Post Magazine

August 2014

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Page 36 of 51 35 POST AUGUST 2014 SOUND TRACKS e started Audio Network in 2001 and have been fortunate to see the company grow rapidly in just 13 years. There are lots of reasons for this, but really it boils down to a good idea, a great team, a stubborn determination to only produce the best possible music and to record it properly. There are hundreds, if not thousands of music catalogues available for use in TV and fi lm. They vary massively in size, range and quality, and since the rise of aff ordable home recording systems, the pace of production has ballooned to a fever pitch. It has always seemed to me that with a few honorable exceptions, many of the catalogues are built without any real focus on the end user, whose needs are fairly obvious when you come to think of it. The end user needs great music, which sounds authentic and is consis- tently well recorded and mastered. They need to fi nd it quickly and to license it with no hassle. They need fast, friendly and eff ective customer service, and reg- ular updates of new music, which can be easily edited, with alternative versions of every track for fl exibility. Once these things are in place, it is important for us to remember that we are providing a creative service and music — not a product. We do endless research, which tells us precisely what our customers want, and we use this to help us brief new work — but it is only a guide, not a shopping list. We want to astonish and surprise users by giving them music they had never even thought of. This means taking some creative risks, which will sometimes miss the mark — but we still believe a weary editor will have a more enjoyable and creative time searching our catalogue and it keeps us fresh and interested in our jobs! For us, the key is authenticity. If we say a track is orchestral, it is orchestral — it has probably been recorded at Abbey Road Studios with the best orchestra money can buy. We do not use samples and call it "orchestral" any more than we'd call a bubble car a McLaren F1. They are simply not the same thing. In the same way, if we do an American series, we are most likely to go to Nash- ville or New Orleans to record it — and every day we have recording sessions going on all over the world, producing authentic music done by people who know it, live it, love it and are least likely to do a pale imitation of the genre. I've just emerged, blinking, from two days of recording in Chislehurst Caves, a 22-mile complex of underground tunnels in the south eastern suburbs of London, with no electricity or lighting. They are cold, wet and pitch dark, but they have a unique and amazing sound and a :32 reverb. Reverbs can be synthesised — but players perform diff erently in a space like that and I would always argue that if you get the real thing and go to extraor- dinary lengths (or in our case depths) to record something unique, you will always have something no one else can copy. Obviously, there are times when the genre of music demands the use of samples and other computer-based trickery — EDM or Hip Hop for instance — and that's fi ne, too. As long as the composers who are doing it are the real deal and live and breathe the style. We are not interested in doing US Hip Hop in the English suburbs. Many production music libraries dis- tribute their music with barely a mention of the composer. To us, this makes the presentation of music look like the banal, insipid "product" that we work so hard to avoid. We want our customers to know the stories and people behind the music. How amazing the composers and musi- cians are, and what makes them tick. In the end, it is about talent and ideas, not the company. The world is full of people who can create passable tracks at home, and some good music is created that way, but we feel the opportunity for us is to focus on producing work that not everyone can do. We are probably Ab- bey Road's most regular client —we are there most weeks and we have plans to record in almost every corner of the world and every conceivable style over the next few years. We believe this is the approach that will create a collection of music that will stand the test of time, provide an amazing resource for music users, a good income for the composers and, dare I mention, give us a ridiculous amount of fun along the way. KEEPING THE MUSIC REAL W BY ANDREW SUNNUCKS FOUNDER/CHAIRMAN AUDIO NETWORK MAPLESTEAD, ENGLAND WWW.AUDIONETWORK.COM WELL- RECORDED, AUTHENTIC SOUNDS Audio Network's James Brett works with an orchestra while recording at London's well-known Abbey Road Studios.

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