Buma Music in Motion is all about making meaningful connections between the music and media industry. InSync is a new, recurring column where music agencies, sync agencies and composers get the chance to talk about their top-notch productions of 2020. We will deep dive into their work, unlock behind the scenes information and plunge into their creative processes. Today, we’re inSync with Rogier van Twuijver from Modern Day Composers.
Tell us, who are you?
We are Modern Day Composers, based in Amsterdam. We create music productions for (film and game) trailers, brands and events. We mostly have clients who’d like to express their brand in a new way and therefore need a modern and refreshing sound. Since we mainly work with producers and composers with a connection to the electronic dance music scene, we are able to find the sound that our clients are looking for. In addition, we offer sonic strategy services, which means we collaborate with a client to determine how the organization should sound like in all forms of communication (internal and external) for both short and long term.
You mentioned that ‘Safe Distance Ballet’ is your top-notch production of 2020 as we like to call it, can you tell us more about this project?
We created music for an outstanding campaign of G-Star RAW in collaboration with Dutch National Opera & Ballet and Joris Voorn. The Family Amsterdam, an advertising agency, reached out and asked us to come up with a musical style for the message ‘Safe Dance Ballet’. The message G-Star wanted to put out was in context of the corona crisis and had to show that they take the 1.5-meter society seriously, but also still see plenty of possibilities within that society.
All of this was reflected in a beautiful, unique 1.5-meter tutu, telling a story of a boy and a girl who, after being separated from each other for a long time, reunite on stage. They stay tidy, keep their distance, but they dance together again. A beautiful message that’s still relevant, which is why we’re so happy that we were able to contribute to it.
So, besides the message of hope and possibilities, what was the magic behind this sync? Why do you think it worked so well?
First and foremost: the timing. This campaign came at the perfect moment. Second, the combination of the original choreography, the speaking images and the sync of classical music and electronic music that perfectly capture the RAW feeling and therewith everything that G-Star RAW stands for.
What made this song so syncable?
Different factors. Joris Voorn composed this piece of music specifically for this campaign and just previously, Boy Bianchi had set the tone for G-Star in terms of sound identity. These two gentlemen together found the perfect cocktail to provide the images with the right musical emotion. What gave the extra touch is that the strings of the National Opera & Ballet orchestra received the scores and played LIVE in the Stopera, while Joris Voorn imposed the beats and the dancers appeared on stage. You immediately see, hear and feel that this is 100% real, nothing is fake or reenacted. And we love that, that something is pure and real and comes in hard.
We can’t help but notice that there are a lot of talented musicians who participated and contributed to this campaign. Who was the music supervisor? And who contributed to this?
G-Star knew exactly what they wanted, and we made sure that we, in a modest way, granted all their ideas and wishes during the process while guarding the sound identity of the brand. We were responsible for the music supervision, but it was mainly a direct collaboration between the brand, the agency, the choreographer, the video professionals, the National Opera & Ballet and the composers.
That sounds like quite a lot of people to collaborate with. Could you tell us more about the creative process? What was that like?
It all started with a few phone calls, followed by a paper briefing, a mood board and then all involved parties had to start working simultaneously. As soon as we saw the ballerina perform in her 1.5-meter denim tutu our belief in this concept only grew. We dealt with only a two to three-week timeline and meanwhile the covid restrictions changed every week. What you’d almost forget is that we also had to keep the 1.5 meters into account throughout the whole process. That didn’t make it any easier. It was therefore extra rewarding that the end result was so strong and accommodating.
What do you think is the unique selling point?
We’re really happy that we got the message across the way we did. In times of dramatic piano music, we were able to show that things can be done differently as well. We produced electronically oriented music while still appearing serious and this hasn’t gone unnoticed. The campaign received millions of views worldwide, articles in renowned magazines, like: Vogue Italy and the New York Times, and a few weeks ago CNN showed the campaign video in the United States.
Every day we bring our ‘A’ game and that’s what pays off, the extra attention it got was the cherry on top, making all of the effort a hundred percent worth it.
With a campaign like this we can’t help but wonder; are there any interesting syncs coming up in the near future?
The great thing is that we present ourselves as the music partner for the sexy and tough, but now we also work for organizations like ABN Amro and the corporate event sector. What we like about this is that we are able to attract new target audiences for these organizations and companies by using our modern style of music and ‘simply’ appeal to the ears of new generations.
Simply appealing to the ears of new generations sounds like a great mission, but it also makes us curious; if you could work for your own agency and had to present yourself as a music partner, what previous work would you use to show off your unique selling point?
One of our first successful projects was for our client Absolut Vodka, the campaign ‘#THISISOURHOUSE’ was specifically created for their partnership with Amsterdam Dance Event. We are particularly proud of this project as this campaign, now three years old, is about equality and therefore still relevant. At the time, we already knew that electronic music would play a lasting (and connecting) role for many modern brands and we’re still experiencing the benefits of that belief. And, in another three years we will probably think the same about the ‘Safe Distance Ballet’ campaign.