This executive producer combines his background as a musician with his 11 years working at advertising agencies to ensure clients get their audio post needs met.
Name: Chris Clark
Company: Squeak E. Clean Studios
Can you describe your company?
We are an international audio post and music company with a fun-loving, multi-talented crew of composers, producers, sound designers and engineers across six studios.
What’s your job title?
What does that entail?
I work closely with our creative and production teams to ensure the highest quality for audio post production, original music and music supervision are upheld. I also take the lead role and responsibility for ensuring our agency and brand clients are satisfied with our work, and that the entire Chicago operation is seamlessly integrated with the other five studios on a daily basis.
What would surprise people the most about what falls under that title?
I also take out the trash. Sometimes.
You have an agency background. How will that help you at Squeak E. Clean Studios?
I’ve had the privilege of working closely with creative teams and clients on a wild and wide array of inspired music treatments over the past 11 years at Leo Burnett and across various Publicis Groupe agencies.
I know what it’s like to be in those meetings when things go off the rails and, fortunately, I take pleasure in creating calm and restoring inspiration by laying out all the musical options available. I know this intimate knowledge of agency and brand challenges will help us at Squeak E. Clean Studios provide really smart, focused music and post audio solutions without any filler.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
The individual challenge of each project and the individual person at the other end of that request. It’s a small and very personal industry… and being able to help out creative friends with great music solutions just makes us all feel good.
What’s your least favorite?
When I kick myself after remembering I don’t have to do everything; we have many capable collaborative people across the company.
What is your most productive time of the day?
Morning. Coffee and excitement for the day’s challenges bring out the best in me, typically.
If you didn’t have this job, what would you be doing instead? Something entrepreneurial in music marketing. Or working as a high school basketball coach.
Why did you choose this profession?
Music had always been my therapy, but it wasn’t until I moved to NYC and started making my own bedroom-produced music that I realized it had fully taken over as my passion. It suddenly surpassed creative writing, sports, comedy, etc. I was working in media communications and bored with my day-to-day challenges when it struck me that there must be some type of work in music and advertising/marketing. Then this whole world opened up just one Craigslist job search later.
You are an industry veteran. How have you seen the industry change over the years?
I worked in the media world when digital broke through to challenge broadcast for supremacy, worked in DJ music marketing when the DJ/producers came to the forefront of pop music, and I’ve been fortunate enough to benefit from the rise of music experts in large agency settings.
Somewhere in all of that you see the industry embracing more content, the individuality of the rightful creator and the importance of music in every aspect of development and production. I’m pretty happy with the changes.
Can you name some recent projects you have worked on?
I recently finalized some new Coors Light “Chill” campaign spots with Leo Burnett. I am also producing original music for 3 Beats by Dre spots for their creative team in Japan with the help of our awesome composer roster.
What is the project that you are most proud of?
Uniting Chicago rappers like Common, G Herbo, Saba, Noname and King Louie for the Chicago Ideas Week Put the Guns Down music video was really special and unprecedented.
I also pitched and licensed a cover of “Across the Universe” for a Samsung global spot that featured a father and his newborn son as a main vignette; it came out shortly after the birth of my first son, Charlie, so that will always be a memorable one.
Name three pieces of technology you can’t live without.
Phone, TV, turntables!
What social media channels do you follow?
Instagram mainly, but Twitter and Facebook in moderation.
What do you do to de-stress from it all?
Playing in bands and writing music with no intention of ever tying it to anything professional is always a great release and escape from the day job. I’ve found it also helps me relate to artists and up-and-coming composers/producers who are trying to get their footing in the music industry.