This month we feature an exclusive interview with Christian Mix-Linzer, Berlin-based Music Supervisor and CEO at Tracks and Fields, who shares insights into his career to date and what inspired him to pursue a career in supervision.
By Dominic Bastyra / Wake The Town
When did you first learn about supervision and decide it was something you wanted to pursue?
I was running a small record label from the late 90s to the mid-00s and gave it up as I questioned the business future. A year after quitting operations, I had the most profitable year of the company as several music supervisors came across some of the bands and placed them in TV shows. It opened my eyes to what for me instantly was the most exciting segment of the music industry. I find it similar to a label job- you hunt for great music and have a thrilling ride until you agree on a contract, then put the music in front of a huge audience. While as a label this can take several months or years, a music supervisor does that in days or weeks and several hundred times a year.
Essentially, it blew my mind that you can make a career out of recommending music to inspiring people and make a feasible business out of it. Something to good to be true yet there it was.
What were you doing before?
As mentioned, I started a small record label at 16 and did this for several years. After school I worked in feature film post production for a while. I opened a record store, studied media studies and later an MBA. Its either a very confusing CV or you do what I do.
Was there a particular ad/film/tv show that inspired you to explore supervision?
For me, it came more from enjoying the creative process of the editing room and the experience of a small label owner. Essentially I wanted to create a company that pools all the small to medium-sized companies and by doing that, creating something of relevance for clients. It wasn‘t even clear initially if it becomes a tech service, a synch rep or a music supervision company and we took a year or two to decide. Since there wasn‘t a company for any of this in Germany, there was no pressure. Eventually, supervision was most attractive for the creative control it provides.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in the job?
I developed a professional music taste alongside my personal taste and the two couldn‘t be more different. Sometimes crossovers between the two are great, but often they spoil the other. So keeping both separated and retaining the passion for both is really important to me.
What’s your dream project? Are there any particular directors, brands, artists or composers you’d like to work with?
I had a lot of dream projects that turned into very normal jobs and very normal jobs that turned into dream projects. You never know how things unfold throughout the project when it comes to the creative challenge, collaboration with director/producer/agency/client, budget feasibility etc which makes the job interesting.
That said when it comes to the projects that I wish we would have done: we once had a feature film that needed punk songs until 1979 but never came to life. That could have been a contender for the biggest passion project.
What’s the best/your favourite use of music in a film or advertising?
A bit of a cliche answer, but when I was a teenager the first soundtrack I felt passionate about was Pulp Fiction. All of a sudden listening to old surf music became a big thing in Europe and its a great example for a unique vision that broadens musical horizons of millions of people while serving the overall film experience.
Most recently, I really enjoyed the score in Too Old To Die Young.
What advice would you give someone looking to become a supervisor?
Find your niche. Don‘t do everything the same way everyone else is doing it and look for unique ways to deliver great work for your clients.