The Most Heard, Least Known Composers In America
July 29, 2014Posted by on
Often, when you meet someone new, one of the first questions they ask is, “What do you do?” Which always means, “What do you do for a living?” I reply that I rep Stephen Arnold Music and explain that we produce original music for broadcast and cable networks, along with creating branded music packages for local television stations. With excitement and intrigue, they ask, “Oh, you’re a musician?” I anticipate the big let down when I’m forced to respond in the negative. “Well, do you play an instrument?” Again, my less than thrilling answer: “No.”
Yes, I work for a music company, but I do not have a musical bone in my body. I tried picking up the guitar, but my fingers are really not long enough or strong enough. I tried playing the piano; again, it’s helpful to have longer digits. I played the flute in elementary school, but there was just too much spitting – ewww, gross. I suppose if Stephen was in need of a tambourine player, I could keep a gypsy beat . . . or if he needed a cow-bellist, I’d be happy to volunteer.
I’ve been with Stephen Arnold Music for 10 years, and I still stand in awe of the talent and brilliance that surrounds me. Music moves us; it motivates us to do something – dance, sing, cry, or run into the room to catch a newscast – because we recognize the music. So I am proud to say, I am part of the music industry, even though I have no musical talent.
I was talking to Pat Beard from WCTI about this very subject, and he so eloquently stated, “Every great musician needs someone awesome to support them, and that person is you.” I like that!
So next time someone asks me what I do I just might say, “I am an awesome support person for some great musicians!”
Our talented SAM staff and their instruments:
Stephen: Guitar, piano, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, harp guitar
Chad: Piano, keyboards
Whitney: Guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, piano
Noelle: French horn, mellophone, trumpet
Alice: Awesome support person
Michael: Violin, guitar (novice- with 4 songs under his belt!)
Clay: Saxophone, bass guitar, piano, guitar, and vocals AND flute, clarinet, French horn, trumpet, and tuba
Tinley: Awesome support person
Jesus: Guitar, bass guitar, congas and bongos, drums, keyboard
Lyndsey: Awesome support person
Katherine: Awesome support person
July 8, 2014Posted by on
At this year’s Station Summit in Vegas, we gave away a Tom Petty autographed 1950s Road Worn Fender Stratocaster. Unfortunately a really fantastic session ran long, and many folks missed out on their chance to win. So we’re giving them all another shot.
If you attended the Summit and entered our giveaway while there, you’re already entered in our Second Chance giveaway. We’ll be drawing a winner tomorrow (Wednesday, July 9th) at 1PM. Shortly after, we’ll post a video of the drawing right here. So stay tuned to this page to see if you’ve won!
UPDATE – We have our winner!
Congratulations to Rick Swanson from KING-TV! He’s today’s lucky winner.
June 30, 2014Posted by on
Sometimes being the “new kid on the block” has its perks! Especially when it means joining the Stephen Arnold Music team just in time for their Promax conferences in NYC and Las Vegas!
PromaxDBA: The Conference in New York was the beginning of a whole new world for me. So much to soak up, in so little time! Amidst all the hustle and meeting new clients, I was able to sit in on Stephen and Chad leading a session featuring the huge project of rebranding CCTV China’s foreign language channels. Completely blew my mind. It was so fun sitting next to a couple of guys from ESPN and getting to say “Isn’t that awesome?? They did all of our custom music!” I was beaming with pride just being a part of SAM and everything that it implies.
It was also great getting to meet some of our partners at The Brand Gallery — what a cool group they are! I am super excited to work closely with them on upcoming projects. It honestly felt like going to meet extended family at Thanksgiving — I could quickly tell that these guys love SAM, and we love them. They are OUR extended family here, and couldn’t be happier about that.
Overall, just the energy of Promax NY was exhilarating and left me wanting more. I was ready for round #2 in Vegas for sure!
And oh how Vegas did NOT disappoint! The Station Summit was a full 5 days of meeting clients and hosting happy hours in our SAM suite. We couldn’t go out without a bang of course … the annual SAM party jam session was a little “too rowdy” for the Mirage, and security shut us down just after 11pm! It’s apparent that SAM likes to have fun, y’all!
The best part about the TONS of new people that I met, they all had one thing in common: Raving fans of Stephen Arnold Music. They all went on and on about how great it is to work with SAM, how the music is incomparable to anything else they’ve heard, how much they love the people at SAM they get to work with … just kept going! Again, beaming with pride that I get the opportunity to be a part of a worthwhile company like SAM. It’s not every day that a stranger riding up the elevator with you looks at your badge and says, “Aren’t you lucky?! You get to work for Stephen Arnold Music!” The reputation that we have is incredible. Easily the coolest thing about getting to attend these conferences as the “newbie”— feeling like I was getting to tag along with ROCKSTARS! Everyone knows SAM!
I’m over the moon excited to join the Stephen Arnold Music team and can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and get to work!
June 7, 2014Posted by on
Are you attending the conference at the Mirage in Las Vegas? Make plans to stop by our special Promax guitar display, You’ll see some amazing guitars, three from Stephen’s personal collection that are featured in his recent book, A Story of Six Strings.
We’ll also be giving away a 1950s Road Worn Fender Stratocaster autographed by none other than rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame guitarist Tom Petty.
Make plans to stop by, have a chat, drop your card in the box and maybe walk away with a classic, signed guitar. The drawing is Thursday, June 26 at noon. Remember, you must be present to win.
Thursday night, don’t miss our legendary “After Hours Acoustic Jam,” now in its fourth year, featuring the sensational Byron Bordaux. We’ll be jammin’ along with our many station friends from across the country in the Penthouse Suite at the Mirage from 9 until it all comes tumblin’ down!
Good luck and hope to see you kickin’ it with us in Vegas … baby!
May 19, 2014Posted by on
Happy Monday everyone!
It’s another gorgeous Spring day here in New York and, after lounging in Central Park most of the weekend, I’m so thankful that I won’t have to leave the city for this year’s PromaxDBA: The Conference!
Stephen, Chad, and Lyndsey will all be joining me in NYC for the June 10-12th conference. I moseyed over to the Hilton Midtown last week to check out the venue, and I think we’re going to have another great convergence of creative geniuses! And, if you haven’t heard, Stephen and Chad will be giving conference-goers the inside scoop in a session featuring the rebrand and relaunch of CCTV China’s foreign language channels. Stop by the Mercury Room on Thursday at 3:45. Hope everyone’s able to check it out! #WTFuture
And if local creative is your game, keep pushing until the end of May book on Wednesday! Then give us a shout if you’d like to meet up in Vegas! This year we’ll be taking over The Mirage the last week of June for the PromaxBDA Station Summit. And yes, the wrap party Thursday night is a go. Feel free to send us a note to make sure you’re on the invite list and get all the official details.
Whether we’re seeing you in Vegas or NYC be sure to stop by, say hello, and drop your business card in for our drawing for a Tom Petty signed Road Worn Fender Stratocaster!
On a personal note – is it inappropriate to take a baby to Vegas? Nah, didn’t think so. Baby Alanis will be joining us at the roulette table. That’s his game. #STATIONSUMMIT
May 2, 2014Posted by on
2 weeks ago tomorrow, on Saturday April 19th, Jack White took to the stage in the Blue Room – an intimate venue attached to his Third Man Records store – and proceeded to crank out two tunes and record them straight to acetate. “The World’s Fastest Record” was tracked, pressed and sold in 3 hours, 22 minutes and 21 seconds.
At roughly the same time in my own neighborhood here in Dallas, – a few hours after doors opened at dawn to a line snaking around the building – several local bands took to the stage at Good Records on Lower Greenville, while patrons scoured the record bins and food trucks waited outside. What was the occasion? Record Store Day of course!
Since 2007, Record Store Day has been held to promote the independent record store – which ironically are the only record stores left! The days of Virgin Megastores, Tower Records, and even smaller chains like Peaches are all defunct. My first experience of Record Store Day was in 2011 at Rough Trade, just off of Portobello Road in London where I was living at the time – I snagged a numbered copy of Gorillaz “The Fall” (written entirely on an iPad during a 2010 US tour)
Working here at Stephen Arnold Music, we’re all audiophiles and are constantly fielding requests for mp3 versions of songs and the overall devaluation of music. And the idea that artists are timing the release of new material or packaging specialty releases in small batches – and specifically targeting Vinyl / LPs / 45’s as a delivery platform is incredibly refreshing!
I personally still remember finding my folks’ old Technics SL-D2 and an original copy of Led Zeppelin II…. for a 9 year old it was a musical awakening and truly blew my mind.
So here’s my advice to you: Take out your white earbuds, pause that compressed Apple m4a audio file, and take time out of your busy schedule next April to check out next year’s Record Store Day. There’s something for everyone – this year’s Record Store Day releases ranged from Gram Parsons to The Ramones to Public Enemy to Haim. And remember to play it loud!
Find out more here: http://www.recordstoreday.com/
April 16, 2014Posted by on
Throughout the year we’ll be highlighting some individuals here at Stephen Arnold Music. The names and faces behind the music! As you can imagine, it’s not just late night recording sessions and high profile clients… there’s blood, sweat, and tears that go into every part of our company – from our awesome sales team chasing down leads, to our admin folks answering the phones and drawing up contracts. Everyone’s got their own story, so we recently sat down with our Creative Director, Chad Cook. We asked him a few questions, and he was happy enough to let us know.
What was the first album you bought or remember listening to?
I was obsessed with vinyl records as a toddler and child. I called them “goo-gahs”. I had many 45s and full sized records and would take them everywhere with me, including the bathtub, pool, etc. Needless to say, many of them were not in the greatest of shape when I would try to play them. I’m told I was writing little songs and melodies on my toy piano from the time I could stand up. My favorite music and bands at a young age were The Beatles, Donovan, The Monkeys, Elton John, Paul McCartney and Wings, and ELO. The earliest albums that I remember playing over and over were The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s and Magical Mystery Tour, Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and Donovan’s Barabajagal. I remember being particularly infatuated with Donovan’s song “Atlantis” and The Beatles’ “A Day In The Life”. A 45 single I remember playing over and over when I was very young was “Put The Lime In The Coconut” by Harry Nilsson. Some trivia – I met and shook Paul McCartney’s hand in NYC a few years ago. But that tale is for another time.
What was your first musical instrument?
My first true musical instrument was a black Steinway baby grand piano when I was 9 years old (I still have it). I took piano lessons for many years, but spent most of my time writing my own songs and was never really interested in playing songs I did not write myself. Also, my father and uncle donated a pipe organ to our church when I was 8 years old. The church was near our house, so they would let me come in and play when it was unoccupied. I thought that was the coolest thing ever and remember many days after school experimenting and playing with that organ.
Today you produce branded music packages for some of the biggest networks in the world. How did you first learn to write / produce or learn music production?
Keyboards and programming songs became a reality when I was in high school in the 1980s, and my passion became writing songs with MIDI and collecting keyboards and sound modules so I could create and produce songs from start to finish. That led to purchasing 4 and 8 track tape recorders, a mixer, and some microphones so I could record vocals and harmonies. The first computer I used to program MIDI was an Apple IIe with 128k of memory. The program I used was called “Texture” and would only allow you to program 8 tracks of MIDI. Back then, most keyboards were not “multi-timbral” so you only had one or two sounds coming out of each keyboard. So I literally had around 7-8 keyboards, each being triggered to play an assigned sound through MIDI. My original collection of keyboards included an Emulator 2 HD, Mirage sampler, Casio CZ1, Korg DW8000, Casio RZ1 drum machine, Roland D-10, Ensoniq ESQ1, and an Oberheim OB-8.
As time went on, multi-timbral sound modules became available so there was no need to have so many actual keyboards to generate all those sounds. But those days were great because each keyboard had a distinct sound to it, so you would spend time on each instrument finding or programming each sound you needed for each part of the song. And in the case of the samplers, often creating your own sounds by sampling directly into microphones and then manipulating the sounds with various filters and oscillators. The most elaborate and powerful tool at the time was my Emulator 2HD which you have all seen in the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”. It was a very high-end sampler and allowed for getting very creative with my own sounds. At that time, new wave bands like Depeche Mode, OMD, Tears For Fears, New Order, and The Eurythmics were using the Emulator samplers as a big part of their sound.
Did you ever have a band or perform live?
I formed a band called “New Life” when I was a junior in high school, as I wanted to be able to play some of my songs live. We played at some clubs in Dallas and at some high school parties and functions. I had a bass player, guitar player, and a keyboardist. I would have to bring all of my keyboards and my computer in order to play all the parts that were not being played live (and there were many parts not being played live). I would set-up each song on the computer with an intro click track and then the band would play their parts as I would perform the vocals.
How’d the gigs go?
I never really liked playing live very much as it was such a hassle to get everything set-up and haul so much equipment around. I found that what I really liked was the creative process in the studio. To create something out of nothing, enjoy the moment you finish it, and then move onto the next idea and creation. I’ve never been one to linger. It’s go, go, go – onto the next.
Guess we have to ask you what your favorite color is and what you do when you’re not here at the studio!
My favorite colors are blue and green, so it’s no wonder I love nature and the outdoors – biking, camping, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, boating, and skiing. I love traveling and experiencing new cultures, countries, people, art, and cuisines. I’m a huge sports fan and, in particular, like football, basketball, and hockey – my favorite teams are all from Dallas, so of course the Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Mavericks. I love to read, educate myself, and grow as a person. I love the mountains, but if I had to choose, I would choose the beach, as nothing soothes my spirit more than the ocean. I am passionate about wine and the art and history of it in different cultures and regions. I live in McKinney, TX with my wife Michelle and son Keegan. I love my family, and nothing means more to me. We live near the wonderful, historic town square and close to the Stephen Arnold Music studios, so life is good. I’ve enjoyed carrying on my passion of creating and producing music and ideas with Stephen and our great team here at Stephen Arnold Music for over 20 years now and look forward to many more. There is nothing better than waking up each day knowing that the next project will bring, yet again, the challenge of creating something out of nothing.
April 3, 2014Posted by on
Very happy to announce the winner of our Dean Resonator giveaway, which we drew for today!
Congrats to Dave Shelly of KFSM-TV in Fort Smith!
Thanks to everyone for all of your great comments and feedback on Canvas, This Is The Place, All About Early and iNergy!
And definitely stay tuned for information on our next drawing.
Until next time!!
March 18, 2014Posted by on
Okay, here’s your chance to win one of the coolest guitars from Stephen’s personal collection – his 2007 Dean Chrome and Gold Acoustic-Electric Resonator!
This axe, one of Stephen’s favorites, is more of a hybrid than anything. You have the sound & tone of a true resonator, but the playability and upper neck access of an electric or really great acoustic guitar. It has a magnetic “lipstick” pickup and a piezo electric pickup, which gives you the ability to produce both electric and acoustic tones.
And who knows, master it and become the next Billy Gibbons of Texas’ own ZZ Top (maybe that’s a stretch but he owns one as well!).
All you have to do is:
1) Listen to our four most recent news branding packages, and
2) Comment on which one is your favorite: iNergy, This Is The Place, All About Early, or Canvas
(and feel free to tell us why you liked one more than the others…)
After that, your name will go directly into the hat… and you’ll be instantly eligible for the Dean Resonator — IT’S THAT EASY!
Listen to the packages here and leave a comment below:
This is the Place
All About Early
Click here for contest rules and eligibility requirements.