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Pickle Music: “We Are All Part of a New Era for Creativity”

Company Profiles 178 Add to collection

Founder & CCO Alexis Estiz talks LBB through the rise and rise of Pickle Music, the craft-obsessed global music agency which is at the forefront of a new creative culture

Pickle Music: “We Are All Part of a New Era for Creativity”

Given the chaos and upheaval of the past year, you rarely have to look far to find talk of permanent changes, revolutions, and a ‘new normal’ which is set to redefine the way we live and work. When Pickle Music’s founder and CCO Alexis Estiz talks about a ‘new era for advertising’, however, he means something more gradual - and perhaps even more profound.

“What we’re talking about here predates Covid”, he explains. “For a long time now, you’ve been seeing a rise in this incredible kind of fluidity in the industry, where new kinds of agencies are popping up, production companies have their own content creators, and of course anyone is capable of working from anywhere in the world. Now, perhaps more than ever, talent and vision are key for creating great things”.

For Alexis and Pickle Music, there is a clear and desirable response to these changes. “It’s why, right from the first project we worked on, collaboration has been baked into us as a company”, he explains. “Given the changes we’re seeing in the industry and the world, thoughtful collaboration has to be the number one skill a company can have right now”.

Having been born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Alexis founded Pickle Music following a multi-award winning career as a composer. Rather than focusing on individuals, however, Alexis puts a high value on working as part of a collective. “Individual talent is a fantastic thing, but even more important today is enabling the conditions for that talent to reach its full potential”, notes Alexis. “That’s why we talk about collaboration, and it’s why we work as a partner, not a vendor”.

That focus on partnership is at the core of Pickle Music, and allows the company to lean into its natural creativity and agility. “You need to be reactive and communicative”, says Alexis. “A quick video on TikTok might be more effective than a multi-million dollar campaign, for example. It’s best-in-class systems and positive environments that create the best and most consistent work, I believe”.

  

What’s In A Name?

To understand what makes Pickle Music such a unique company, a good place to start is the name. “There were a couple of reasons why we landed on Pickle”, recalls Alexis. “First of all, because it’s a kind of metaphor for what we do. When you pickle ingredients together in a jar, they enrich each other. The combined taste of everything is stronger, more memorable, and greater than the sum of its parts. I like to think that’s what we bring to a project. And on top of that, it’s always a source of fun how everyone asks about it!”. 

Beyond amusing metaphors, however, there’s a deeper meaning behind Pickle Music. “It’s also about culture, and where we come from. Pickle Music was born in Brooklyn, where of course pickles have been a huge part of the economy and are a cultural icon”, says Alexis. “You see that influence culturally today, in things like the Pickleback (a drink you should definitely try if you’re in town!). Also wrapped up in that is my own heritage, being a Jew based in Brooklyn, and our culture can be seen through food such as the classic pastrami and pickle sandwich. So I suppose calling ourselves Pickle Music is, in a way, a means of preserving that culture in a way that defines and respects where we come from. 

That mixture of creativity and a sense of wider culture distills into what Pickle Music would identify as a ‘core philosophy’. An appreciation and passion for craft underpins the company’s outlook, and is applied to any challenge. “Whether it be a composer, sound designer, creative director, engineer or artist, all of our people are passionate about making the best work of their lives”, says Alexis.

“That does give us a kind of versatility as a studio”, he notes, “but not in the sense that we can just ‘get anything done’. Rather, every project is an opportunity for us to make the best work of our lives, and we have the craft, talent, and philosophy to seize the potential of that opportunity. We like to dive deep into the creative pool, as it were, where we live and breathe our craft.

Having a diverse team helps enormously with that process - both in terms of representation and the ideas they bring to the table. We can draw on a huge number of backgrounds and cultures with a team that is 30% Latin American, 40% American, 25% European, and 5% Asian”.

For Alexis, it can all be summed up in three words: ‘Pickle sees potential’. 

“With a number of us having worked agency-side, we know how valuable it is to have a partner rather than a vendor”, he explains. “We get to grips with a brief, and we do bespoke work - not just copying and pasting a track, or doing whatever is easiest to get the job out of our in-tray. We are proud of our work, and we want our clients to love it as much as we do.”

  

The Pick of the Bunch 

Having been founded a few years ago, it hasn’t taken Pickle long to build up an impressive portfolio of projects. The most recent culmination of the company’s work came at the D&AD Awards 2021, where Pickle picked up an impressive sixteen pencils - including two as a music production company. For Alexis, however, it doesn’t take long to recall a standout moment from Pickle’s time in the industry so far..

“Working with Michel Gondry felt like ticking something off my bucket list”, he says, referring to Pickle’s work on a Burger King spot directed by the legendary filmmaker. “That project allowed us to put into practice a lot of the things we’ve been talking about, like craft and creativity. To do it whilst being involved in such a great piece of work, around a topic such as sustainability, was so rewarding”.

Above: Michel Gondry and Pickle Music’s eye-catching work for Burger King starred then 11-year old country singing sensation Mason Ramsey.

 

Fortunately for Pickle Music, enormous and awards-laden work is baked into the company’s DNA. Alexis was the composer on ‘It’s A Tide Ad’, one of the most celebrated campaigns in recent times (and winner of a coveted Immortal Award). “It was an amazing feeling seeing the awards come in for this project”, recalls Alexis. “Of course, every job you do is rewarding, but the response we got for this was such a validation of the approach we bring to every piece of work we do with Pickle”.

Above: Alexis was the composer on ‘It’s A Tide Ad’, the multi-award winning classic from Saatchi & Saatchi NZ.


Beyond Preservation

With all that in mind, what does the future hold for Pickle Music? “It’s such an interesting question”, says Alexis, “because I can tell you that over the past year or so I have been feeling us evolve into what I’d call a “music and sonic solutions company’”. 

Diving into specifics, the company identifies two areas for creative growth in the near future: Sonic branding, and original music content production. “Sonic branding, in particular, is something you are seeing so many people across the world wake up to the importance of right now. People understand that your sense of smell taps into our memories and our limbic system. But what maybe isn’t quite so widely understood is that sound does the same thing. So being able to make sonic branding memorable is such a powerful skill, and a thrilling space for us to be working in today”.

 Fortunately, there’s plenty that’s thrilling about Pickle Music. Whilst it may be hard to see quite where this ‘new era’ of creativity is taking us, something at least is certain - you can’t underestimate the value of craft, creativity, and partnerships

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Categories: Food, Restaurant

Pickle Music, Fri, 04 Jun 2021 09:18:21 GMT