Supervisor Spotlight: David Bass

By Dominic Bastyra / Wake The Town

This month we feature an exclusive interview with David Bass, winner of Music Supervisor of 2018 in Advertising at the Sync Awards, founder of Theodore Music Ltd and director of Wake The Town, who shares insights into his career to date and what inspired him to pursue a career in supervision.

When did you first learn about supervision and decide it was something you wanted to pursue?  

I first came across ‘music supervisors’ when I was working at Demon Music Group around 15 years ago licensing out their catalogue for compilations, TV and Film.  I couldn’t believe such job existed and instantly connected with pitching music to picture/brief.  I always felt a little restricted pitching from a select catalogue and very quickly wanted to switch to the other ‘side’ with the apparent freedom to pitch anything.  It wasn’t until I was approached by Stream (a TBWA company) and some good words of advice from Simon King who was at LEAP Music (BBH’s in-house music co) that I decided to make the jump.

What were you doing before? 

My role at Demon was to license their music to compilations / TV shows and films etc. Prior to that I spent many years working for free at Sony Music / Universal and EMI, previous to which I managed to complete my BA in Commercial Music.

Was there a particular ad/film that inspired you to explore supervision? 

Not really, however, I do appreciate great supervision (now I know what it is!)

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in the job? 

For me a big challenge is staying relevant and on top of our game in an ever changing industry.  More and more music supervisors and companies are being formed as well as creativity shifting in the ad word musically from ad agencies through to production companies.  Sometimes it feels like a jungle out there and we need to make sure we’re climbing high above the tree tops both creatively and in terms of quality output. 

What’s your dream project? Are there any particular directors, brands, artists or composers you’d like to work with? 

I love the variation our roles bring to creativity.  I do have a big passion for the UK rap / grime scene so I would love to supervise some sort of Adulthood film that showcases the talent the UK has to offer.  I have to be honest I don’t really in terms of directors / composers. If the project is cool and I connect with it – that’s enough to keep me happy. 

What’s the best/your favourite use of music in a film or advertising? 

I like the Fifa 2018 soundtrack, loads of great music on there including Ocean Wisdom who I have been banging on about for a very long time!

I’m afraid I can’t pick an advert or use of music in films – there are way too many! 

This year you won the music supervisor of the year at the music week awards, what advise would you give young supervisor aspiring for the same? 

Never stop being creative and passionate about what you do. Work on as many different music briefs/projects as you can. Listen to other people’s opinions.  Use your passion on every project, go over and beyond the brief. Listen to everything. Go with your musical gut.  Challenge yourself. Be nice to everyone you meet!

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