Guest Mixtapes

Interview / Russell Ziecker, Head of Television Music and A&R at Lionsgate

By Amanda DK

Behind many independent music supervisors, especially in the television world, there is a studio executive working with several other independent music supervisors trying to keep multiple shows on course and colleagues on all levels happy.More often than not, these are the less glamorous positions; their names may not be in the credits, but studio music execs are still reading every script, watching every cut, solving clearance struggles and giving creative notes.  Not only that, the creatives on a project (director, producers) can sometimes perceive them as the “bad guy,” pushing corporate studio agendas at the expense of their vision.  The best ones can serve both to an equal degree at the same time – Russell Ziecker is one of these.
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Guest Mixtape + Interview / Vanaprasta: Songs from Bands Who Have Thumped Our Skulls Live

By Amanda DK

Photo Credit: Dylan Bell

It’s no big secret that artists need to have solid live show to be successful. Similarly, it’s always a disappointment when a great album does not translate to a dynamic live show.Los Angeles quintet Vanaprasta does not have that issue.  For the past few years the band has built a strong reputation almost entirely by their larger than life stage presence. They are a fixture on the music scene here, turning heads at the Sunset Strip Music Festival in 2010 and impressing audiences at their Satellite residency this past November. Nor are they strangers to the national arena; Vanaprasta made waves at this year’s CMJ Festival and have played at least a couple shows at every SXSW since 2009, really taking the festival by storm in 2011 with a total of eight shows during their time in Austin.
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Guest Mixtape + Interview / The Barr Brothers: Songs We Are Thankful For

By Amanda DK 

Photo Credit: Andre Guerette

Music and setting have always been very closely linked. For example, it’s common knowledge that Bon Iver wrote For Emma, Forever Ago in a cabin in Wisconsin.  That isolated, icy sound translated into the music and now, who can listen to those songs and not be transported to a snowy forest?

Certain concerts are made that much more memorable or magical by the location too – TV On The Radio at the Hollywood Bowl, Milo Greene in a living room.

The combination of location and timing plays a role in the affect music has on us as well. I will never forget seeing Local Natives for free at Spaceland (now the Satellite) during their residency. I had barely heard of them and was totally blown away. Considering the venues they went on to play the following year (including Walt Disney Concert Hall) it’s an incredible memory to have seen them on the tiny, sparkling Silverlake stage.

I was in the right place at the right time.

It was a serendipitous combination of location and timing that led me to The Barr Brothers as well – not only my personal discovery of the band, but it’s very formation.  And the music itself even evokes a specific sense of place.

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Guest Mixtape + Interview / So Many Wizards: Songs That Make You Wanna Stay In

By Amanda DK

Photo Credit: David Uzzardi

Nima Kazerouni might be the busiest person in East LA.  Echo Park, Silverlake, Eagle Rock.  Actually, throw Long Beach in there too.  And San Diego.  At the core of a slew of local bands including Pulse Out, Snaggletooth, and most recognizably the frontman of So Many Wizards, Kazerouni plays in venues all across SoCal on an almost monthly basis.

So Many Wizards’ unique brand of hazy, bedroom pop with a quirky edge has taken hold of the local music scene – never more so than over the course of 2011.  They stole the show from Puro Instinct at one of the last Brand X LA Unheard concerts in April, and released a brand new 7”, a follow up to the band’s 2010 EP, Love Songs For When You Leave Me.  There have been line-up changes and additions the result of which is a new lush, bigger sound, and one that Kazerouni is particularly excited about.  Most recently, So Many Wizards has shared stages with a slew of other buzz bands, including Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Lord Huron, Real Estate and more.  It’s only a matter of time before audiences across the country are just as familiar with Kazerouni’s playful falsetto, bouncy melodies and the name “So Many Wizards.”

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Guest Mixtape + Interview / Madonna Wade-Reed: Adult Fairy Tales

By Amanda DK

Some people think music supervision is just picking the songs trending on blogs that week. While good musical taste is certainly a job requirement, it is by no means the most important skill a music supervisor needs to be truly great. You need to know how to clear a song, how to negotiate, how to draft a license, and not only how to keep track of all that paperwork, but translate the important information to the entire production team – while still keeping everyone happy. The best music supervisors are extremely creative and extremely organized. Madonna Wade-Reed is one such music supervisor.

A spitfire with wild hair and limitless energy, Reed got into “the industry” via the music video world and, after segueing into supervision, has worked on a wide variety of television and film projects. On the film side, A Thousand Words (yet to be released), My Boss’s Daughter, The Perfect Scoreand most recently, the television movies and FRED 2: Night Of The Living Fred and Fred: The Movie (based on Lucas Cruikshank’s popular YouTube character), for which she received a nomination by The Guild of Music Supervisors for their “Best of 2010” awards. On the television side the Montreal, Canada native has music supervised several hit series known for their stellar soundtracks: Summerland, What About Brian, Smallville, Felicity, to name just a few, the last being one of the first to bring attention to music in television, paving the way for the music driven shows of today. She even kicked off the first two seasons of CW mainstay, One Tree Hill, and most recently created the sound for the Charlie’s Angels reboot for ABC, which was unfortunately cancelled a few weeks ago, but featured tracks by artists from Lykke Li to Rise Against to Jennifer Lopez.

In between wrapping up her third season on raunchy college football comedy, Blue Mountain State (Spike) and the January 3rd premiere of Jane By Design (ABC Family), Madonna took time to put together a mix of songs for TA that are guaranteed to take you to a magical place, titled “Adult Fairy Tales.” We then met up at the delightful Oaks Gourmet, where she gave me some insight into her own journey, creating a successful soundtrack, the difference between fairytales for adults and children, and her most transcendent concert experiences (trust me, they can’t be beat).

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