Music Production courses at BIMM aren’t just about programming beats and mixing ‘in the box’. Music for film and moving image is one particular module which, for some, can lead to a varied and exciting career path. When we last spoke with BIMM Bristol graduate Adam Adams, he was entering the final year of his BA (Hons) Music Production Degree, and had developed a keen interest within the field of film scoring. We recently caught up with Adam to see where this interest has taken him so far.
What have you been up to since graduating last year?
I have been working as an assistant and a tech guru for my friend James who is a Bristol-based composer. I am responsible for keeping his studio in the best condition possible in terms of hardware and software. I have also developed a bunch of extra features to speed up his workflow like custom scripts and touchscreen surface improvements. Additionally, I have been fortunate enough to assist on the last two projects he has been working on; doing all kinds of music preparation for recording and mixing sessions. On my own, I have been working with my filmmaker friends writing music for their projects. One of them, a full feature documentary about students from UWC Dilijan, has just been released online after a very successful screening!
Can you tell us what your latest project has been about?
The latest project I had been assisting on was called ‘Heroes’ and it’s about the stars of motorsports. They talk about their wins, losses and the constant fear of danger when you drive on the edge. It’s an incredible overview of how driving in different disciplines, be it F1, WRC or endurance races like 24H Le Mans is very similar, yet different. The score is a great amalgamation of soaring string lines and edgy electronic percussion and it all sounds incredible. I’ll never forget our recording sessions in both Real World Studios and AIR Studios with a world class musicians, being part of the team.
How did you land your most recent work assisting the composer?
I work for James Everingham. He’s a Bristol-based composer who closely collaborates with Bleeding Fingers Music. His music can also be found in Extreme Music library, among the likes of Hans Zimmer, Mark Mothersbaugh, Tyler Bates, Brian Tyler, Pharrell Williams and more. He’s an incredibly talented and hardworking composer.
One day, he had a problem with this setup which had set him back from writing for couple of days and posted about it on one of the composer groups on Facebook. After reaching out to him, I managed to quickly fix the issue which then resulted in me coming to his studio more frequently and start working alongside him on the Pro Tools machine. It is great fun being able to nerd out about the latest technology but also implement it and react to any problems that (inevitably) occur. Seeing him work and what goes on behind the scenes of composing on a feature film has given me a lot of knowledge and valuable experience.
What sorts of skills have you needed to employ and what role have you officially fulfilled during this most recent project?
As an assistant, I was responsible for preparing the Pro Tools sessions for both of the recording sessions and the mixing session in LA. This is one of the skills I have learned at BIMM from the likes of Tim Allen and Marco Migliari. Marco was particularly influential, instilling in me that learning Pro Tools is an essential skill in the industry and will definitely benefit me in the future.
The other things I do around the studio are mostly related to my knowledge of both Windows and macOS which I have been working on for more than 15 years now. But I’ve learned a lot about things related to modular or regular synths and all kind of music technology at BIMM, knowledge of which I employ on a daily basis. The BA (Hons) Music Production course has opened my eyes to an enormous range of possibilities in today’s music world. Studying and working alongside a variety of producers in a plethora of genres has given me so much to develop my own voice and a range of skills which are essential to my role today.
What advice would you offer someone looking to land a similar sort of role?
Say “yes” and learn on the job. There is an industry legend about Lorne Balfe getting an assistant position with Hans Zimmer. When Hans asked him if he knew how to operate Cubase, he simply said yes. The catch was – he had never worked in a Cubase before. In order to prepare himself, he read an enormous manual overnight and after some time, learning as he went, he became quite fluent in said DAW. So my advice is, if the opportunity arises, do not let it go because you never know what might come out of it. No one will expect you to be the best at everything from the start. Use your short experience to try things and make mistakes. If not now, then when?