15 Aug L.A. Visit
I was lucky enough to recently visit L.A. (in June….took me a while to get photos organized!). I think for many musicians…..not all, obviously, but many…..Los Angeles is kinda like a ‘Holy Grail’ city. It is for me anyway. So much can happen there, so much is possible. I also have early memories of LA on TV when I was a kid, namely Beverly Hills Cop!
80’s Hollywood aside, if you like film music (which I LOVE), LA is IT. Obviously the major film companies are all based here, so its no surprise that LA is the Mecca for all things film music. Many young-and-hopeful film composers pack their bags and head to LA in the hope of ‘making it’ in an incredibly competitive and unpredictable industry, much the same as aspiring actors do. ‘Making It’ in this town appears to require several key ingredients: Hard work (lots of it); talent & skill; persistence & determination; some serious schmoozing/entrepreneurial skills; and good luck. And that’s no guarantee for success…..but a good starting point!
To chat about the industry I caught up with old HMI friend Kyle Newmaster and picked his brain on many issues – Kyle is doing very well for himself, check out his website for more info!
If you love films and film music, its also quite inspiring to visit the location where the Oscars are held, the Dolby Theatre. No photos allowed inside so this is all I got, but you get to walk around the lobby, back stage and onto the main stage where the awards are presented….many photos of past winners. Unfortunately there aren’t any Oscar award statues available in the gift shop.
To get a players perspective, I also caught up with a bass trombonist I met while studying at U.M, Craig Gosnell….who does a seriously good Sean Connery accent (not heard in photo). Craig is also doing great – like Kyle, he essentially arrived in LA knowing only a handful of people in the business – step-by-step he progressed through the field and has grown a reputation as a solid, reliable and capable bass trombonist who is now playing with The Gordon Goodwin Big Band, Dancing With the Stars, and many film scoring and other jazz recording sessions.
It was great to find out what its like to be an instrumentalist in LA – among the best sight readers in the world! Craig gave me great advice on booking musicians, orchestra contractors, recording studios etc etc. My dream is to record some new big band charts at either Ocean Way Studios (known as the ‘Abbey Road of the West’) or Capitol Studios. Many of my musical heroes have recorded at both, just look at the recording alumni – it’s pretty amazing! Combine that with the Craig telling me that LA has a ton of great musicians available…..who are busy, but if booked in advance, still available for sessions…..all of a sudden Myles wants to move to LA! Not to mention it being the best place to shop for gear….I think its important not to get caught up in gear, because at the end of the day its about the music, not what gear you have….but gears helps you make the sound, the energy and the feeling behind what you’re doing….and LA has all the tools you need…..at much cheaper prices than where I come from!!
And if you’re short on inspiration, there’s the mega store Amoeba Music for Cds etc…..