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Visual Music Nurtures "Next Gen" Composers & Artists

Music house focuses on developing 10 new creative "spirits" (July 06, 2005)

Award-winning music company Visual Music has recently signed a talented group of 10 young composers and artists. Dubbed "Next Gen" by Creative Director Tom Seufert, an enthusiastic and surprisingly sophisticated group of creative "spirits" has come under Visual Music's wing. Topping the list is Devon Seufert (Tom's 17-year-old son) who has just scored his first national TV spot, "Lifeguard," for General Mills via ad agency Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis. The Peanut Butter Toast Crunch spot features a fun Ska track with horn figures that punctuate the silly antics of a wacky lifeguard. The spot first broke during Memorial Day Weekend.

Campbell Mithun Producer Evan Petty, who has had an ongoing relationship with Visual Music, explains that he and his team were charged with coming up with a music track to accompany the rough cut that would then be submitted to the client. The creatives decided on a Ska vibe early on in the process and Petty worked with Tom Seufert to develop broad specs for the music.

"We needed something that would set the tone of the commercial. My preference was to have a music house write the track. Tom [Seufert] provided us with a number of ideas to get a better feel for the musical direction. One of the tracks that were presented to us was from Devon [Seufert]. We make our decisions based on the music itself so we didn't realize the connection until after the fact. Several of the tracks worked well, but we chose Devon's track to sync to the rough cut. The client agreed and was very happy with the final result. I like working with Tom because he provides you with a number of options within a zone. This is helpful since you never can tell how it's going to work until you put it up against picture. It's been a very successful collaboration with Tom."

Tom Seufert has been mentoring a number of young composers and artists, taking them to music technology seminars, their first NAMM Music show in January 2005 and allowing them access to Visual Music's state-of-the-art Pro Tools studio.

"One of my major missions is to expose young artists to the technological miracles available today. The other is to develop and present 'Next Gen' composers and artists to creative opportunities in television commercials, movie trailers, interactive media and internet viral campaigns, TV and film," remarks Seufert. "It's great to be able to present fresh faces and approaches to clients for their music needs. These up-and-coming composers and artists have really created their own unique sounds and are tuned into very different areas of youth culture. For instance, there's The Gone Jahmen Crew, a band of four DJs who blend hip-hop with hardcore rock, old skool punk, reggae and turntablism...or a retro-traditional Ska band like The Roundabouts. It's all about diversity, unbridled youthful enthusiasm and creativity."

Other recent "Next Gen" additions include:

*Andy Grossnickle, 24, is a vocalist and recording artist; his last group (the ultra hardcore band Sect) performed on the national Vans Warpt Tour and throughout the Los Angeles area including the Roxy and The Whiskey. Grossnickle also did the lead vocal and VO for a popular Bandai spot titled "Rhythmic," which was composed by Tom Seufert for J. Walter Thompson, Los Angeles. Mark Taylor, Art Director for the project, noted that Grossnickle's contribution to the spot's success was crucial.

"The client wanted a track that was young-at-heart," comments Taylor. "After much discussion about the direction of the music, we decided to go straight to the source and capture a true youth approach. Andy [Grossnickle] was amazing. Under the direction of Tom Seufert, Andy gave us the performance that we wanted. There were a few words that needed to be incorporated into the song, such as the names of the Bandai characters, but we let Andy dictate the tone, improvise and ad lib around the words. The end result was something that felt really youthful and fresh, and the client loved it. Andy is incredibly talented and smart and you just want him to succeed because he has raw talent."

*Bear McCreary, 25, is an award-winning classically trained composer (with degrees in composition and recording arts from the prestigious USC Thornton School of Music) and a self-taught accordionist. McCreary recently completed scoring the first season of the critically acclaimed new space drama "Battlestar Galactica." McCreary has scored over 30 independent films, including director Jon Chu's musical short When the Kids Are Away. Other notable projects include the Discovery Channel miniseries "The 5 Coolest Things" starring Matt LeBlanc, as well as Miramax's My Baby's Daddy and Fox Searchlight's sleeper hit Johnson Family. McCreary is among the handful of select composers who studied independently with the late film music legend Elmer Bernstein (The Magnificent Seven, Far From Heaven).

* The Gone Jahmen Crew is a band of four "twenty something" DJs who blend hip-hop with hardcore rock, old skool punk, reggae and turntablism...a group of DJs like no other.

* The Roundabouts features Mike Firestone, 23, who is the lead vocalist, songwriter and trumpet player. The band's current EP was produced by Tom Seufert just prior to its Hollywood club debut June 21st at The Knitting Factory's Blue Beat Lounge in Hollywood, CA.

*Elseworth is a five-piece alt "new" rock band in its early 20s from Riverside, CA that performed June 4th at Localpalooza in Redlands, CA and has opened concerts for My Chemical Romance and others. Members include Dean Schulz (vocals), Joe Capraro (guitar), Monte Kunetka (bass), Ricky Rivera (guitar) and Andre Morales (drums).

*Ian Anderson, 18, saxophonist for The Roundabouts and a developing film composer. Anderson performed the horn parts in the General Mills "Lifeguard" commercial.

*Ritual is a four-piece band in its 20s from San Bernadino, CA that has crafted a sound similar to a funk version of Rage Against the Machine.

*Aetrium - a five-piece band from Riverside, CA that performs songs in the style of early Incubus.

*Take Hold is an "Old School Hardcore Thrash Punk" band featuring 17-year-old guitarist Jared Gampbel.

Visual Music has recently contributed its talent to numerous projects including: "The Legend Lives" for Ford (Zubi), "Dice" for Bandai (Colby & Partners), "Journey" and "Umbilical Brothers" for Toyota (Saatchi & Saatchi), "Bodyguard," "Radio DJ" and "Music Mixer" for General Mills (Campbell Mithun) and a promo for "Casino" on Fox Television.

About Visual Music
Visual Music in its current incarnation was formed in 1998 by Creative Director/Composer Tom Seufert and is built upon a network of now more than 50 hit songwriters, composers, sound designers and recording artists. The company's mission is to bring passion, commitment, innovation and inspired music and sound design to its clients by exploring diverse musical possibilities within its creative network. This business model enables Visual Music to deliver a wide variety of music and sound design to clientele.

Visual Music is located at 22900 Califa Street, Woodland Hills, CA 91367. T: 818.704.6585. F: 818.704.6585. [email protected]


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