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Thinking In Sound: Why 2 Brains are Better Than 1 with Fabien Bermant and Pierre-Marie Wudarski



Cezame Music Agency's business developer and head of marketing and communication and on musical heroes, large listening spectrums and sounds creating emotion

Thinking In Sound: Why 2 Brains are Better Than 1 with Fabien Bermant and Pierre-Marie Wudarski

Fabien Bermant started his carrer in the music publishing business in 1996 at Koka Media after a master in media law.

He then worked of couple of years in the jazz business, before he joined Cézame Music Agency as head of marketing & communication and is now in charge of international operations.

Pierre-Marie Wudarski handled the publishing of InFine Record as well as the Sync operations for InFine and Warp Records in France . It’s been four years now he is working at Cezame Music Agency as business developer in advertising and cinema for France and UK .

LBB> When you’re working on a new brief or project, what’s your typical starting point? How do you break it down and how do you like to generate your ideas or response?

Pierre-Marie> It's important to understand the needs of the client and exercise empathy on two levels: 

  • What are the references in terms of music? Which tracks can I find to be as close as the brief requires?
  • Take a step back and understand the bigger pictures with the mood, the brand, the target and the message. 

and if possible it's always better to be relevant as quick as possible and arrive with very few but accurate ideas into fresh ears because your client will receive tons of music and don't have time to waste and for that the many Cezame tools are very useful. 

Fabien> Among the tools, I use the AI powered Cezame website. If I have a YouTube reference link, I can copy it into the search bar. The search engine quickly suggests a list of relevant tracks. I then create a project with the client or share the best options via Disco. Updated thematic Playlists can sometimes be very useful. 

LBB> Music and sound are in some ways the most collaborative and interactive forms of creativity - what are your thoughts on this? 

Fabien> I guess music and sounds have always been a large creative field. Options with music and sounds are infinite and it’s sometimes easier to work with clients who have a precise idea of their needs and project.

Pierre-Marie> Sounds create emotions! No matter where we come from, we all have referral music and sounds that we want to share. Fun fact, we all have heard the exact same 1st sound when we were born, which is the heartbeats of our mothers, before touching or seeing anything so that's why it is crucial. This is what brings pictures alive and settle the mood of the scene. 

LBB> Do you prefer to work solo or with a gang - and what are some of your most memorable professional collaborations?

Pierre-Marie> Two brains get more ideas than one! You never hear or understand a track fully and it's always good to get new perspectives. And what I like is to explain very quickly the interest of a track just to make the supervisors' job easier with new ideas.

Fabien> Sharing options and ideas is always a good way to enlarge the field of suggestions.

I remember a beautiful campaign for Guinness with ‘Dream Comes True’, a great track from Baptise Thiry and a worldwide Nespresso campaign featuring George Clooney & Danny de Vito. With La Zingarra by Piotr Moss. 

We worked on series like ‘Killing Eve’ and ‘I May Destroy You’ (BBC1), new season of ‘Slow Horses’ (Apple TV+).

LBB> What’s the most satisfying part of your job and why?

Fabien> I guess the most satisfying part is when a music selection I’ve sent to a client was used for a large part on a great series, ad or motion picture. I also very much enjoy announcing such good news to concerned composers. Watching the result on screen is always satisfactory.

Pierre-Marie> Getting briefs is exciting! Working on short notice gives a bit of emergency which I like. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle to solve very quickly, you have to be a player a bit but It's a work of regularity and relevance and I love when through a random bunch of briefs sent to many people, a music supervisor comes directly at you and ask for advises. 

LBB> As the advertising industry changes, how do you think the role of music and sound is changing with it?

Fabien> Ad campaigns being pretty much everywhere, and people watching those more and more on their smartphones using earplugs, efficient music and sound compensate for reduced image formats.

Pierre-Marie> Interesting that nowadays brands start to work harder on Sonic Branding. Between all the information surrounding us each and everyday, a sound will more easily step out of the mess and give you an idea, a desire. It's a bit like Inception!

LBB> Who are your musical or audio heroes and why?

Fabien> There are hundreds but if I had to name a couple: Miles Davis, Prince, Art Blakey and David Bowie… speaking of which, I recommend the film ‘Moonage Daydream’.

Pierre-Marie> My First Hero would be Ray Charles, but I grew up listening to a lot of punk rock so I would mention Joe Strummer as well and ' Screamadelica' from Primal Scream is definitely an album I would bring on a desert island 

LBB> And when it comes to your particular field, whether sound design or composing, are there any particular ideas or pioneers that you go back to frequently or who really influence your thinking about the work you do?

Fabien> Certainly. I would recommend Angelo Badalamenti for his work with David Lynch, Ennio Morricone for his entire career and work with Sergio Leone. I’m also fond of Hans Zimmer and John Williams.

Pierre-Marie> Only Big Names... John Williams for sure, the ability to compose such iconic themes. I think we have to keep an eye on Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for all their next score production.

LBB> When you’re working on something that isn’t directly sound design or music (let’s say going through client briefs or answering emails) - are you the sort of person who needs music and noise in the background or is that completely distracting to you? What are your thoughts on ‘background’ sound and music as you work?

Fabien> Understanding a brief or client’s need is at least 50% of the job. Concentration and quiet is then very important. We often use our isolated listening or mastering studios for better focus or listening conditions. We’re also very often discovering new music and tendencies. Having the largest music culture is very important in our field of activity. 

Pierre-Marie> Of course we always love to listen and discover new music but we also have to be focussed and work in a quiet environment often too. When not working on a brief I can easily put an album on, a new release from an upcoming artist or a new project, it depends. 

LBB> I guess the quality of the listening experience and the context that audiences listen to music/sound in has changed over the years. There’s the switch from analogue to digital and now we seem to be divided between bad-ass surround-sound immersive experiences and on-the-go, low quality sound (often the audio is competing with a million other distractions) - how does that factor into how you approach your work?

Fabien> Listening experience spectrum is incredibly large nowadays. One can listen to music pretty much everywhere… even underwater. Quality of most sound devices has dramatically improved over the years, even though the quality of the original signal switched from analogue to digital, while there’s also a big comeback of the vinyl.

Pierre-Marie> It is all a matter of purpose: what is the role of the music on the project you are working on? Will it be an underscore with a lot of voices or is it to enlighten a beautiful aesthetic video with no speak? 

The key point here would be to work hard on the mix and mastering because no matter who will listen to the song and on which device, you have to be demanding from the start. 

LBB> On a typical day, what does your ‘listening diet’ look like?

Fabien> I can start with listening to new releases from Cezame Music or sub-published labels, then music research to answer briefs. It can then go from catchy electro pop to classic highlights or rock versions of Christmas carols.

Pierre-Marie> Pretty much the same and I try to listen to one new song or artist everyday.

LBB> Do you have a collection of music/sounds and what shape does it take (are you a vinyl nerd, do you have hard drives full of random bird sounds, are you a hyper-organised spotify-er…)?

Fabien> I guess it all depends on the various moments and places of the day. At work it sure is 100% online, from the Cezame website to Spotify etc.…  At home I kept hundreds of CD’s among my favourites and I’m now pretty much into jazz vinyl's.

Pierre-Marie> Had a lot of playlists on Spotify but I've got many Vinyl records as well, especially in punk and electronic music with labels such as Warp Records.

LBB> Outside of the music and sound world, what sort of art or topics really excite you and do you ever relate that back to music (e.g. history buffs who love music that can help you travel through time, gamers who love interactive sound design… I mean it really could be anything!!)

Fabien> I say, travels (each time it’s possible), environment and technology. But it’s strange how music is never far away… I’m always curious about new music, concert places in France or abroad, and every time I can, I’ll go and discover new venues for exhibitions (recently ‘Black Indians’ in Paris). 

Pierre-Marie> Books, Cinema , Sport (love Rugby) Travels and a passion for comics, writing  myself stories, and... science ! When you are learning something completely different from your field of expertise, it certainly gives interesting ideas.

LBB> Let’s talk travel! It’s often cited as one of the most creatively inspiring things you can do - I’d love to know what are the most exciting or inspiring experiences you’ve had when it comes to sound and music on your travels?

Fabien> I love traveling. I discovered the sound of the Valiha when in Malagasy, the local Taarab band in Zanzibar and amazing jazz bands in New Orleans. I’d love to hear an authentic salsa band in Cuba.

Pierre-Marie> I love traveling for music Festivals. I went to Austin for SXSW, where you could see bands like Motorhead in a random venue and get really close. I'd also recommend the Nos Primavera Festival in Porto with the best of each indie scene in a beautiful frame. 

LBB> As we age, our ears change physically and our tastes evolve too, and life changes mean we don’t get to engage in our passions in the same intensity as in our youth - how has your relationship with sound and music changed over the years?

Fabien> This is a very good question. Music has always been and will always be in my life. My taste has changed over time. I enjoyed punk rock and new wave before I came to jazz, electro pop and classical music. “If it’s too loud, you’re too old!” used to say hard rock fans to their parents. Nevertheless, I sure want to be able to hear music for the rest of my life, so I’ll definitely protect my ears!

Pierre-Marie> I used to be out pretty much every night in rock and electronic venues more often, but I think this is an energy that is evolving to a bit more comfort in the experience of listening to music :) 

And now I try to give a few keys with music to the next generations and give children the taste for music discoveries, dance and sing so it's definitely quieter!

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Cezame Music Agency, Mon, 05 Dec 2022 16:39:40 GMT