Q&A with Greg Moore, Head Of Production and Dan Kreeger, Head Of Business Development from Adelphoi Music.
LBB > Tell us about Adelphoi Music.
DK > Principally we are a music production company representing composers and sound designers. We have four full-time composers and sound designers who work in the studios here and from their external studios, but we also have four full-time producers who work alongside them. Within this setup, we do all sorts of other things on top of composition and sound design. We’re increasingly being asked to do song searches, we re-record tracks, we are creating a lot of broadcast identity and mnemonics (which are three or four note IDs for brands). There is a broad scope to a lot of what we do; radio as well and mainly for advertising agencies, direct to client and casting agents – they’re our main client base, but also we get calls from production companies, directors themselves… a really wide range of stuff.
LBB > What makes you unique in the market place?
DK > The fact that we do have full-time composers. And to have four of them is pretty unique. The fact that we have three in-house studios, as well, to facilitate those guys and four producers, it means we have a lot of manpower and a lot of creative talent.
GM > Also, our composers work collaboratively, which they don’t in other music production house. So, it means that they share the royalties, they share ends, the spoils. So it’s not a really ‘dog eat dog’ atmosphere. It allows our composers to communicate with each other and together come up with a more rounded pitch. Something that satisfies briefs that are non-specific or broad. Within our four guys, we can come up with a number of different approaches, which gives us bigger scope. If a client wants to combine different elements, take pieces from here and there, then we can do that without fear of egos or rivalry. Getting the job done and keeping the client happy is the priority.
LBB > What percentage of your work is bespoke composition?
DK > At the moment it is probably 90%, the rest of it being re-records and song searches. A lot of our work is original composition and sound design made entirely by us.
GM > The thing about our split of work is that it varies constantly. One month we’ll be doing mainly broadcast work; we’ve done a lot of work with SKY and the BBC. In the past we’ve worked with pretty much all the big news agencies and TV channels so that’s a long mainstay. Last month we did a lot of that and this month we seem to be doing a lot of work for advertising agencies. It’s constant waves.
LBB > How do you find your clients? Do they mainly come to you or do you seek them out? You’ve been around for 20 years now…
GM > 17 years. I think Adelphoi was started 20 years ago but it was originally a record company, a jungle label.
DK > Our company directors started it off as a project after university, making records and from there they saw there was potential for them to do great work in the commercial music world.
LBB > You have four composers here. Are they working on their own work at the same time?
GM > Most of them produce their own music as well and they remix and produce artists. We are constantly looking to expand our freelancer list, so we are getting in young talent and moulding them to make music for commercials. A lot of our time is spent finding new talent.
LBB > How do you find new talent?
GM > The Adelphoi team moves within musical circles and each of us has our different areas. So we know lots of friends of friends. A lot of people come to us asking for advice. We visit music schools. If we see a good band we ask them if they’d like to write for us. We explore as many avenues as possible.
LBB > Do you have any in-house training or any way you support future talent?
GM > If we spot someone who is good for a specific genre, we will ask them to pitch on a demo and give them feedback. A few composers who we work with came straight out of music school and had never written music for media, but if you get on well with them and they have the right sort of attitude, you can see they’ve got talent, then you can give them feedback and get them involved in some projects – it’s a big jump to come from education into the real world.
DK > Going back to your original point, I think over the years Adelphoi has built a reputation for itself. That is something that we live and breathe. It is constantly going back to the two guys that originally set it up. It is their thinking and their approach. They’ve always been business like, but at the same time it has always been about the music and creativity and also about being nice. There is a certain approach that we try and uphold and that is definitely something that people come to us for. Our reputation is squeaky clean and people come to us, a lot, because of that - our reputation. And then come back because of the experience that they’ve had.
LBB > You touched earlier on the point that most people here, within Adelphoi, have some sort of musical background or interest. Is that greatly important to you?
GM > Yes, absolutely.
DK > Even within the producers, there are only two of us that haven’t been in bands or can’t play an instrument and then they’ve been involved in band management, DJ’ing or music videos.
LBB > Has everyone got tattoos?
DK > No…
GM > Leon (Dixon-Goulden, Senior Producer)’s got enough for all of us.
DK > We all, I think, have our particular areas of musical taste. It is such a subjective thing, music. I think one of the great things about the collection of producers and the composers is that everyone has their different approaches and perspectives. That is the great thing about having this collective of full-time staff, when we do come together we can work as a team over a tricky or interesting brief and the results reflect that.
GM > You try to find one track and if you’ve got one person that has got a particular style or knowledge, we can open up to the group and all of a sudden you get stuff that you wouldn’t possibly think of.
LBB > So it’s a real collective in the perspective?
GM > It really is. I think we recruit like that as well. We don’t want to get, say, four of the same mould of producers. Everyone has to be really different otherwise we’re not going to fulfill certain areas.
LBB > You are based in London, but do you have offices elsewhere or are you reaching out elsewhere?
DK > We have American representation. We also have ally companies in Russia, in Denmark and then affiliate friends and companies all over the place. America is a big market for us at the moment.
LBB > How easy has America been to crack?
DK > It’s interesting, it’s totally different and it’s a big market.
GM > We have continuous work from here, at least once a month. We’ve done particularly well in New York and we’re starting to get work from the midwest, slowly moving west. It has been pretty good so far.
DK > OK, we have a decent reputation, but considering we are a company from London, independent, with no firm office space in the states, people see the major benefits to working with a company in the UK. We offer just that little bit more.
LBB > As far as advertising and directing are concerned, the UK has a reputation for being incredibly creative and, of course, historically, musically, it definitely does. Do you find they people come to you because they have an opinion that you’ll be better because you’re British?
DK > I do think people come to us because of the quality of our composers and our reputation. London has a phenomenal reputation for breeding musicians and fostering albums, music and session players. We have a really good basis in London and it seems to amalgamate so many people from around the world. It is definitely that meeting place. Our composers really harness that and take that on. It is still one of the places to be in the world for music. I think that is really key for us. Certainly, we are out going to gigs all the time and listening to music. It sometimes can be hard to see everything - so much going on - but thankfully the internet makes that easier. Absolutely, it is a great place to be and I think that is understood by the American’s especially and THEY have some amazing music going on.
LBB > What is the present challenge for musical production at the moment?
DK > Competition has become fiercer. There are a lot more companies out there now.
GM > Commercial music is cheaper. Library music is a lot cheaper. To license even the biggest tracks is now more affordable for brands, as opposed to before where they wouldn’t even think about it.
DK > Artists seem far more willing to put their tracks on brands that they wouldn’t have necessarily done before. We saw a lot this Christmas. Bands who you’d never have thought would be letting their music be used.
LBB > Why do you think that is? Money? Change of mind-set? Less snobbish approach?
DK > It’s money. They’re not making as much money as they were before and they’ve got to think about different avenues. Also, the tracks are from older statesmen from rock ‘n’ roll, who are softening with age and think ‘why not?’ That is certainly a factor. In terms of original composition there is still a lot being made and a lot of original sound design.