been a pioneer in what we know as dance, pop and rock music. His unique work as a music director and supervisor for award shows got my attention and I knew I wanted him on the show. In part 1 of our conversation Doug and I discuss his time producing the biggest names in pop music, being a composer for hit television shows and what it takes to be a music director for live t.v.

Show Notes:

Sponsors: Edenbrooke Productions – We offer consulting services and are offering listeners a 1-hour introductory special. To request more info on consulting services, email Marty at contact@johnmartinkeith.com.
Talking Points:

*I programmed analog synthesizers in the early days before MIDI and went to Berklee College of Music to study music synthesis.

*I saw music in colors and textures and layers.

*Enthusiasm is the single best ingredient in professional musicianship. Nothing beats enthusiasm.

*I started working at Syncro Sound studios owned by The Cars.

*It had one of the first MIDI rooms in the country and I worked programming.

*My first big project to work on was the debut album of Nine Inch Nails.

*Then went on tour with the band Inner City, one of the first pop/house (Detroit Techno/Club) music bands.

*Doug is a pioneer in Dance/Club music.

*Moved to New York to work for David Franken McMurphy and that was my start with working on all the big artists in pop music.

*When re-mixing an album, the record label picks the DJ and the DJ picks the producer to do the re-mix.

*Moved to L.A. to work on more records and ended up working in T.V. by accident. I got a call to be the music director for a live talent show called Next Big Star with Ed McMahon, a precursor to American Idol. I ended up becoming the music supervisor as well not knowing what that even meant.

*What does “clearing a song” mean for use on t.v. and film? It means identifying who the rights holders are for both the physical recording (the master) and the copyright (the publishing). Learning what cost is for all the different types of usages in t.v. or film. Learning how to do the paperwork and going out and getting the rights to license the songs to be used and have them signed off on before the show airs.

*Don’t say no to an opportunity. Say yes! Figure it out and do it.

*If you don’t take the opportunity when it comes your way, there are hundreds people waiting to take it from you.

*You have to be more enthusiastic than ALL the people you’re working with. More than your bosses, the contestants, the artists your producing music for, the songwriters you’re cutting demos for. That’s what people need. That’s the job.

*When you are making music for t.v. where you are on the clock, sometimes you are working for hours on a song and find out you can’t clear the rights to use it and you have to scrap it and start over knowing you have a lot more songs still do. Even then you have to stay enthusiastic. That’s the job.

*Don’t leave a project until you know you have made your client happy based off what you know you are capable of accomplishing.

*If you don’t impose your talent level on the client, you’re not finished yet. That’s enthusiasm.

*Elevate everyone around you.

*People who are great take everybody with them.

*If you want to work professionally as a musician, producer, songwriter, composer, music supervisor, etc. , make “that’s great” the base line for what you do and go beyond that until the client says “that’s the greatest thing I’ve ever heard.”

*Big things are easy to get right. It’s the little things that matter.

*How did you transition from Music Directing on live t.v. shows and music supervising to be a composer for t.v. shows?

*After multiple t.v. talent shows I produced a record for the group Love and Rockets and the singer and I started making music together that landed on some projects. We signed with CAA talent agency and pitched our reel to producer Michael Mann and landed the job scoring Robbery Homicide. That was my first job scoring a t.v. show.

*Why sign with an agency like CAA? my partner Kevin already had a connection with them because of his band Love and Rockets and we had an advantage of getting our music heard.

*When a new show is coming out, the studios will go to the big agents and say so and so has a new show and he is looking for a certain kind of music. Then everybody sends in their reels and the producer picks what they like.

*t.v producers and music supervisors, etc. go to licensing agencies and talent agencies for music and composers because they can vet you and your work to make sure your music is good and you can handle the pressure of the schedule, the pace, etc. which is very taxing.

*Scoring a drama is a 6 or 7 day turnaround which means 3 or 4 days to write the score because you have to have time for the producers and directors to hear it and make notes, then you revise the score and have it to stage the day before they mix the show.

*All of that is for about 35 minutes of score in an 60 minute show.

*What does a 24 hour day look like when you are scoring a show?

*Realistically you work 18-19 hours a day and sleep 5-6 hours.

* “Spot the episode” – meaning the composer, music supervisor, editor, director and the sound effects group meet together to watch a cut of the episode and you walk through it beat by beat, top to bottom of the showing making notes of what should be score, where there should be a song, where they want only sound design, end score, etc.

*Then you have to remember what you talked about and create score and songs around that because there are no sound effects, etc. actually there yet.

*When you’re scoring, understand that the better the film, the better your experience getting started at scoring is going to be.

*It’s very hard to score to picture that is not good. Film, dialogue, story, cinematography, etc. make everything roll easier.

*Music is all about you. When you’re scoring music for picture, it’s not about you anymore.

*You always have to keep in mind that the episode started as a script about a year and a half ago going through a bunch or re-writes and back and forth with the studio getting rejections. Then they shot it and re-shot it because the acting wasn’t great, etc.

*By the time it gets to you, It is what they want. So you have to be aware of that and score music that is subservient to the dialogue and the story that’s being told and it has to move with it.

*The real job of a composer is to make each emotional turn and twist moment by moment with the dialogue and to tell the stories that the director is having a hard time telling.

*You have to guide the audience to things that are important and away from things that are important with a score.

*You’re also fixing things that aren’t working in the picture. Bad acting, a script that someone is unhappy with, or even subtle things like a beat is too long, etc.

*You’re also fixing things as a music supervisor. The job is not just to polish something that was already great.

*A lot of times a scene is over done and you need to downplay with the score.

*You learn the banter between the executive producers and what they like and dislike so you can know how to fix problems in a scene with a score.

*Comedy is the hardest genre to put music to.

*The craft of a sitcom is to move from one scene that has a joke to a new scene in 3-5 seconds with a girl crying and getting from a chord that feels great with the joke to a heartbreak in two chords and it not feel horrible.

*Every genre is a different craft.

 

Check out Doug’s website

 

Doug DeAngelis is a composer/producer/musical director and music supervisor. He began his professional career at age 18 at SyncroSound Recording Studio in Boston while attending Berklee College of Music for music synthesis.

At age nineteen, he recorded the Nine Inch Nails hit “Head Like A Hole” with Trent Reznor and world-renowned producer Flood. In 1989, DeAngelis left Boston on a world tour with the Detroit Techno crossover dance artist Inner City. After the tour, he moved to New York City where he amassed over 300 album & remix credits including 31 #1 Billboard Chart singles. Album credits include New Order, Michael Jackson, Queen Latifa, Chaka Khan, Love and Rockets, Alicia Keys, and No Doubt.

Doug’s career then shifted to Los Angeles where his music was embraced by Hollywood producer Michael Mann as the score for his CBS crime drama series Robbery Homicide Division.  His music has since appeared in over 100 television shows including CSI, Baby Daddy, The Evidence, The Nine Lives Of Chloe King, Bones, Alias, Cold Case, CSI Miami, ER, as well as dozens of reality television programs. He has written main title themes for Chelsea Lately, CNN Heroes, E! True Hollywood Stories Investigates, The NASCAR franchise, and co-written the main title songs to the film Blades Of Glory starring Will Ferrell, and The American Country Awards.

Recently, Doug won a BMI Music Award for his underscore to the FOX series ‘Lie To Me’, and composed the score for an Academy Award nominated feature documentary film entitled ‘The Garden’.

Outside of the studio, Doug is the Conference Chair and Co-Founder of A3E, The Advanced Audio & Applications Exchange. A3E is a leading industry resource dedicated to the future of new music technologies. A3E is an educational partner to NAMM, The National Association Of Music Merchants.