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Creative Director Daniel Lidchi Rebrands from Only Audio to DLA Music & Sound


Daniel Lidchi, former creative director of Only Audio talks about going at it alone during a pandemic, and getting to choose the playlist everyday

Creative Director Daniel Lidchi Rebrands from Only Audio to DLA Music & Sound

Daniel Lidchi’s career as a musician and music producer, having run his own label, seems to have spanned many years already.. although he’s still in his twenties! Dan tells Lemonade Reps about his move into the arena of fashion and commercials, for composition and sound design, away from his heady roots as a dance music producer and DJ, and what it was like being a founder and creative director of Only Audio, and his reasons for moving forward as DLA music.

Lemonade: Hi Daniel. Tell us about your new venture DLA music?

Daniel Lidchi: Yes, DLA! My new baby! I had a business called Only Audio with my ex business partner Toby Walsham. We have been friends for years and did some great projects together, but due to other business commitments on either side, the business relationship and the longevity of Only Audio came to a crossroads and we decided it would be best for both of us to concentrate on other ventures. I figured, you know, hell, we’re in the middle of a Pandemic, let’s use this opportunity to consolidate what I can offer to the Advertising and Fashion world and the Daniel Lidchi Agency for Music and Sound was born. Over the years I’ve built up a network of incredible composers, artists, singers, producers and sound designers that I love to work with, so in a way nothing has changed in terms of talent and creative. It’s just a really exciting fresh start. 

Lemonade: So give us an insight into what a day to day work day is like for someone that does commercials composition and sound design? 

Daniel Lidchi: Let's see, I guess, there's a couple of different ways that a day can go. A great day involves lot’s of briefs, coming in. *SMILES* I might get to the Studio in the morning and see I've got an email from Alexander McQueen or Toyota. It'll say, hey Dan, how are you doing? We've got this new amazing project... and then I will run through the clients brief or develop it with them. After i’ll take it internally and we will assess who we will get onboard to make something unique and bespoke within the parameters of the creative. And then I'll spend the rest of the day, either personally working on it, or overseeing another composer's work on something, or collaborating with another composer or sound designer. It really depends on the brief. I love how my days always involve music and sound. 

I love deciphering a brief and coming up with a musical personality that could even embody a still image for a campaign that hasn’t even been shot yet. Music distills the energy, and is a vital tool for the brand to get across what they are trying to communicate. 

It’s like magic! We'll start bringing it to life, you know, creating soundscapes, composing music or enhancing the visual cues with sound design.. 

Lemonade: Yes, the sound design aspect... Is that something that you enjoy? Is that something that's kind of standalone or is it always, does it come with the composition? 

Daniel Lidchi: Yes definitely If you're already taking care of all the music, you have quite a deep understanding of the project and the needs of the clients. This really helps when coming to the sound design because you’ve already been discussing how the action in the picture can be enhanced. Also a really important aspect is at the end of the Sound journey - doing the final mix - where you get to marry everything together in the most sonically pleasing way possible. 

Lemonade: Is there a specific area that you like making music for like a favourite client or a brand that you find that you really connect with when you're making music? 

Daniel Lidchi: Recently, I've been really enjoying the fashion space and that's been a really creative world, but I mean, equally at the same time, it all really comes down to the brief. Like if it's an interesting brief then it can be a great project, it could be potentially the most boring and mundane product in the world, but if it's an exciting brief, and there's a good team involved it can be really fulfilling.

Lemonade: What's been your proudest, or your happiest moment so far, like making something and feeling like you're in it succeeded or you're, you were really satisfied with the work? 

Daniel Lidchi: It was probably our Calvin Klein spot - the fabulous director Lea Colombo sent over a couple still images - that was it - I put together some musical references and then got those all signed off, and literally that same day within like an eight hour stretch of time, we composed a full song… and they loved it….all within a day, from start to finish, not even a single revision. From there the editors worked it into the film and it was a beautiful, lovely campaign, and a really great piece of music in my opinion (I collaborated with one of my vocalists in Berlin and it was one of those moments where everything clicked) and after that, you know, they became a repeat client, it was the start of a great relationship and just a really fun experience doing something. That kind of immediacy doesn’t happen very often and I really enjoyed it. 

Lemonade: So your network is global then. 

Daniel Lidchi: Yeah. You know, if there's someone really talented who is on the other side of the world in some remote island who does something unique I can just as easily collaborate with them remotely (provided they have wifi haha). Even before the pandemic we worked like this to offer a remote solution, to be dynamic in time efficiency and cost effectiveness - a global network of talent, the best in their fields anywhere in the world. 

Lemonade: So generally, what inspires you and how do you feel like DLA stands out amongst other Music companies? 

Daniel Lidchi:I wrote a tagline for Only Audio, but this is something that I’d like to take with us, which was ‘Excellence is expected. Style sets us apart’..... And you know, what that means these days in the industry, there is so much greatness and there are so many people who can do the job, who can deliver, it's just a case of having the sense of style and the ability to be able to deliver things faster and with more finesse than the next person and of course having that sort of relationship with your client that they trust you. To me trust is the most important thing. That’s what we can deliver at DLA. 

Lemonade: And who are your favourite music artists now and in general, like of all time? 

Daniel Lidchi: Great question. I mean, the first band that comes to mind is Fleetwood Mac, they’re just undeniably great with hit after hit after hit, and there's also that folklore... the story that comes behind each album and the different eras, and their music sucks you in. But yeah, the 70's is an era that I'm very fond of. But I go from Fleetwood Mac to loving 90s hip hop, or 2000's pop music. Another idol of mine is Pharrell Williams. Everything he's put his finger on whether it’s Snoop Dogg or Britney Spears is gold. Obviously his solo stuff is great too.. He is a force to be reckoned with and a genius, in my opinion. The same goes for Timbaland. I guess there are a couple artists from every era when I think about it, when it comes to contemporary music I love Charli XCX, Kendick Lamar or Channel Tres.

Lemonade: Do you still put music out on your label? 

Daniel Lidchi: Oh no, so I actually don't do that anymore, but I co-founded a record label before I moved to London where we released some great artists throughout South Africa as well as my solo music. The label was called 1991 Global. We kind of did everything in house from the art direction, marketing, production, filming of the videos etc. So that was a great project I learned a lot from - great knowledge for running a company. I still produce for artists these days though. For example, a vocalist that I work with on many of the commercial jobs has a solo project which I produced the debut album for. It’s a sort of psychedelic synth pop rock project. Check out David Gabriel Thorpe on Spotify if you want to have a listen. 

Lemonade: And obviously for your job it's really important that you understand sort of every genre of music really, isn't it? 

Daniel Lidchi: Yeah, for sure. What we do needs to be flexible musically - we can have a brief one day for a project to be epic and orchestral and the next day it can be a rave song, so we need to be able to deliver the highest quality and as a composer myself, I have my strengths and I know what I can do or who I need to get onboard to facilitate a brief. That's what's great about DLA being an agency and having other people in the talent pool, and from a technical point to the creative point, that's something that I would then oversee. 

Lemonade: Do you feel like there's anything in particular that's missing from the current music landscape? Like when you listen to certain artists, do you feel like there's anything that's missing? Or you mentioned Charli XCX, do you feel like there's certain sounds that are kind of being blocked from being heard by more people or reaching more people? 

Daniel Lidchi: I think what's great about this moment in time, is that there really isn't a sort of gatekeeping like there was back in the day. Especially now with the fact that we have Spotify and Apple Music and SoundCloud and all these services. Some kid can just write something in his basement on like a $20 pair of speakers and some cheap equipment. but if it's written really well or has viral sensibility and s/he puts that on a streaming platform or Tik Tok or whatever, it could go viral. It's for the public to decide now more than ever. That said it’s still an incredibly competitive industry and success is very difficult, but the power to write and release music is more accessible than ever. For example in rap and trap music, which in my opinion is really pop music these days you can see how people explode by putting one song or video out on their socials and overnight they're a superstar signed for millions of dollars. It's insane and really exciting. 

Lemonade: Do people still get signed for millions of dollars? They can't really make any money anymore from record sales can they? 

Daniel Lidchi: To be honest from what I understand touring would probably be the main cash grab for artists. Obviously there’s also merch, sync, brand sponsorships etc etc but streaming services hardly pay. Now with this pandemic, artists are struggling more than ever in terms of actually getting an income when they aren’t able to play live, especially for the smaller artists, who survive from performing or DJing a couple of times a week…. Fortunately things are starting to open up. 

Lemonade: Actually let's ask the question, how do you feel Covid has impacted on your business or has it, or hasn't it?

Daniel Lidchi: Fortunately we were already set up for remote working - it was our business model. So technically, how we work hasn’t been affected by Covid. However, we are maybe the last stage of the production chain. So if a brand or production company can't actually shoot something, then honestly there'll be nobody for us offer our services to. So there's the impact to the industry as a whole that has an effect. Hopefully we are out of the worst of it now though! 

Lemonade: And what's changed since you first started in the industry compared to now, like, what are the key changes that you've noticed in, in music and in music for commercials? 

Daniel Lidchi: I guess just naturally the needle on culture will always be moving and changing stylistically as generations progress and grow older. That's what's beautiful, each decade has something unique to offer. For example, when I first started writing music, dubstep was the trendy thing. The landscape is just always changing and becoming more progressive, and for example Hip Hop, which is an extremely masculine heterosexual style of music and then you have someone like Lil Nas X, who can play these massive shows and come out as being queer and be celebrated, that’s a big change, obviously for the good. Hopefully this is the way forward and will happen more and more where we have a landscape where there isn't going to be bullying or any sort of racism or sexism or homophobia. People are standing up for what's right at the end of the day through music. 

Lemonade: Are there any brands or directors that you're hoping to work with in your career? 

Daniel Lidchi: Let's see, i'd like to work on more car commercials. I've done a couple in the past, but I'd like to do work for a brand like Tesla. Doing something for one of their new vehicles would be awesome. I love the fashion stuff too. I’d love to do a runway score eventually, but at the same time it could be a toilet paper brand that has come up with an exciting brief and we do something brilliant for that too. I'm not a snob. I just want to work because I love what I do and to be honest, almost all the work I do is fun. So I can't complain. 

Lemonade: And what about short films? 

Daniel Lidchi: Short films? Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we've actually been approached to do our first feature film this year. So that could be an exciting step for DLA. I've done some short film work before, and I’ve always really enjoyed that. It's always been very emotive and I love scoring to a narrative. 

Lemonade: Do you get influenced by other film composers like Johnny Greenwood, for example? 

Daniel Lidchi: Johnny Greenwood from Radiohead? He is phenomenal. Probably my favourite composers though would be Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross. Another composer would be Alessandro Cortini who also was in a band with Trent Reznor. He does some incredible electronic emotive score based music. I definitely look to composers and musical artists and try find new influences and inspiration from all of them. 

Lemonade: We wanted to know next, what are the most difficult and challenging things to do with your job and doing music for commercials that you encounter? 

Daniel Lidchi: I'd say probably the most difficult thing is getting the work and building relationships with people, building trust. Because coming into this industry and moving to London only relatively recently, I’m trying to break into the UK industry. That's probably the most difficult thing, at least in my experience. However once we work with a client they tend to come back so I’m really happy with what we can deliver and offer. 

Lemonade: So far have you learnt any important lessons, or taken away something that you're going to use for the rest of your career? 

Daniel Lidchi: Every single project we do has a nugget of wisdom to take from it, whether it's a new trick in sound design or chord progression. The idea is to forever be moving and challenging and bettering myself and the team we work with, it's about always getting better at what one does. And I think that's kind of what makes things exciting, is that there's always something new to learn. I'll never know everything, and I have to acknowledge and be humble about that. 

However I don’t have to be humble about this Spotify playlist though, :) I hope you enjoy it!

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Lemonade Reps, Tue, 10 Aug 2021 12:45:47 GMT