Born raised in Philadelphia, Wilson has studied and worked in Europe, Brazil and the the US since then. He currently runs Antfood, where he composes and produces music, sound design and creates odd and experimental sound installations.
Q&A with Wilson Brown:
How did you get to where you are today?
Hard work, a drive to make great work and the courage to take risks (both creative and financial). A number of talented composers and producers in São Paulo and later New York gave me some opportunities in writing for TV, film and interactive pieces and I tried to build on each opportunity to get to the next step. Over the years, my colleagues and collaborators have demanded a lot of me, and I feel that has always motivated me to get better.
Please tell me about Antfood and and the kind of work you do.
Beyond just managing the business aspects of the studio, I run the creative department and oversee all work that we do for our clients. This ranges from composing original music to recording, producing and mixing tracks. We also compose sound design and consider ourselves unique in how we blend traditional musical elements to function as sound design as well as use traditional sound design elements in a musical way. Our project for Good Books is a nice example of blending these two worlds: Good Books reel and Good Books behind-the-scenes. In addition to writing, performing and producing music, I help out all of our other composers and sound designers in their projects. I think one of our greatest strengths as a studio is that we all have different talents, skill sets and interests, but we collaborate together to create unique compositions that evoke emotion and tell stories in a unified way across all of our diverse projects.
How did you learn to do what you as a musician sound-based artist?
By doing it, a lot. I’ve just always made music and sound-based art and failed a lot in order to hone my craft. I started playing music at a very young age and by the time I was in middle school and high school I got into home recordings for my bands and friends bands. Despite advice form nearly everyone around me, I always wanted to work on the creative side of the music industry. Once I had made up my mind, it was just about figuring out a way to make it work and survive making music.
Describe your style.
I imagine other people would define my style as trying to fit a bunch of little details in to a form – making something bigger out of a sum of little pieces. I don’t consider myself too wrapped up in image or style, but I definitely feel that my personal sense of design aesthetics pervades all aspects of my life.
What do you love about the work you do?
I love collaborating with talented people across creative industries. I love doing something new every day.
Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by countless other musicians from Beethoven and Liszt to modern composers like Ryoji Ikeda, 90s hip-hop, hipster blues-rock and producers like Diplo.
Any advice for someone interested in learning to do what you do?
It’s not easy succeeding in working in music and sound design, but for those who are up to the challenge, it is attainable and very rewarding! I think there is a pressure to imitate existing music and sonic art. Young composers should feel confident to take risks and create original work, or rather, work that combines disparate influences in a new way. When I was a young teenager, I thought creating music required waiting around for inspiration to strike. A mentor once told me that if you just wake up a write music, the majority of it will be garbage, but you’ll also come up with some amazing pieces just by practicing. Brahms woke up and wrote 8 bars of counterpoint every morning before taking his breakfast. He only wrote 4 symphonies in his lifetime, so I would imagine a lot of those ideas ended up in the wastebasket. I always try to keep this in mind and also remind fellow composers and creators that it takes a lot of trial and error, and being comfortable with failure to come up with something great. So, I guess my advice is to create a lot of varied music or sonic art, learn how to work in a studio with professional equipment, take risks, don’t be afraid to fail – and just keep working.
To learn more about Wilson Brown and Antfood, please go to http://antfood.com.