Fri, 18 Mar 2022 15:28:06 GMT
LBB sat down with Matt Chapman, associate creative director at Quigley, a fully-integrated brand performance agency that is setting the standard for performance marketing with its 'Brand-Led, Demand Driven' philosophy. Matt has over 25 years of experience in the advertising field working with clients such as Burger King, Coca-Cola, Triumph Motorcycles, and JPMorgan Chase. Outside of work, Matt has a strong passion for music and has been a musician himself since his youth. He even builds instruments (and now watches). Matt shared insights about blending music, sound, and visuals based both on his professional experience and musical background.
Matt> For advertising/design projects the starting point is the instant I hear the project description. Even before reading the brief, the cogs start turning and I begin thinking about who the audience is and how to connect them with our message. It always begins with a solid objective: “What are we trying to accomplish with this communication?” For music projects my go-to starting point is either an acoustic guitar or my Korg EMX-1, it’s part beatbox, part synth, part sequencer, and capable of creating entire finished pieces.
Matt> For me, the greatest inspiration comes from having other musicians around. No two musicians will ever come up with the same idea when improvising, so everything is always new and unexpected. When playing alone it’s easy to fall into the trap of familiarity and it’s harder to break the rules. Breaking the rules is always where the most interesting creative lives, whether designing sound or visuals. One of my most memorable creative collaborations was not musical at all. It was with my friend Lance Wilhoite who ran his own SFX company and asked me if I could create some concept art and matte paintings for a movie he was working on. I painted several versions of the Martian landscape and designed a few weapons that could have been improvised from mining tools. It was a nice change from advertising and ended with me getting a credit on John Carpenter’s movie, Ghosts of Mars.
Matt> That’s easy! The people. Quigley has a culture and spirit, unlike any other agency I’ve worked at. Camaraderie and accountability go hand in hand and teammates always have your back. Drama and egos are no one’s MO here. Hands down, that's the most satisfying part of my job.
Matt> Honestly, I don’t think the role of music and sound is changing that much. I feel like it’s as important as it’s always been.
Matt> Wow, this list could get long, really fast. The shortlist of musicians/ bands would have to be:
Oasis. They exploded almost overnight with their first release Definitely Maybe. It was a new dawn for guitar rock and every tune was an instant sing-along anthem of tortured Englishness. It was exactly the right cathartic belligerence the music world was craving at the time.
Carbon Based Lifeforms. They are an electronic duo from Sweden that makes beautiful dreamscapes of lush, synthesised tones. They create a magical space and a sense of peace. Sometimes simple, sometimes complex, always ethereal and inspirational.
Radiohead. They represent musical rule-breaking at its finest. They are true innovators in modern music, haunting, dark, and beautiful.
There are also a few movie soundtracks that make my shortlist:
Jerry Goldsmith’s soundtrack for Alien (1979). An absolutely iconic soundtrack. Dark, beautiful, desolate, and unnerving. It sets the stage for discomfort and dread like nothing before or since. The way it complements the visuals and the entire storyline is auditory perfection.
Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack for A Fistful of Dollars (1964). Not just this one, but all the Sergio Leone spaghetti western soundtracks. The Spanish guitar, the whistling, the spaces with just a simple flourish of a lonely flute. The music almost feels like the landscapes created it.
Matt> Honestly, I try my hardest not to be influenced by other music. If I’m struggling for inspiration, I’ll switch instruments. If a guitar is not producing results, I’ll switch to bass or synth, or electric guitar. Usually, it is a single sound or tone that sets the direction.
Matt> When I’m working on design and layouts I like to listen to trance/psychill/Psybient type music like Carbon Based Lifeforms, Stellardrone, Dreamstate Logic. Atmospheric-electronic mainly. When I’m writing, I’m all about silence!
Matt> I’ll always record at the highest quality the equipment and workflow can handle. But on-the-go MP3s are an abomination! There are simply not enough ones and zeroes to correctly reproduce the sound. Cymbals turn into a mushy white noise, overdriven guitars sound like a chainsaw with bronchitis. I don’t listen to MP3s ever, I’ll always download the full-res version. I would much rather have quality over quantity.
Matt> It could be anything from Frank Sinatra or Julie London to Iron Maiden, Placebo, Hawkwind. Jazz, pop, rock, electronic, metal, ambient, electronic. It really could be anything. So, I guess the answer is that there’s no ‘typical’ listening day.
Matt> I’ve lost count of hard drives I have loaded with years of recordings, literally hundreds of tracks. One day I’ll have to collate them and archive them properly. From a listening perspective, I really do love the sound of vinyl. And I still enjoy a five-disc CD player. Pretty sure I’ll never go back to cassette tapes, but hear they are making a comeback!
Matt> I’ve always been a design, tech, and engineering geek and as interested in three-dimensional creativity as I am in the two dimensional, so it was only natural to design and build my own instruments. I’ve designed and built acoustic and electric guitars, tube amps, FX pedals, synthesiser modules. A couple of years ago I built a cristal baschet (sometimes referred to as a glass piano). A friend sent me a link to a video of someone playing one with a note: “You should build one of these!” Five minutes later I was sketching rough plans and ordering parts on eBay! I’m currently building a vinyl record cutting machine and a hurdy-gurdy, both are very complex. I may have bitten off more than I can chew.
Matt> When I was 16 I met Metallica backstage at the NEC in Birmingham UK after their gig. At the time they were my heroes and it was THE BEST THING EVER! I still have the skateboard that the whole band signed for me. Thankfully it no longer has wheels on it, which is why I’m not in a hospital.
Matt> I think the big one here is diversity. When I was younger, I was always locked into a musical niche of some sort, metal, hip-hop, trance. The more of my own music I made, the less I cared about what box it fits into. Age has made me less biased and more creative. That shift now means I can truly enjoy my art. It’s no longer about the result, it’s about enjoying the journey.
Matt> OK, I’m going to give away my age and say, “fame and fortune.” I’m not kidding. When I began my career in the UK there were four TV stations and only two had commercials. If you made TV ads, just about everyone would see them. It was about as close as you could get to being a rockstar without actually picking up an instrument. Ad guys were the “influencers” of that era. Also, the craft of advertising has always fascinated me. I found the cleverness compelling and I wanted to try it. Those were the days when every ad was like a Super Bowl spot except that it wasn’t about the execution so much as it was about the idea. The concept reigned supreme, and ideas were the part that I really loved.
Matt> My first inspiration was probably Bill Bernbach and the amazing work DDB produced for VW in the 60’s. Those print ads are as relevant and viable today as they were the day they were produced. They’re so perfectly on point—spacious, elegant, strategic, clever, and respectful of the audience’s intelligence. Then in college, my dear friend Tim Brown, who is now a superb commercials director and filmmaker, inspired me. We got our first job together. He would always think of something completely out of the box, but never useless or “too mad,” it was always something we could nurse into a clever, unexpected idea. Tim made me braver, but never as brave as himself. And, then, the creative department at DM&B, Los Angeles, circa 1996. I moved there from the London office of D’Arcy. It was the first time that I felt truly welcomed into a creative department as an equal. The lack of department ego and camaraderie was just so refreshing. Team USA won me over in a big way.
Matt> Not since taking the position full time per se, but certainly, since working for Quigley, my passion for watchmaking has turned into something a little more serious. I think I enjoy it so much because there is no vagueness or ambiguity with watchmaking. The opinion is entirely irrelevant. A part is either in good order and functions correctly, or it isn’t and doesn’t. It’s the antithesis of advertising and communications where nuance and opinions get you to the finish line. As someone who would rather be two hours too early than a minute late, watchmaking gives me a sense of control. Advertising is almost always a rush, but you absolutely cannot rush when working on a watch. It’s slow, calm, and methodical for the win.view more - Music & SoundQuigley, Fri, 18 Mar 2022 15:28:06 GMT