Magnetic West: Can you give an example of how music or sound has triggered an emotion in your life?
Levick: For me, sound and emotion is more of a music thing, and as you get older you know you get a little more detached from your emotions or I guess you learn to control them and not be slave to them - they go too far…but, I would say that music used to be a very emotional experience for me. I used to be able to put on Angie by the Stones or Bowie’s Diamond Dogs, and that would take me through a whole palette of emotions. I would say, now the closest I come is, every now and then you get that perfect mix and you’ve listened to it in your car and then your boom box, then the other car, and it sounds great everywhere and that makes me feel really good. Sometimes live music will do it, like a good show. Sometimes your having one of those great shows, you’re not thinking too much and just cruising along…people are hanging on every word, you’re connecting…
Magnetic West: what about the same idea in convergence with media? Is there a convergence that stands out?
Levick: like, Say Anything, with the Peter Gabriel song? I always wonder how much they manipulate you with the music in these shows, like what would happen if they stripped all the music, would you still feel what they want you to feel just from the acting? It’s hard to know because they don’t ever do that,
Magnetic West: well, what would be your guess on that?
Levick: my guess is they’re totally manipulating you, and there’s nothing wrong with it, I mean, I’m sure people do movies without music and if they’re able to move you without the aid of music, then more power to them. It’s interesting because I’ve been licensing since 2004 and it took 10 years to learn what they’re really looking for is a mood. What they want is a song that is categorically one mood, you know, they don’t want anything ambivalent. That’s what I’ve been trying to keep in mind when I write for these shows. So, you can have the coolest track in the world and it wouldn’t work for TV, you’d almost have to dumb it down to this is sad .
Magnetic West: yea, pinpoint the mood
Levick: pinpoint the mood
Magnetic West: any specific songs, like you mentioned the Peter Gabriel tune in Say Anything?
Levick: yea, In Your Eyes in that movie….well, the best thing is, lately, since Bowie died ( I’m a huge Bowie fan ) they’ve been using him a lot, and there’s something about hearing a song that you grew up with in a movie that makes it ten times more powerful…I don’t think it makes you like the song more, it makes you like the movie more…
Magnetic West: I know you’ve licensed your music to shows like Shameless, which is one of my favorite shows, is there any of your tracks that standout in their convergence with media ?
Levick: There’s one song they put on Sons of Anarchy that I’m really proud of.,. I got a call for something completely different, they wanted a back porch blues thing, just guitar and vocal, so I called Jeff Pevar and said “ just play one guitar or two and send it to me ” and the whole thing went down in an hour, and I got it and threw a vocal on it, and I remember thinking, this would be really cool on Sons of Anarchy and a month later it was on Sons of Anarchy…it didn’t get on the show we did it for but you know I don’t deal directly with a lot of the shows so I never know, a lot of times I find out later what it was on, like way later, like six months later.
Magnetic West: like on statement?
Levick: yea, but I’ve started thinking more about what shows I’m writing for…like Shameless, they ask for my stuff, and I don’t have a whole lot of time to write songs that I’m not really commissioned to write but sometimes I’ll sit down and go, let’s write something that I can send to that show.
Magnetic West: so around 2004 you started focusing on writing for film / tv , how that get started?
Levick: It was a really weird convergence, I had kind of a late start, I mean , I’ve always been playing music, but I spent my teenage years and part of my twenties just partying so I feel like I’m ten years behind everyone else in terms of where my life should be and my career…
Magnetic West: I’ve always felt like that too, in my twenties I lived in Hawaii…
Levick: you can’t get anything done in Hawaii.
Magnetic West: just hanging on the beach …
Levick: but back then you’re not thinking that it was a waste of time, just, this is great! So, I started getting into serious bands in my mid - twenties, and what happened was, my last band ended in 2001 and I was thinking this is the last time I’m doing this music industry thing. I had just had a kid in ’98 and we were still doing these tours, SXSW and coastal tours, but it was getting harder and harder to be gone. What actually happened was, our first album was put out by this indie label called Pinch Hit that got us on commercial radio, and it charted in some places, it wasn’t great, it never turned into money , but it was nice, and they gave me an advance for the solo album after the band broke up. Instead of going to a studio I decided to buy a Mac and a pre-amp and a mic and basically I spent a year on two songs, just learning how do it, just tweaking and tweaking those two songs. When I was done with that, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time and had friend who worked for this company that asked me to do a couple songs and I was able to bang them out, and I had a partner that I was writing with from the band I was in, we did it together and they liked it, so we just started doing CDs for all these music libraries. When my daughter was going into first grade, we wanted to leave LA because we didn’t like the school systems and my wife had some family in Southern Oregon. So, we moved to Grants Pass and there was nothing to do there. I didn’t know anybody and we lived there for 3 years and in those 3 years I got my catalogue from 20 songs to like 200 songs because all I did was write.
The producers of an independent film want to create a team that will compliment their vision and help them reach their goals. Hiring an experienced music supervisor can greatly assist in the creative, financial and legal development of the project's musical concept. With the aid of a music supervisor the producers can be assured that the rights to use the music are properly cleared and licensed for use. Having a creative music supervisor working with the director on music through research, selection of songs and coordinating with the composer for a unique original score, creates a cohesive project which ultimately produces a higher level of success in both marketing and distribution. Just as independent filmmakers are aware of the benefits of hiring a composer to create original music for their projects as an alternative to purchasing stock music, the important role of a music supervisor follows this pattern to increase the quality of the production. Hiring a music supervisor at the beginning of a production allows time to discuss, from a creative, legal, financial and technical standpoint, the potential options for music. For instance, working on an independently funded documentary with little or no music budget, an experienced music supervisor would help develop the musical vision with the realities of what the cost may be, including the research of potential songs and recordings under consideration for licensing by the filmmaker and a discussion of composer production costs. The music supervisor can offer viable options and craft a sensible financial plan. A music supervisor will be able to get a filmmaker grounded in what is realistic from the beginning of their production and provide realistic strategies to obtain the rights for the music that is desired and provide viable alternatives. A music supervisor can also work with the composer to help articulate the type of score that most fits the collective vision and budget of a project while overseeing the score's production and on-time delivery for editing the audio mix. The music supervisor can coordinate and produce live music performances or scripted music scenes, including the hiring of musicians and other performers. Also, they can coordinate and produce specifically written songs and tracks for the production. A music supervisor with expertise in music clearance can design the most cost-effective licensing strategy, saving production time and money in licensing fees. They will have developed relationships with the personnel of the independent music publishing departments. Select music supervisors that are part of a full service music companies like Magnetic West Music are additionally publishing their own catalogue of music for easy one-stop access to fresh tracks from indie bands and composers. Companies like this will often have their own composers, the ability to edit and provide variations of the music, plus they have more flexibility in licensing costs.
One of the key moments of the music process for any production is the spotting session, where the director, producers and editors, along with the music supervisor and composer, review the film scene by scene and come up with a overview for the composer and music supervisor to follow in the creation of the score and placement of licensed tracks. The supervisor helps the director and composer providing recommendations and solutions. The supervisor ensures that the director's vision is communicated to the composer in terms of type of musical style the composer will use. The music supervisor can create spotting notes listing each potential cue or licensed song, its' start and ending times and notes about the moment itself, such as certain accents or mood changes. The entire team then has the same time-coded outline to work from, right through to the final audio mix. A supervisor can produce a video file embedded with potential songs against picture and placing cues as they are delivered by the composer delivering an overview for the producers and director to review.
Once the film has completed its final audio mix, the music supervisor will issue appropriate synch and master use licenses for all songs and tracks, based upon the terms, fees and conditions previously granted in writing. A music supervisor can properly prepare the end music credits for the film dictated by each music license and composer requirements. Before commercial exhibition of the film, a music supervisor will deliver the cue sheet that the distributors will request, and the music licensors will require containing a complete listing of all song and score cues, timings, authors and publishers and performance rights affiliations.
As independent filmmaking continues to reach a wider audience, the responsibility filmmakers have towards the music in their projects increases. The more a filmmaker utilizes the services that a music supervisor can provide, the easier music can be incorporated properly and the stronger the impact of the music will be in their projects.
My first memory of when music triggered an emotional response is when I was very young, perhaps 6 years old. Not every night, but on occasion, my Mom would help me fall asleep sleep by singing to me. It may have been only a few times but it stands out prominently enough as a memory to have ignited an awareness of music’s connection to emotions. The song was Leaving on Jet Plane, most likely Peter, Paul and Mary’s version, even though both theirs and John Denver’s records were frequently on the turntable in our house. The melody, sung a cappella by my mom’s hushed voice, was suitable for a lullaby and it would immediately transport me to an airport where I would see myself walking toward an airplane with a suitcase, a curious mind and a lonely heart for I was off an adventure into the big mysterious world and wondering if I would ever see my family again. I would feel tears building in my eyes with the lyrics “Don't know when I'll be back again Oh babe, I hate to go”. Even at an early age the experience made me feel that life was a gift and that I was grateful just to be alive and have a family. The emotions that the song produced were intoxicating. The haunting melody would end the day in an authentic emotion of gratitude. It was a safe place where I could feel emotions and have them mirrored in song. What I didn’t know is that I was initiating the compilation of a soundtrack for my life based on the sound of emotion and this was the first track on the mixtape. This pattern continued into my adulthood.
The next chapter of my life delivered more musical stimulation to select the next track from. In my early years, I played ice hockey daily. Living in a small town meant that the hockey rink was in a larger neighboring town. So the drive to and fro included either the music on the radio or the music in my head. More often than not, the music in my head was more influential or responsive to my current state of emotions. Owing both to its sweeping tune and the content of the movie in which it first appeared, Vangelis' song Chariots of Fire was in the family record collection and I recall being drawn to the powerful melody at the age of 6 but by the age of 9 it had become somewhat synonymous with the a big event on our family television, and a pivotal demonstration of human achievement - The Olympic Games. Chariots of Fire was the official theme for the 1984 Winter Olympics for a reason that many people felt was a anthem of human achievement and of course athletic success. The song would play on loop in my head on the way to hockey matches, it wasn’t pumping me up with adrenaline, it was soothing me with emotional richness. The soaring melody of Chariots of Fire helped me make sense of my engagement with society in the complex world of adolescence and competitive sports. The visuals that were synched with this soundtrack were an imaginary game that I guess, I would now call extreme roadside skiing. In Massachusetts, where I grew up, there was often snow on the side of the road and I would visualize myself on some great 80’s neon colored skis, gliding along beside the car. The snowplows made interesting formations and large mounds to jump off of but unlike regular skiing, even when there wasn’t snow I could be gliding up and down the mounds of earth on either side of driveways, dodging mailboxes, jumping over cars and soaring over intersections pulling off rad tricks in some kind of new Super Mario Brothers level. It was my own private extreme Olympic sport and I always won the gold medal. From the moment I shut the door to I when was at the rink lugging in my huge bag of hockey gear , I had the Chariots of Fire theme song in my head.
The next song that made it to onto the mixtape was a game changer, it’s like I knew it was happening, and it compelled me to buy my first cassette tape, even though I had to borrow my older sister’s boombox to listen to it. I was 10 when the movie Mannequin came out and the movie’s theme song Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now hit me like an emotional freight train. It helped tell the story, assisted my connection to the characters and like music does so well, it supported the emotional content. Simultaneously, as a young hockey fan the song caught my attention again in 1993 for the Montreal Canadians NHL team during their 24th Conquest of The Stanley Cup. Legend has it that while driving home after a lost game, head coach Jaques Demers heard the song playing on the radio and realized it was an empowering song. The next day, at the Montreal Forum he gave each player a copy of the song with a small card saying "We're on a mission, nothing's gonna stop us". And to attest to the power of music the team soon started to win. He played the song throughout all the playoff games and they eventually won the Stanley Cup that year over the Los Angeles Kings in the finals . As a Boston Bruins supporter and Wayne Gretzky fan ( who at that moment played with the LA Kings ) this was quite the departure for me to get caught up in routing for the Montreal Canadiens to win the Stanley Cup but the real reason I was behind le Club de hockey Canadian must have been simply that I was feeling how the power of music, an undeniably sappy song as well, motivated a team of adult men, tough hockey players, win the game and the whole experience swept me of my skates. The song also introduced me to Starship’s other single We Built This City on Rock & Roll - which I thought was wicked rad ( said with Boston accent) and I just had to have those songs. I had seen my brother and sister get cassette tapes and choose their music by going to Sam Goody to pick out their hot new cassette tape with their allowance. Now it was my turn. So there it was, I got my first cassette single, came home, put on my coolest Ocean Pacific shirt and danced around in my own MTV love story. But just when I thought I had figured out how music paired with my adolescence, a new force had entered into my life.
As you may have guessed, my home away from home was the local ice skating arena. A New England community center, a place of practicing teamwork and personal achievement. A platform for goal setting and idolizing our athletic heroes. Of course, let us not forget the rustic accommodations for audience members, sweaty locker rooms, cold temperatures, harsh echoes, hot pretzels, frozen pizza and other standard concessions. I was a rink rat, not by choice, but by vocational location. A place where one of our main goals might be how to trick the soda machine into giving you a free soda, or that magical moment when you find a quarter under the vending machine. But the rink was full of surprises. There were occasions that I would go to the rink with my parents to watch my older brother’s team or to pick up my sister after her figure skating practice. On one specific event I was reluctantly attending my sisters’ showcase competition. It was a routine she had been working on for some time and the public was invited to watch her and her teammates perform. There were so many sequence embroidered unitards, it was a bit overwhelming for a young hockey boy but I considered it part of the deal. After all, I was proud to be an ice rink family. My brother and I both played hockey, my dad was a hockey coach my mother was an ice hockey cheerleader from Minnesota. We were a rare breed and there I was, in my team jacket, sitting on the cold, splintery wood stands and I embraced my world. My sister skated to the middle of the ice and the first warped notes of the song creeped into the air like the familiar warm analogue sound of the cassette deck had been withered by the cold and was feeling skittish about being projected at a distorted volume through what could have been cardboard box enclosed speakers. The song, which never made it on a mixtape of mine, but made an impact on my future discernment of music, was Putin’ on the Ritz, yes, you guessed it - Taco’s 80s version. I remember reflecting upon my awareness that music effects me emotionally and thinking that the vocal delivery of the song was uncomfortably mixed but strikingly distinct, and being a bit confused about how the way the song was crafted fit in with my understanding of music. I paired it with the experience I had going from being accustomed to Peter, Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan and Jim Croce on the home turntable to being enraptured by cheesy 80s anthems and I accepted my fate would be navigating the world of the ever changing musical future, an understanding that even Grace Slick herself would attest to from her days with Jefferson Airplane. As kids, we all had a feeling that our futures were going to be bright with neon colors in a Max Headroom digiverse. So I sat there and let the song pour over me like that liquid cheese sauce on the nachos from the concession stand. I sat there in a heavy trance which welcomed one of those moments where it seems like as soon as you let yourself be ok with an uncomfortable situation then something magic happens? I was snapped back from my daydream with the rhythmless scattered patter of applause. Disturbed by the thought of having to wait for my sister to change out of her costume, I had no idea what was about to happen. What I heard was the reverberated riffs of some 50’s style guitar work slide through the metallic echo chamber of the rink and it caught my attention. I looked to the center of the ice where the spotlight warmed the harsh glow of the overhead fluorescent flood lights . And there she was. In a hot pink unitard with cat ears cat tail and a little bow tie. The song Stray Cats Strut pulsed through the cheap rink speaker. The figure skater, I can’t recall her name, was moving to the music in a way that I didn’t know would effect me the way it did. She had stray cat strut and stray cat style and I was enchanted by her beauty and the song paired perfectly with my emotions. On the way home from the rink, with the beats of Stray Cat Strut in my head, I glowingly asked if we could stop at Sam Goody. There was a new single I wanted to add to my playlist. The Stray Cats' theme song was a pivotal track that I associated with the emotions of my attraction to girls so naturally I considered music as the vehicle of this attraction. So, in the 4th grade when I developed an interest in a classmate and she mentioned she liked Guns N Roses, I immediately went out and bought the cassettes. It turned out that she didn’t have one of the albums and I let her borrow it, which essentially meant to us that we were officially going steady. I was the only boy invited to her birthday party which we had plotted through handwritten love notes passed secretly in class with the aid of our mutual friends . At the party we turned on the strobe light and blasted Guns N Roses’ Living on A Prayer. These patterns of music selection have continued to this day. Music matches well with meaningful experiences because it heightens the expressive language of the emotions. Post your own story here...What songs made it onto your first mixtape?
Magnetic West Music :
How has music or sound sparked emotion in your life?
To me music is all about emotion, if there isn't emotion dripping from the music then I can't give it my time. The music that I make is driven by my emotional response to my life experience. In my childhood I associated various songs with specific events or places that my Family was living at the time I heard the music. I always associate the bubble gum pop song "Afternoon Delight" with the JFK assassination because I lived in Dallas at the time it was on the radio a lot and I was obsessed with the assassination, and I still am somewhat. I dont really like the song but it absolutely marks that moment in my personal history. In a similarly strange and dark sort of way Abba's "Dancing Queen" reminds me of a girl that I used to ride the school bus with who passed away when we were in 9th grade. There's this one part of the song where the band really lays into it almost to the point of screaming that always gets me, I always associate that with her because I saw her dancing to it by herself at a school dance about a year before she died and I always remembered that. She was a beautiful person.
Magnetic West Music:
How do you think music is important to media and does one convergence of music and media stand out to you ?
There's so many...I suppose MTV was so significant it's hard to dismiss it. We watched when it first came on even though all we really listened to was underground Punk and Industrial music. There was something so magical about the artform. Pre MTV, I think Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" video was probably the first convergence of this sort that I remember, although David Bowie and Lou Reed were all over it early on as well.
I think that in the world that we are all grinding in today we have unlimited abilities to create visual art to accompany our music and using the opportunity to further express the vision and the emotion behind what we're writing about is a gift. There's outlets everywhere to use this to promote ourselves as well, as an active touring and recording musician of over 30 years I can tell you that this is a great thing and we need to be using. No one better to exploit us then ourselves.
for Scott Kelly's East Coast November 2015 Winter Tour Dates w/ Bruce Lamont click READ MORE below :
I've been fascinated with Portland based musical artists Green Hills Alone and Harlowe. The two singer/songwriters of the creative collective Sleepy Volcano performed a particularly engaging set of their musical collaboration on this west coast tour . I could hear in the music before I even talked with them that Chris Miller ( Green Hills Alone) and Mark Roberston ( Harlowe ) have a healthy awareness of the sound of emotion.
Back at my house, after their performance, we talked about their residency in Iceland and how music has been such a changing force in their lives. We shared our genuine views on the essence of music convergence, the way location and culture support music and story, as well as partaking in several bottles of wine and Brennivín ( a popular Icelandic liquor ). That conversation really would’ve been the one to record, but instead, my mistake to learn from, I had planned to shoot a video interview in the morning when there was better lighting.
The next day we got some coffee and I set up a video interview with them next to the creek in Lithia Park here in Ashland with the intentions of mixing it with some of their concert footage from the night before and making a Lithia Park Session While our conversation the night before about location was more about location effecting the mood and creation of music, in my ignorance, the actual proximity from the camera to the creek to Mark and Chris produced a recording with the sound of the creek much louder than their voices. Yet, again, Chris and Mark spoke so eloquently about music convergence that I had to save it somehow, so I transcribed, to the best of my ability, what they said and although the overpowering sound of the creek washed over some of their words, the collaboration of creek and composer itself, speaks to the heart of the conversation:
I asked them how they think music is important to emerging media
and how sound and music effect emotions.
Mark: It’s the natural progression of music following technology and there's a lot of new avenues that there weren't because of that, like my housemate who is scoring video games, those are avenues that, for composers, wouldn't have existed 30 years ago, so it's nice to have these new creative outlets for musicians and that turns out to be a big part of the final product.
Chris: I think of music as world expanding, all art is world expanding, you share that with someone and that gives them an unknown to explore which happens on so many dimensions and when it combines with media it's still there it's beautiful on the grand scale, people collaborating, and the beauty of that collaboration can still exist with a commercial aspect. I feel music grounds a film in a very human and relatable experience.
Mark: I think that's the most interesting part in general with music is how it skips the filter of the rational mind and goes directly in, and that's what's fascinating to me is being able to feel something that you can't put into words.
Chris: I think the sound of rain, that's one of my favorite sounds, rain on a rooftop, there's something comforting about it, we actually have it on the record. We make these distinctions between sound music but it's just a perspective that we choose to separate.
Mark: We recently became obsessed with this technique called binaural recording which implies the same thing, of capturing the sound of the environment in a really specific fashion and that has had the same effect on me as music by just capturing those environments and whether we are playing music in those environments or not, just the sense of space really transports you to a place without having to see it.
listen / visit: http://www.greenhillsalone.net/ http://harlowemusic.com/
#lithiaparksession #thesoundofemotion #magneticwestmusic #soundtracksession
Betty & The Boy perform part of an instrumental piece ...
Josh Harvey and Bettreena Jaeger talk about sounds that have been a part of their lives...
and the quintet plays a clip of " Babel " from their album Good Luck : http://bettyandtheboy.bandcamp.com/album/good-luck
" I am a filmmaker but I am less of a visual person, I am more of an audio person and I think any song, soundtrack or any kind of music suddenly will take front and center for me. It can change my mood, it can slow me down, it can speed me up, it can get me thinking about what's important, it makes me reflect on life, and I feel like the art of music, and how it communicates to people who love music, it's just a really special relationship. I don't think everyone is like that but I am defiantly like that .
I think it's critical because the emotion of a story is carried by the music, it lets audiences know, hopefully, if it's not heavy handed, it let's them know in a subtle way how they should feel about a story moment. Though, if you are trying too hard with the music, it can backfire, where it feels manipulative, so you're walking a tightrope with it, but I think music can really bring an audience closer to the story and your themes and they won't even know it is happening…when it's done right."
- Gary Lundgren
" It's crucial. Being a musician, it's my connection to something we don't see, it is intuitive… it enhances the emotional element to performances."
- Norman Austin
" Music is important to me mostly because of its' inspiration and energy . It's a way to help motivate me. I think the biggest thing as far as using music in film and media is the energy that it brings to productions. It can totally change the entire feel of a piece by what music you use, it can really help bring emotions out ."
- Darren Campbell
" Music is really important because, as a hypnotherapist, I utilize it as an aid to help people to calm down. Music is very soothing and for dementia, it can be used as a therapy. Music expresses the feelings of the actors in movies, and the audience makes the connection to the movie through that emotion. After one has been emotionally impacted by a movie, they tell their friends about the movie and their friends are inspired to see the movie for themselves. It is often the movies that have great music as a foundation that do well at box offices. "
- Patrice Carington, Medical Hypnotherapist / Neuroscience Student
" It enriches every experience that you have, I don't think you can live without music. The way I think about music and sound , as an editor, is that it is 50% of what you are experiencing, so it is as important as what you are seeing, in my opinion."
- Jayson Wynkoop
"Music speaks to me emotionally, it can recall certain periods of my life, it brings up a certain emotion or memory that can help me out creatively. It adds so much more to the storyline or the content that you are trying to get across, it can make it richer and more meaningful, sometimes you don't even need words, there can just be music."
- Lia Dugal , Actor / Director
" I think we all have a running soundtrack going on thorough our lives, it may or may not have anything to do with what's going on in your life right then but when it is it's an awesome experience. Frankly, I would find it weird without music anymore, it is such a part of the whole experience. In those rare occasions where you see a movie without music you notice it, but for setting the tone, the mood and to give the audience non-verbal cues about what's going on, I think it's absolutely vital."
- Michael Meyer
For more information on Southern Oregon Film And Media visit: http://www.filmsouthernoregon.org/
What do you think ?
How is music important to your life? How is music important to film and media?
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Our first Lithia Park Session is with the duo Misner + Smith from California. We talk about music in film and TV including an impromptu rendition of The Kinks' song "Nothing in this World Can Stop Me Worrying" used in the film Rushmore. They talk of summer sounds that help shape their emotional soundtrack and perform their song " Tamalpais " from the album Seven Hour Storm.
visit : www.misnerandsmith.com