A Cup of Coffee with Molly Young
by Ilaria Mangiardi
Meet Molly, MassiveMusic’s Head of Production in North America. Molly has worked in the music industry her entire career, first as a record store clerk then as a music supervision intern. Following a stint in radio, she then spent the better part of a decade doing location sound for different music publications, including The FADER, before eventually moving into commercial music, which is where she is now. She has produced Grand Prix winning XR projects, Graphite Pencil winning music projects, and twice swept the AICP SDX sector. She loves The Matrix trilogy, metal, history, and is a self-identified truth-seeker. Let’s get to know Molly and find out how she’s surviving the New York winter. But first, coffee.
This series is called ‘A Cup of Coffee with,’ which sounds like rituals and deep conversations. What’s a good habit you formed over the past year and one you’d like to get rid of?
After I stopped commuting and started working from home, I found myself not getting out much. But over the past few years, there have been a lot of owls in Central Park, so during my free time I go see the owls. And when I don’t go searching for owls, I just go on long walks. Last night, I walked from the Upper West Side to Times Square for no real reason.
That sounds like something you need coffee for. Do you have a go-to coffee order?
I don’t really drink coffee when I’m out; I drink tea. But at home, I drink The Jamaican Blue Mountain Style Coffee from Zabar’s: specifically, a pour-over with an Elmhurst Creamer.
Zabar’s, a true Upper West Side institution. Did you grow up in the Big Apple, or are you a New York transplant?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, but I have lived in New York for almost ten years. Winter is my favorite season, and it better fits my wardrobe.
Let’s talk entertainment. If you were going out tonight, where would you be headed, and who would be performing?
I’ve been going to shows my whole life, so at this point, if I’m going out, I like it to be something uniquely exciting. Most recently, what got me out was an H.R. Giger exhibition at Lomex Gallery. They had an avant-garde metal guitarist named Mick Barr perform, and if there is experimental metal at a Giger exhibition, I will be there.
How would you describe your job to someone you just met?
From beginning to end, my job is to ensure that everything sounds great when you turn on your television.
What do you like most about working at Massive?
I love that I work with a bunch of incredibly passionate and talented people who love music as much as I do.
What’s your favorite MassiveMusic project or campaign so far?
We have a lot of work in the pipeline that I am super proud of, but I’m not able to talk about it yet. Let’s keep it at that, with an air of mystery.
Are there any brands you’d love to collaborate with?
There is a clothing designer named Asher Levine who did all the clothing for Grimes’ “Shinigami Eyes” video. He does VR, 3D printed clothing, with very compelling visual concepts. Monster Energy Drink also has some very cool opportunities. You see it at bull riding events, dirt racing tracks; at concerts there is always a dedicated Monster Energy Drink refrigerator. I love that they have deep ties to both the Americana aesthetic and the music industry. I once heard a comedian say that the logo looks like some kid carved an “M” into their desk – I love that too. Finally, of course, the high watermark for music curation and sync in gaming – Rockstar Games.
Why do brands need to include music in their strategy nowadays?
With our attention spans ~famously~ waning, barely even tearing our eyes away from the phone while we “watch” tv, sonic branding and a well-considered/recognizable musical identity allows brands to maintain an undersold share of the viewer’s attention when they are no longer engaging visually.
New technologies are changing the way brands approach music. What positive impact do you anticipate this having on music production and sonic branding?
TikTok’s move to prominence – it’s the first truly sound on social media platform since Vine – has many brands scrambling to find the means to take part in a way that is authentic to themselves and users. Unlike traditional music production for video, where you create music for the visuals rather than create visuals for the music, TikTok uses a music first production method. Therefore, the music we create sets the tone, pace, action points, and prompts from the get-go.
Another hot topic is The Metaverse, which presents brands with an opportunity to consider how sonic branding assets and music can work in a VR space and opens up the ability to design and mix assets with spacial sound. Because the headset fully immerses users, the consideration becomes how to maintain a user’s interest. Well-designed sonic assets and thoughtful triggers can be hugely beneficial here.
If you had to make a playlist to describe your life, what would be the first four songs?
“Suum Cuique” by Nails (Latin for “to each their own” or “may all get their due”)
“Advice” by TAEMIN.
“On the Radio ” by Donna Summer & Giorgio Moroder (the long version)
“Infatuation” by SOPHIE
If you could have lunch with anyone in the music industry, who would it be, and what would you ask them?
I would like to have lunch with John Carpenter. Famously, he didn’t do the score for The Thing. He had Ennio Morricone do it. So I would ask if he took a stab at it, and if he did, is there a “Lost Theme,” and can I get a link?