A tight collective of composers, producers and music supervisors specialising in original music composition, song research and licensing
Specialising in original music composition, song research and licensing, The Music Lab is a tight collective of composers, producers and music supervisors, backed by a wider team of music, sound and immersive technology specialists. This solid core of talent is combined with extensive industry experience and a diverse pool of sonic specialists, with studios based in London and LA.
“Music is a powerful conduit for story telling,” says co-founder and head of music (UK and Europe) Dave Goulding, whose career spans over 18 years in London’s music industry across music supervision, licensing, production and artist endorsement projects. “For every project you need to learn about who you are speaking to, what you are trying to achieve and how music and sound will both enhance and strengthen this - whether that's subliminal and subtle, or intense and impactful. The Music Lab is like its own creative ecosystem, bringing together the most talented people I’ve worked with, inspiring and bouncing off each other without losing sight of the bigger picture.”
Dave's portfolio includes agencies such as The & Partners, VCCP, McGarry Bowen, Havas Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi and AMV BBDO - on campaigns including Honda, Asahi, P&G, Lexus and Samsung.
Fellow co-founder and head of music (North America) Dan Silver also boasts an impressive portfolio, having worked with brands such as Nike, Apple, Netflix, Google and Samsung. With over 20 years of experience, Dan’s skill set includes everything from music supervision and song placement to film, TV, adverts, video games and trailers, most recently crafting a cover version of the iconic Temptations song My Girl for Fox’s Prodigal Son trailer. He has worked on well known TV shows and films, including Grey’s Anatomy, Shameless, Avengers, Fast & Furious, Call of Duty and Mortal Kombat. As well as this, Dan is an established commercial record producer and songwriter having worked with a string of artists from the likes of Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan, Xzibit and GoldFish to Mojave Lords, Star Tropics and MOON.
On his vision for The Music Lab he says, “We hope to show clients the benefits of taking more calculated leaps with experimentation and strategy, and make them more aware of how impactful music and sound are when incorporated skilfully with a visual message.”
Experimenters in Sound
Backed up by an international team of music, sound and technology specialists, The Music Lab has its own back pocket to pull from, including everything from immersive music technologies and field recording to spatial sound.
“As a collective, The Music Lab is unique in combining a core team of experienced composers and music supervisors, able to call on sound designers, immersive music technologists, artists and spatial sound architects to bring in an extra dimension to the projects we work on,” says Dave.
With an innate creativity at the centre of their process, Dan says that the company’s mission is “to bring sonic excellence to the ears of many while keeping a core artistic sensibility. The ability to work with like-minded humans who have the same level of passion and experience is the ultimate collaboration. We see finding and crafting music for campaigns an art form of problem solving within the creative space.”
He continues: “The Music Lab offers a true range of diverse ideas and new ways of attacking challenges. Finding authentic solutions is what most excites us as a team. I am beyond excited and honoured to work alongside the creative team we’re building in music and technology. At the heart of it, we are creators and music lovers, and authenticity is everything.”
Dave states that The Music Lab is at its most impactful when brought into the creative and production process early doors. “I’ve been lucky enough to be an in-house music supervisor at agencies across London over the last 10 years which means I can be there at the very start of the journey and push the music and sound agenda,” he says. “That said, we equally love the challenge of that last minute - playing out in two days - type of emergency music problem, which we smash every time!”
Recent work includes the likes of Asahi Super Dry's Discovery Is Calling and Sony’s new high-power audio speaker campaign films, with original music composition by composer and music supervisor, Jack Chown. “As someone who moves between the composer/supervisor roles pretty fluidly, my process revolves around ideas of curation,” he says. “Practically, this could involve finding the right sound to match the identity of a brand; sourcing some long-forgotten sample to flip into a beat; or collaborating with an up-and-coming artist who brings something totally fresh to a brief. Whether it be in my own production, composition or supervision work, I love nothing more than facilitating and bringing together new sounds, artists and ideas to create something unexpected and greater than the sum of its parts.”
As a producer, composer and engineer; Jack Chown has worked with MIA, Jessie Ware and Liam Gallagher. Infusing vintage synths, guitar pedals, samplers, shakers and vinyl, he specialises in the creation of organic or electronic sounds for advertising, trailers and film/TV projects including Asahi, Argos and Puma. He has also supervised music for campaigns including Lexus, NatWest and Walkers. Longer form projects include a Sky Arts documentary, Ai WeiWei at the Royal Academy of Arts and a collaboration with Roli Seaboard.
The Music Lab is also home to Jo Paterson, tipped by Film4 and Medium as one of the ‘top five female film composers that should be on your radar’. Her work spans film, animation, video games, virtual reality and advertising, with her sound being described as mature and resonant. This particularly comes through in her original music composition for short documentary series Redefining Taste for GQ x Lexus UK.
Jo has scored music for a number of award nominated films which have featured at Cannes, LFF, Encounters, Raindance, Sundance, Edinburgh Film Festival and SXSW. A recent highlight includes her role as composer for Stella McCartney’s Breast Cancer Awareness campaign, A Letter To My Loved Ones 2020.
She describes her process as “organic” and likes to work as close as possible to the director on a project. “I find that when you work closely with one another during the making of the score it creates a whole new level of inspiration. Collaboration is why I became a composer and then a film composer. There’s nothing else like being able to work as part of a team. It is such a particular journey to go on in the creation of a score and to be able to send ideas at an early stage and shape the music with the director and sharing of thoughts; it enables me to bring the director into my world more and vice versa. It is my job to tell the narrative of the story, but musically, so it is vital we have a close knit collaboration.”
She adds: “I find one of the most thrilling and exciting parts for me would not only be at the very start but also the end of the process. At the beginning - it is all about finding the sonic palette and the exact sounds I want to shape the music with, which is always incredibly exciting, but then equally I love seeing everything come together and watching the final result.”
This passion for collaboration is something that runs through the whole team. Sound editor/designer Lea Lea Ratcliffe shares: “I’m in Portugal at the moment, scoping out and recording unique and wonderful field recordings in beautiful natural landscapes such as beaches, caves and forests. Sharing the clips with the team and morphing the sounds into something collaborative is pretty exciting, you just have no idea how it will all evolve which makes the whole process feel pretty spontaneous.”
As a sound editor/designer, field recordist, songwriter and vocalist, Lea Lea loves sound exploration in all its forms: “Music-wise, I’m pretty excited to experiment, create and mix sound for VR and to finally release something new which I’ve been grafting at for a while. I’ve really been into digging out classic south-east Asian 70s pop and soul.”
She has assisted field recording teams on productions such as Sky comedy Brassic and was the sound editor of mini documentary series Home. She has created original music for shows such as HBO documentary Wig, ABC's High Fidelity, and Channel 4’s Hollyoaks and Made in Chelsea.
As a result of their experimental creative approach, The Music Lab is constantly innovating, looking ahead at future trends and technologies. Coming out of a year of global lockdowns, one of the most exciting trends relates to immersive music technologies as a fusion of live and virtual performance. This is an area that technologist Neal Coghlan is particularly involved in. Recently working with Marshmallow Laser Feast on the Royal Shakespeare Company’s live, online production, Dream - set in a virtual midsummer forest, in which theatre, music and groundbreaking technology combine, in an extraordinary exploration into the future of live performance.
With an interest in live visual design and virtual reality, Neal specialises in experiential pieces, producing animations for Google as well as creating 3D concepts, artwork. He has also produced live visuals for performance, from motion capture to audiovisual sets, for Glastonbury 2019 and the Royal Academy of Art.
Neal says, “It's an industry that is growing very quickly, partly due to the availability of certain new technologies across software and hardware, but also furthered by the desire to keep the live music flame alight despite everything we have sadly lost due to Covid-19. It started off with countless YouTube streams, but since then there have been lots more examples of artists being imported into the virtual realm via mocap and LiDar, even using something as simple as an iPhone. With audiences tuning in via different platforms, from VR headsets to game consoles, the point of entry to this virtual realm is becoming more accessible too.”
On their overall ambition for 2021, Dave states that “the last year has been a real eye opener for everyone in a lot of ways. I’m so grateful to work with such an adaptable, resilient and genuine team of people - as well as amazing clients. My main hopes for 2021 are simply to do more of the same, to meet more nice people, and work on some more great campaigns. I’m also hopeful that 2021 will present plenty of opportunities to experiment including a very cool online immersive listening project we’re developing.”