MUSIC+SOUND AWARDS TALK TO...
GEORG VON DEM BUSSCHE
Co-Founder + Music Supervisor at
Georg von dem Bussche co-founded PlayDis! in 2011 together with Felix Haaksman and Robin Hofmann. As the music production subsidiary of leading audio branding company HearDis!, PlayDis! gathers music and film enthusiasts whose passion is to work with exceptional artists and composers – acclaimed or lesser known yet equally talented – and incorporate their skills into bespoke music for film and advertising purposes. To date, Georg has supervised the music production of global TV commercials for renowned brands such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Coca-Cola, Volkswagen, Samsung, Toyota, Vodafone and more. PlayDis! is based in Berlin, a city with a vibrant music scene and home to a growing number of new talent.
Formerly, Georg has worked as a songwriter, producer and remixer, best known for his music production collaboration with Dixon - one of today's most sought-after DJs worldwide. For his solo releases as well as in Wahoo (production duo with Dixon), Georg collaborated with several esteemed artists such as Jazzanova, Basement Jaxx, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Âme, Masters at Work, Miss Platnum amongst others. After completing his academic career at Goldsmiths College in London, Georg entered the world of film and TV production first at MTV UK and later at Markenfilm Hamburg and Trigger Happy Productions Berlin.
So let’s hear from Georg…
Can you tell us a bit about your background and how your career path has led you to where you are?
I considered writing music for the moving image as a job option at a very young age. Inspired by Roman Polanski’s “Vampire Killers”, I wrote and directed a 25 minute Dracula film when I was 10 (shot on Super-8 by my mum, starring myself as Dracula & my friends as my victims). While shooting with an unruly crew was rather stressful (i.e. lots of night shoots with school kids who were quickly getting tired or scared in the dark), the dubbing was the most fun part for me. Some tracks of the soundtrack were own compositions played on an old harmonium, but we also had the instrumental track “Funeral for a Friend” by Elton John as the opener (my first music placement!). However, in every screening it was a total nightmare & embarrassment to get my cassette tape into sync with the Super-8 projector, so I guess from then on I just wanted to get it right.
What’s an average day-in-the-life of Georg von dem Bussche like? What’s the usual balance of composing, music placement, producing, business development etc?
Finding the right balance between those disciplines is my major day-to-day challenge and I think it comes with the job. There is no average day-in-the-life of people who do what we do. Don’t believe anyone here saying they have it all sorted out. In most cases, music houses sit right at the end of the production line. Therefore, your timetable has to be very flexible.
Have you worked on any projects recently that you’ve been particularly excited about? And any especially challenging projects you can pinpoint?
Last year I was asked to compose a short musical for “Sendung mit der Maus”, a classic children’s TV programme in Germany that’s been around since the early 70s. The piece is about a singing blade of grass on a football field, determined to score a goal. My 7-year-old daughter has a small role in it as a corner flag, also singing. Little time, very little budget & totally from scratch, this was challenging but also fun.
Can you describe your workflow when beginning a new project?
We have a great crew of song searchers in-house so in most cases we suggest a few possible musical directions with existing songs. Quite often this is the most important and difficult part of the process – you have to get a feel of the film as well as the differing tastes (and agendas) of the stakeholders involved. If you come up with something that you like but that is actually totally off-brief, at least one of the decision makers will lose her/his trust in you. Apart from the creative side, you need to get an idea of the political situation. Quite often, the director, agency creatives and client representatives have already spent ages on set together and disagree on certain points. Sometimes they can’t stand each other anymore. So it is about listening, finding solutions & building confidence rather than throwing ideas at the wall and seeing if they stick.
The fun part for me starts in the studio. I like working within a restricted framework. In a best-case scenario, everyone has decided on one or two moods for inspiration and you have plenty of time because the film needs loads of CGI. However, sadly, this is not always the case. The real challenge here is to produce an emotional and credible piece of music in a short time that stands on its own. You don’t want to be generic or close to a temp track (or both), you want to be better or, at least, find the better fit for the film.
Have you noticed any trend shifts in what type of music is being sought?
A few years ago it was either about finding the next hipster-compatible, pitchfork-approved hit or something imperfect, authentic and hand-made. Now, in the era of Netflix, everybody is talking about storytelling, so there is also a noticeable shift towards score. Directors and creatives don’t want their films to come across like music videos anymore, now they want to create little pieces of feature film.
And last but not least, how do you think a competition like The Music+Sound Awards helps the industry?
I definitely believe it helps. In comparison to other crafts, there is very little exchange among music houses and composers. Ad agency or film production people frequently change jobs and therefore gain experience in different companies. They mingle much more with each other. Music people are rather isolated and know very little about their fellows. But since we are at the end of the food chain, it is high time that we get together, stand up and start a riot!
Find out more about Georg and Playdis! on their website, www.playdis.tv