Trends and Insight in association withSynapse Virtual Production

Bringing Music to the World Class List

Music & Sound
London, UK
Native's Rachel Menzies discusses her role as music supervisor for the Diageo branded travel series

In 2016, World Class launched a global search for the world’s best drinks – as well as a host to lead the way. After landing what could be the greatest job in the world, host Carey Watkins set off on an adventure to uncover the best things to see, do, eat and drink in five of the world’s most exciting cities, led by the world’s best bartenders. The result is a Diageo branded travel series with a twist – and a definitive list of the world’s ultimate drinks.

Native Music Supervision was tasked with sourcing music for the series. Project lead Rachel Menzies says, “Music plays an integral role in the show, as it sets the tone for each episode and drives the narrative.”

The first task was for Native to source a single hero track that could be used for the opening title sequence as well as on teasers and other promotional edits. For this it was imperative that this track captured the spirit of the series. “We wanted something that was upbeat and full of energy but also helped to support the aspirational and accessible nature of the show,” said Rachel. After lots of rounds of searching, narrowing down of genres, lyrics and moods and ballparking with rights holders it was agreed that 'Don’t Owe You a Thang' by Gary Clark Jr. was the perfect title track for the show.

The next step was to establish a consistent feel across the music for the series. “The team were keen to avoid anything that sounded overly produced and wanted to embrace a more natural and raw sound that was led by strong percussion and instrumental sections,” said Rachel. This overarching style brief was used as a starting point but it was also important to ensure that there was always a sense of localisation from one episode to the next so the tracks also needed to encapsulate the essence of the locations.

“The fun and challenging element of the brief was to source tracks that were produced, composed or influenced by local artists from Sydney, Taipei, Barcelona, San Francisco and Mexico City," said Rachel.

Native began by reaching out to any labels, publishers, managers and sync reps they knew who were either based in the episode locations or represented repertoire from those territories. They also scoured their internal collections for repertoire that might be appropriate and used various online tools to seek out independent and emerging repertoire from local bands. “There were literally thousands of tracks being auditioned by the production team along the way and we slowly began narrowing these down and sourcing alternative versions, instrumentals and stems for any favourites," Rachel added.

The final line-up was a great mix that maximised the impact of the series and showcased local and international talent.

Any challenges? “Sourcing local independent and emerging repertoires from territories like Taipei was especially challenging. It was important to the producer and directors that we supported local talent and so we worked directly with a lot of artists who had never had their tracks synched. Finding out who the correct label and/or publishers were and their contact info became quite a hurdle. Language barriers also made the task of ballparking slightly more tricky!”

Despite the challenges, Rachel found working directly with bands such as No Party For Cao Dong from Taipei; Hot Flash Heat Wave and Killer Whale from San Francisco and Huge Magnet from Sydney, particularly rewarding. Rachel added: “I’ve had a lot of fun discovering fantastic independent music from around the world, and have enjoyed working with a large number of rights holders who have been super helpful and helped to make it happen.”

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