Creative Process Series – Part Two
Based in London, Audio Network’s Martin Felix Kaczmarski is a multi-instrumentalist with an incredibly distinctive voice.
After earning a degree in music technology, he began to build his own studio. He’s in the process of amassing a fine collection of classic instruments and microphones which – together with the latest digital technology – he uses to create his unique sound.
Martin has recently had music synced on promos for Vice and Made in Chelsea, videos by Zoella, and Catfish: The TV Show.
As a media composer, my creative process is always evolving as I discover new ideas and work on new projects, but these three skills have been invaluable in the first few years of my career:
I really enjoy working to brief, whether for a new production album or a commercial – it’s always fun and challenging bringing new ideas to life. If you’re lucky enough to get a rough cut to write to (which is definitely not always the case!) then working collaboratively with the creative team and publishers is very rewarding and can get great results.
I like to discover and make new sounds to create sound palettes for each project. For example, I’ve just finished an album for Audio Network called Modern Living which is a collection of songs that are slick and contemporary. The drum sounds were a result of experimentation. They have a lo-fi edge which I achieved by processing them through a valve distortion unit called a Thermionic Culture Vulture.
Processing sound through effects and filters (guitar pedals are another favourite) was way of developing my own unique sound and identity. But, whatever you’re making, letting creativity lead can help you win the next pitch!
For me, it’s always been about trying to make great music. In 2011, I wrote and produced four tracks that I was really happy with and I started submitting to publishers, bespoke libraries and A&R teams. Very few – if any – replied and I started to lose confidence.
By chance, I met a successful composer who advised me not to lose heart and keep going. He told me: ‘Find the genre that you are good at, continue to develop your skills and keep knocking on doors until you make an impression.’
At the time, I was playing and gigging with indie bands so indie music was what I felt I was good at. I kept practising, honing my skills and writing indie tracks.
After what seemed like a very long time, I started to receive responses to my emails. While some were negative, others were encouraging. After just over a year of writing emails and ringing production companies, I got my first sync. A year after that, Audio Network offered me a contract.
3. Defeating writer’s block
Working creatively to a deadline is tough but rewarding. Unfortunately, writer’s block has no respect for deadlines and it’s the worst thing that can happen to you when you’re up against it.
Every composer I know goes through periods of writer’s block. A fun technique to overcome this is the ‘30 minute idea’: I set a timer and then race against it developing ideas. It’s amazing what you can come up with when you put yourself under pressure. Using this technique has resulted in developing some brilliant riffs and outlines for full tracks. It forces you to explore areas that you wouldn’t normally consider and it’s got me unstuck on a number of occasions, especially when the deadline’s looming!
Although every project’s different, experimenting, believing in your ability and sticking with it will always stand you in good stead – no matter what you’re creating.
This series will continue every day this week; tomorrow we hear from our Editor, June Wood.
Audio Network is an independent music company delivering authentic and creative music solutions to global content creators in every industry. Their production music library has over 120,500 high quality stock music tracks for TV, film, advertising and corporate video.