I am a musical colorist, a composer with a knack for orchestration. One of my greatest strengths is my ability to make the conceptual practical and I’m interested in working with screenwriters and film-makers alike.
My core skill sets are music composition and orchestration. I’m endlessly curious and all my friends, family, and colleagues look to me for answers on everything from music history to instrumentation. As I’ve always been exceptionally passionate about writing music, I’m looking to write for film-makers focused on film noir, twenties-to-fifties-style and detective stuff so that I can create music and underscores leaving the audience at the tip of their seats.
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Interview with Arnold Veeman
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I've worked as the music composer on a music theatre production about the siege of the city of Groningen. It still makes me proud because we, the entire artistic team, showed to thousands of people (22 times full house) the powerful history of the capital of their beloved province. In short: a 22000 men strong army from Germany attacked this city. Against only 2200 people protecting the city successfully! So, yeah, that was quite a story . . . :-)
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: At this moment I am working on a new music theatre piece called "On the edge of heaven". It deals with the issues of the day versus your internal reality.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: No, currently I don't. But I would sure recommend this to my friends. Especially after I see some direct results.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both, I love analogue but it is not always available. I prefer to record on SSL and Neve, as said. Analogue desks, preferably on tape. But nowadays digital is getting really better and better and more common. So, also due to its handiness if I can use the best of both worlds I feel wonderful.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: You won't believe your ears!
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: setting the mood, in all aspects.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Of course most of the clients ask how much a production will cost them. My answer is simple I have a starting fee and after that it is 10% per composed minute of music. The starting fee depends on the difficulty level of the music. But it ranges from €400,- to €2700,-
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That music is about playing chords, hum a melody on top of that and there is good music. It takes time and effort. Now, I am good at this because I do this all and every day. But not everybody is able to bake a good bread for 70 customers, consistently. That is basically what I do: providing client consistent quality.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: most of the times a story board, script and a time frame. Plus I ask them to contact my manager about all the legal and production stuff.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Be the one that you want to be, do try to be someone else. I will immediately recognize this for I tried that upon recommendation, with no luck. I am a very transparent and easy going person wanting to like minded people.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: 1. my solar panels, 2. laptop, 3. midi keyboad, 4. my Brauner mic 5. and my guitar.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I graduated for my study of composition, orchestration and music history in 2003. But long before that I was investigating AND playing music for I am a very curious person!
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Contemporary colorism. Where I have developed a certain style based upon the colouristic music of Claude Debussy and his friend Igor Stravinsky. My typical things on this are: - isolating of certain tonal qualities of spaces (such as resonance, every room has a different kind of resonance) - extreme close miking - virtuosity - shifting tonality - transparency - and rhythm. I prefer doing rhythms with interlocking.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Wes Anderson, because he is, in my opinion a colourist - able to do interesting screenwriting too. Plus his way of making the image, composition wise, is very compelling because of the scenic design, use of colour, too much to mention in a few sentences. But I somehow recognize myself in many ways when I see the results he presented thus far.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Always start with the piano, and use it like a calculator...
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Two types, orchestral works is my primary business but writing songs takes the same amount of consciousness. I love to work on a musical or doing music theatre. Anywhere, for I love to travel too ;-)
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My my fast versatility! I am going for the quick result, but it MUST be a compelling one. A result that will last for far more that a life time. Quick for me means that I am skilled in what I do, so that is why clients get their results back way before the deadlines.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: For musical and music theatre productions I take as much time as needed to make it a brilliant song. My songs are based on tried, basic and simple schemes. But it is the content that makes it special. I tend to use unusual instruments like a spring drum, an aquaphone, a marimba or well, I have so many instruments laying around in my studio that I can pick whatever I want. One fun thing. I did a project once; sampling my old and worn out piano in extreme wide stereo yet close miked. Together with the pedals and the "sympathetic inner sound" I use these samples a lot.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I work with themes. So I go through the scripts, investigate all the characters thoroughly, looking for all possible leads for good leitmotivs. After I have the melodies set up I'll discuss it with the client. After this I make a particel, this is a piano reduction whereby I harmonize the melody in my particular way. Again, the client is informed. When the client agrees I'll make a virtual suite; this is the orchestrated versions of all the harmonized melodies. Most of the times things are getting pretty amazing already, and clients tend to be blown away after hearing the results. It doesn't stop there however. Next up are the underscores, the music that can tie all the scenes together in such away that it is a part of the entire experience. The underscores will be based on the material that have been developed for the characters. After having it all dressed up at the right timing it is time to do the live recording sessions. This can be live-live (conducting the score with a sync screen) or just live to make content to be edited in afterwards. This is how it basically goes, and it makes me happy! :-)
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have a typical pre-production studio at my place. Most of the productions I can handle myself. But for orchestral recordings I tend to hire a good room with an analogue desk, preferably SSL or Neve. Here in Holland Wisseloord is a very good scoring stage. Depending on the budget, the client can chose between a professional scoring stage or recording it in another desired location.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Inspiration is a big word, but I have deep respect for people like Pierre Bertrand, Nicholas Folmer, John Williams. Further I've worked with Tijmen Zinkhaan, a sound engineer and for all of you that have never heard of him; he is the best guy you can get on acoustic productions. There are lot's of really good people out there, but these 4 blew my mind.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Writing and orchestrating music that fits like a glove for both the client AND the orchestras I work with.