SongZu Becomes MassiveMusic
by Ilaria Mangiardi
Expanding the team with more creative masterminds
Expanding the team with more creative masterminds
Last year, our mission was to expand our global footprint. With a new office opening its doors in Warsaw and our entire team wrapping up amazing projects all around the globe, we can proudly say that we’ve succeeded in doing so.
Our mission hasn’t stopped there — new year, new opportunities, right?
We’re massively proud to announce that Song Zu, the longest-running and most-awarded music & sound company in the APAC region, is set to become MassiveMusic. With them having offices in both Sydney and Singapore, Song Zu will now become MassiveMusic Sydney and Singapore, giving us a new total of nine offices (yes, you heard that right) all over the world.
These creative musical masterminds do not only have experience in sonic branding, music composition and production and licensing — they’re bringing juicy stuff to the table, since they specialise in Sound Design. Combine that with our worldwide expertise on sonic branding, bespoke music composition and much more, and you’ll always hit the right note for any project you need.
MassiveMusic Sydney and Singapore will be led by Ian Lew, Managing Director, and Ramesh Sathiah, Executive Creative Director, with all of the previous Song Zu partners and employees as part of the leadership team.
We’re giving you a small peek behind the scenes as we sat down with both Ian and Ramesh (the cool kids are allowed to call him Mesh) to talk about the power of music and sound and what the future holds for MassiveMusic Sydney and Singapore.
Let us introduce you to Ian Lew, the Managing Director of MassiveMusic Sydney. He graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, with a Bachelor of Business Studies. After specialising in advertising and media and taking a sabbatical to focus on the world of music and film, Ian has spent eight years overseeing Song Zu Singapore. Fun fact: he spends way too much time in second hand record stores.
Let’s start off easy. With Song Zu Singapore and Sydney now being part of MassiveMusic, what is the thing you’re most excited about?
Ian > I have always been a fan of MassiveMusic. I spent 8 years living in Singapore running Song Zu there, and we would regularly go up against Massive in music pitches. We would win some, Massive would win some, but we always knew we would have to bring our A game on these projects. Now we have the opportunity to combine creative forces and what we can offer our clients is truly formidable. The first project we worked on together with Massive was Samsung Performance Enhancing Music for the Tokyo Olympics and has (at time of writing) collected 15 awards including 4 Golds at the Australian AWARD awards. And this is only the beginning…
Have brands in the Australian and the Asia Pacific region already acknowledged the power of music, or is there still much work to be done?
Ian > Having spent a significant number of years immersed in both the Australian and South East Asian advertising industries, I have to say I have nearly always been impressed by the importance placed on music by both agencies and brands for their communications. They understand that music is the emotional connection to their audience. Whenever a publication here in Australia compiles a list of the greatest advertising spots of the past so many years, the vast majority have earned their place because of the soundtrack rather than the visuals.
What has been exciting for us over the past few years since we started offering the full Sonic Branding package, from strategy through to production, is the genuine appetite within brands for a much deeper dive into how music and sound can enhance their communications. This is particularly evident when we hold our client workshops at the studio. The level of engagement by all parties is terrific and people have a lot of fun.
Getting a little personal for the last question. How has music impacted your life?
Ian > Enormously! Ever since my dad brought home a record player in Dublin when I was 11 years old, I have been an avid vinyl collector and music freak. The first record I bought for our new toy was ‘New Boots and Panties’ by Ian Dury & The Blockheads, and life came full circle for me recently when I went to see the little boy from the cover of that album play live in Sydney. His name is Baxter Dury; he is now 50, and while him and I were growing up, I have amassed a further 4,000 records. The thrill of the crate digging chase is as strong as it has ever been and I can’t see that ever disappearing. And the great thing is, I get more pocket money now!
Ramesh Sathiah started to work at Song Zu Sydney in 1996, where he became Creative Director not many years later. Having contributed to worldwide and regional campaigns for some of the world’s biggest brands, you could say he’s definitely an expert in his field. Let’s hand the mic to him.
You guys are also renowned for sound design, which will continue with MassiveMusic. Which project are you most proud of?
Mesh > One of the unique things about Song Zu is how closely music and sound design are married; in my case this is literal, as my wife is one of our amazing sound designers! Joking aside, when we make soundtracks for brands and TVCs, all the elements need to work together perfectly. With close collaboration, we can make sure the music and sound design never fight. We can choose when one element is the hero and when the other is supporting, so there isn’t a battle in the mix. Casting the perfect voice over to deliver the message is also another integral element, as it’s often the ‘lead vocalist’ of any soundtrack.
With control over all the elements from inception to final mix, we can get a more refined result. Some examples we are most proud of are Tiger Beer ‘Wok’, Nissan Z ‘Escape’ and more recently James Squire ‘Ordinary Be Damned’.
Is the creative process you go through always the same, or does it differ per project?
Mesh > Every project is a unique challenge. One of things I love most about our work is the process of discovery to find the musical voice of a project. The outcomes are unique, but our approach to this is consistent. Often starting when the idea is at conceptual stages, we try to be methodical and cover a lot of creative ground, even before we write a note of music. We also often pre-score, so there’s music and sound for the editor to work with.
People think we write music to pictures. However, more often than not, we compose music to dialogue, as it’s about crafting music around a message and emotion. If you get this right, it nearly always works beautifully with the visuals.
If we speak things into the universe, they might be more likely to happen. So, what does the future hold for MassiveMusic Sydney and Singapore?
Mesh > Our business always keeps evolving. Over the years we started only doing music for TVC’s, then we went into television and film. However, our audio post side has also grown enormously and recently sonic branding has been a big focus. With MassiveMusic’s vision we see a whole new period of growth, particularly working in close partnership with brands. It’s already happening with the team growing, getting all the pieces of the puzzle together. It’s very exciting to be part of a global family of creative minds.
Singapore and Sydney, here we come
With music & sound playing such a big role in today’s advertising industry, we cannot wait to take our journey to the next level and collaborate with more clients all over the world.
Cheers to new teams, new work and new achievements.