Beacon Street Studios

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On artsy Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice, Calif., Beacon Street Studios has added musical cachet: its loft was once Joni Mitchell's home studio. The space has plenty of "soul," according to partners John Nau and Andrew Feltenstein-it's the kind of place that serves as constant creative inspiration. And the kind of place where the pair don't mind spending 70-hour weeks.

Which happens a lot these days. Nau, head composer, and Feltenstein, creative director/producer/composer, have been working nonstop lately. Much of their work has been with Crispin Porter + Bogusky on various Burger King and Mini campaigns, though they've also worked on a Pepperidge Farm Goldfish campaign for Bright House Live in Atlanta. The Beacon Street style revealed across this spectrum of work indicates definite musical preferences, ranging from nouveau beatnik to orchestral to homestyle electric fusion to ambient to some interesting combinations of them all.

Separately, the 42-year-old Nau, a San Diego native and former keyboard player with Hootie & the Blowfish, prefers the purist jazz sides of Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett. Feltenstein, 29, and a Boston native-hence the Beacon Street moniker-came to Los Angeles to pursue a music career and has slightly more eclectic tastes. Together, they create music and sound design that consistently leans toward the simple and improvisational.

"We like rock, but we don't really lean toward the rock sound in our work," notes Nau. "Basically, our idea of a good score is one that's emotional and something we'd like to listen to outside of the commercial." CP+B, says Feltenstein, "has inspired us to create some wild and free music." Agency co-head of production Rupert Samuel, who has worked with Nau and Feltenstein on BK, Mini and the cheeky Virgin Mobile "Porn Parody" longform project, agrees. "The casualness of their work environment really lends itself to the sort of off-the-cuff improvisational stuff they come up with," he says. "A lot of things can riff when you start recording at 7 p.m. and go all night long." Nau and Feltenstein set up shop in 2001 with not much except a cool space and Nau's recording equipment. A break came with a Purina dog food job for Fallon, which led to an Ogilvy & Mather/N.Y. gig for a cholesterol drug called Zocor. Both typify the Beacon street sound, Purina for its jazz clarinet and Zocor for its piano score.

And the good word of mouth continues, including, recently, representation in London. The staff now includes sound designer/composer Brian Chapman, composers J.J. Appleton and Colin Wolfe, associate producer Valeria Scinto and engineer Rob Beaton. Next up is a still top secret Burger King commercial that features the face and voice of a famous musician.

Outside of commercials, Nau and Feltenstein have completed a theme song for a new Disney pilot and they've produced an album for Andrew Cohen, Leonard Cohen's son. Feltenstein also continues to write music on the side and Nau still plays frequent gigs around L.A.

Basically, they'll do anything that keeps them up all night.

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