Francis Garcia (left) and Andrew Hollander
Photo: Bruce Ashley
Don't call it a recording facility. Don't call the people inside it music supervisors. Oh, and don't call them composers either. But if you do go ahead and call the New York City musical annex that combines Shout It Out Loud Music (SIOLM, www.shoutitoutloudmusic.com) and Sugarbox Studios (www.sugarboxstudios.com), you'll find all of the above working in sweet harmony.
Founded by a highly experienced music supervisor and composer, Francis Garcia, SIOLM has blended well into Sugarbox's kitschy/comfortable Fashion District location, which had already been established by the hard-working film composer Andrew Hollander. Working as a team whenever it suits them, and separately as the projects demand, the professional staff members exemplify a smart mixture of business efficiency, synergy and artistry that's essential to success in the current New York City landscape.
“The reason this works is because there are creative things going on all the time here that are not bound to any particular parameters,” Hollander says. “Creative boundaries are set up by the project, but the idea is that we'll work on whatever we think is inspiring and right for the project on an ongoing basis.”
Garcia, who served as head of music supervision and composer for Elias Arts/NY before founding SIOLM in 2006, builds on his extensive experience in original music composition and licensing to also serve in an A&R capacity with his company. He actively signs bands worldwide for licensing representation, giving him a wide network of varied catalogs to offer to films and commercials, as well as the capability to record new material from those bands if a sync project calls for it.
“People want to get their music heard, and they're very open about how to get it out into the world,” observes Garcia. “What we do here is emblematic of all the different ways that music is branching out — it's part of the business plan for any band to integrate TV, film or ad music into their whole agenda. Music licensing has become a new model in terms of artist promotion, and we're helping to facilitate that.”
The benefits of having a music supervisor working side-by-side with a music composition concern are manifold — and so obvious that you have to wonder why more people aren't working like this. “The whole idea of having Sugarbox and SIOLM in one space is the creative collaboration that each company brings to the table,” says Hollander, whose film credits include the features Waitress (Oscar short list for “Baby Don't You Cry”), Serious Moonlight and The Photographer. “Meanwhile, all the artistic friendships that we each have create a great environment. All the bands on the SIOLM roster are represented for licensing, but a lot are available for original scoring. We've made Sugarbox the studio for the feature and record work I do, and a lot of cross-collaboration occurs. Since all this stuff is happening here in one space, you end up getting involved with lots of projects.”
Garcia offers up an example of the process in action. “If we have an original scoring gig come in for commercials, we may have some staff composers do it, we may enlist some of our bands or we may throw some music supervision [licensing] in there. If we get a band to compose some original music, that's where Sugarbox comes in handy because we can utilize the space for recording. That's important to us, so that none of us feel limited.”
With 2,500 square feet of space including a live room, control room and three composing rooms well-outfitted with a mixture of analog and digital gear, Sugarbox can host bands, string sections and more for projects. “A lot of times, if I'm working on a film score, I'll say, ‘It would be great to have this kind of band for a certain aesthetic,’ so SIOLM is a great avenue for me to vary the musicians I use from film to film,” notes Hollander.
The glue between the two companies is the support of staff such as senior producer/studio manager Leigh Hurwitz. “All of the work we do can be very time-intensive in terms of logistics,” Hollander says. “When Francis and I are in our own creative world, she's on top of what's going on, making sure everything we need to do our work is actually going to happen.”
By teaming up to manage their overhead and have flexible offerings, the marriage of SIOLM and Sugarbox is literally the state of the art. “There's been a paradigm shift,” Garcia states, “with everything going toward the Web — that rings true in our business, as well. There's a bread-and-butter aspect of what we do, but there's also an idea of being diverse, wanting to be engaged and push forward as a creative force.
“The idea is that great creative, first and foremost, is going to turn around and be good for business. In this world where art, culture and commerce are so cross-pollinated, the creative possibilities are exciting to us on a personal level: Not everything we do is going to have a direct end result, and hopefully that serves the business model.”
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