“Where words fail, music speaks” Hans Christian Anderson
This is one of the opening lines on the opening page of a rather super duper website, belonging to a rather super duper company; Music Concierge.
Who? What? Well yes, this was a predicted reaction, so let me fill you in…
When you wander into your favourite store or hotel, do you find that the space represents you in some way, and you feel instantly at home, peaceful and happy? So much so that you don’t even notice the music that’s gently wafting out over the speakers, into your ears and trickling into the most hidden and deepest parts of your soul..?
Well there you have it. That’s because Music Concierge are BRILLIANT at what they do. A ground-breaking and award winning music consultancy service for luxury brands, hotels and retailers all over the big wide world.. They create bespoke playlists for their clients, (think Harrods, Clarridges.. oooooh) which reflect their brand personality and ethos in a beautiful and inspiring way. Clever stuff.
Music Concierge consider themselves to be the ‘guardians of your signature sound’ and this top notch company was founded by the brilliant Rob Wood in 2007. Rob’s passion for music began at the grand old age of 9 and he now has an unbelievable amount of in-depth knowledge across all genres, from music through the decades to bleeding-edge contemporary sounds, to the very best international repertoire from Africa to India and beyond.. so his brain is like, um, iTunes. But better.
Here’s my interview with the hugely impressive Rob Wood – what a terribly clever chap. (He also uses the word ‘cripes’, which obviously means he’s a gentleman as well – what a guy.)
How important do you think the relationship is between music and brands?
To create a great brand experience all the ways a customer interacts with a brand, whether online or offline, in-store or on-hold, need to be carefully considered. This includes sound. How a brand looks through its logo and interior design is no longer enough. You can affect people in a positive way through all the senses. Because hearing is our second most important sense, it stands to reason to make sure a brand sounds attractive and appropriate, if not inspiring.
Using the right music choices is a great way to connect with an audience. Associating a brand with the right artist can add kudos or build an emotional connection with people. And creating the perfect mood and atmosphere with music in a branded environment such as a store or hotel is a great way to keep them engaged and coming back for more. Music is indeed a powerful medium that can help bring the emotional qualities of buildings, products and services to life
What’s the most unusual project you’ve worked on?
At Music Concierge we have done some amazing projects. Going up the world’s tallest building in Dubai whilst it was still being built was fascinating and a little hair-raising. Designing music for the bar and lounge at the top is a real privilege. We do a particularly good Blade Runner-esque night-time soundscape there!
At the other end of the height spectrum we have also created the soundtrack for the world’s first underwater nightclub at Niyama in the Maldives which is completely ground-breaking.
Going to Bhutan to work with COMO Hotels was magical. I needed to visit their Uma Paro hotel and it was immediately clear that their music identity needed to include an authentic sense of local culture. The hotel staff kindly drove me on a winding dirt track through the Himalayas until we reach a large town. They took me to what was apparently the only record shop in Bhutan. I bought all 25 CDs they had to the shopkeeper’s amazement and then we headed back through the mountains. Half way back to the hotel, the jeep suddenly pulled off to a small farm and I was unexpectedly taken to what looked to me like a large barn that was probably more used to housing chickens than music consultants. In the empty barn stood a single chair and I was told it was for me. As I sat down a troupe of about 12 male and female traditionally dressed dancers and musicians began a mesmerizing showcase of authentic Bhutanese songs and dance performances. It was a private insight into the culture of a still feudal society that seemed blissfully out of synch with the rest of the world. That insight went on to influence a key part of the hotel’s music design.
Are there any brands you haven’t worked with but would like to?
I’d love to work with Agnes B. They feel savvy, interesting and culturally finger-on-the-pulse so choosing music to reflect their personality would be fun.
Is there a particular song, album or playlist which you feel best represents you and your life?
Cripes. That’s a hard one. I don’t think one song or album could necessarily sum up a person. But there are plenty of records that mean a hell of a lot to me. Almost impossible to pick a few. London Calling by The Clash is an album I can never tire of. I played it relentlessly as a kid until the tape wore out.
John Martyn’s Solid Air or One World albums are both very special pieces of music. Check out his live performance of Devil May Care on Old Grey Whistle Test if you can. It’s simply astonishing.
It says nothing about my life but Bowie’s Heroes is one of my favourite songs of all time. I once was DJing to about 500 people in Camden on a Saturday night. It was my birthday and I selfishly played the track at the end of a raucous night and completely killed the dancefloor. But it was my birthday and I had to hear it! I was lucky enough to meet Robert Fripp recently the man who did the guitar lick on Fashion and played on a lot of Bowie’s music at that time including this song. He agreed Heroes was something special.
I could go on to name countless jazz, reggae, soul, classical, world and electronic records that I adore, but to prove I’m not completely retro in my music tastes, I advise everyone with ears to buy and repeatedly listen to Steve Mason’s new album Monkey Minds in the Devil’s Time. It’s guaranteed to improve your life and make the world a better place. The ex-front man of The Beta Band solo work is very satisfying. He was also very good live at Lattitude this year.
Rhye – The Fall
Catherine Howe – It Comes With Breezes
FM Laeti – Out Of My Hands
Terry Callier – Ride Suite Ride
Haim – Falling
And here they are for your listening pleasure, (although I couldn’t get Catherine Howe’s ‘It Comes With Breezes’ on Grooveshark, but you can listen to this track here..
Rob Wood Creative Director and Founder