Sound Q & A: Pet Sounds

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Snorri Bros director Snorri Sturluson says he's long suspected there was an easier way to find the right piece of music for a commercial. This summer, together with fellow Snorri Bros director Eidur Snorri Eysteinsson, he decided to do something about it. They rounded up a few musician friends from their homeland and started a music company, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Soundpets. We spoke to Sturluson about his newest venture.

Snorri Sturluson (L) and Everything Speaks musician Holmar Filipsson
Snorri Sturluson (L) and Everything Speaks musician Holmar Filipsson
What prompted you to launch a new sound company?
Snorri Sturluson: Music has always played a big part in what I've been doing. I came to New York about six or seven years ago as an art director in the advertising business, then I made my way into photography and commercials direction. In Soundpets, we're all friends from Iceland who've been working in New York for a while, and it just turned out we all liked making commercials and making music for commercials. So it's all come together pretty organically.

Is this more something you wanted to do as opposed to seeing a void in the commercials music market?
A bit of both, actually. One of the things we do on the site is provide a large gallery of archived tracks that potential clients have access to. Since it often becomes a bit problematic finding music that fits your spot and figuring out what music you can get cleared or what you can license, the idea behind our gallery is you can browse the music while you're looking at footage and even insert songs into your edits to see if anything fits. If a song is being considered, we remove it from the archive immediately. That said, we're always adding new things, with new tracks going up every week. The songs are all available right away, or if you like a certain part of a song or a certain vibe, you can get in touch with us and we can work on composing something that will work for you. So that was part of what inspired starting the company—my experiences with this on the directing side and what I would've liked to work with. We're not the only ones doing this kind of thing, but there are not too many people offering these services. The Sprint creatives at Goodby actually browsed the site and found a song right there, so it worked in practice just as we had hoped it would.

Describe your composers/musicians, Thor, The Duo Everything Speaks and Ivar.
They all come from an electronic music background and all have done commercials music before. You could say there's a certain style to the group but each does it in their own way, in their own voice.

Do you think there's a certain type of sound or vibe associated with contemporary Icelandic music?
The spiritual energy in Iceland is very dramatic. Icelanders don't come off very dramatic in-person, though it really comes out in the art. Icelandic music tends to be very free and unconstrained by the laws of the marketplace. Overall, the vibe is intriguing, exploratory and curious, and there's little respect for the "rules." That, combined with the inherent characteristics of the population, the extremely bad weather and the surreal natural environment, makes it unique. (JB)
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