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DaHouse Audio: The Joy of Composing

Trends and Insight 97 Add to collection

To reflect on their craft, composers Lucas Mayer, Markus Thomas, and Wonder Bettin talk LBB through their creative process, the secret to ‘TikTok-able’ sound, and making music that ‘sounds like yellow’

DaHouse Audio: The Joy of Composing

“The one thing you can’t do is let fear get in”, says singer and composer Markus Thomas. “Once that happens, you’re done”.

Markus, along with his fellow DaHouse Audio composers Lucas Mayer and Wonder Bettin, is reflecting on his creative process. “The secret to great composing is having the freedom, free of self-doubt and, yes, free of fear”, agrees Wonder. “So it helps when you’re working with your friends, people that you can be honest and open with. And with DaHouse that’s exactly what we do!”. 

The music and sound company, which has offices in Germany and Brazil, is building a reputation for its chilled out and creative approach to its craft. With its in-house band The Client Said No, DaHouse Audio takes songs previously rejected by clients and gives them a new lease of life at their live shows. When it comes to composing, it’s easy to see a similarly confident and carefree approach in their work.

Above: La Flor de Tu Llanto is an example of The Client Said No’s work, with Markus Thomas on vocals. The song was made for a Spanish Short Film.

Back In Plic Plac

“One of the things we do when we’re composing is use Plic Plac”, says Lucas. “When a client gives us a brief, we kind of translate it into our own language, which we call Plic Plac”.

“It’s kind of like our own brand”, says Wonder. “When Lucas or Markus says Plic Plac I know exactly what they mean. And also, it gives us our own style of composition. With our composers and our team, we can achieve any kind of sound but PlicPlac is just our kind of shorthand for communicating it to each other”.

For Markus, it all ties in to keeping the aforementioned open, honest, and above all fun lines of communication amongst the DaHouse team. “Using this PlicPlac to know where we want to get to is unique. I've written songs with different projects, but with DaHouse it's always very fun”, he says. “I will write something, show Lucas and he will say very honestly what parts are good and which are bad. It's very free, and it helps us to do our best work.”

For DaHouse, their distinct approach involves finding new meaning within a pre-existing brief from a client. “Sometimes the briefs will be something like ‘make this sound emotional’, or ‘make this sound like the colour yellow’”, explains Lucas. “So yes, as Wonder says it’s helpful to kind of give a definition to these abstract ideas”. 

“We always want to go slightly beyond the specific brief we’ve been given”, adds Wonder. “When they ask for something that sounds like ‘yellow’, for example, that’s open to a lot of interpretation. You could do something with a jazz feel, or great harmonies, or something quite graceful that makes you want to dance. Often, we’ll send maybe ten different songs for a pitch across a whole variety of genres. It’s a way of stretching ourselves, creatively, and giving the client more to play with on their side”.

TikTok n’ Roll

“Some of the briefs you might get can be hard to pin down, which is half the fun of it!”, agrees Markus. “I remember being asked to make something ‘TikTok-able’ quite recently. As someone who doesn’t use TikTok I had no idea what that meant, but quickly we learned that what works on TikTok is stuff that makes you want to move. That grabs your attention quickly and takes you somewhere, always keeping things moving”.

To make a ‘TikTok-able’ song, the team looked to the past for inspiration. “After deciding on the right tone, The Jackson 5 immediately sprang to mind”, says Wonder. “They mixed up music that slaps with silence, at the right times, and it gets you moving. I think their stuff would do great on TikTok”.

Above: In order to make a ‘TikTok-able’ sound, the DaHouse team took inspiration from The Jackson Five

Daily Inspiration

For anyone who’s nine-to-five involves creativity, there’s a risk of burning out when it comes to the love of your craft. “Making music is my absolute joy, it’s everything to me. And the fact I get paid to do it is amazing - back when I was 18 I would pay to be able to do it!”, laughs Lucas. “But the worst thing about making music for a job is you can’t really listen to other music while you do it.” 

Despite the drawbacks, however, the team wouldn’t have it any other way. “My favourite part about what we do”, says Markus, “is how diverse and different every single project is. When I sit and think about the work we’ve done over the past six months, it’s mind-boggling how varied it all is. That’s a real joy”.

“Think about someone like Dylan and Mr Tambourine Man”, says Wonder. “Of course, I’d love to have written Mr Tambourine Man, but I’m sure I wouldn’t love to play it every time I perform for the rest of my career! Whereas what we do now, it’s all new all the time. That’s a true pleasure, and I don’t think any of us take it for granted”. 

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DaHouse Audio, Mon, 24 Aug 2020 14:00:59 GMT