- Interview with Adam Dorn
To begin with, could you do an overview of who you are and what you’ve been up to these last few years?
Sure. I’m primarily a recording artist. I run a label and I run a publishing company. In the last few years, I’ve gone from being mostly a DJ to more of a composer, and actually owning and controlling rights of my music and finding ways to exploit the rights through films and TV shows and advertising. In doing so, I’ve also been a bit of remixer, which I think is not one of my better skills, but it is something that is used by advertisers a lot, to reinvent a song for a use with a product.
I’m classically trained as a bass player. I actually got my start in the music business as a session musician and by playing on lots of studio albums with singers and jazz albums and bigger budgeted things. It’s interesting, I think I’ve hit that window where I caught the very end of the proper studio musician world, which now is basically finished since technology got to a point where you were solely a sideman. When that world started to fade, the technology went down in price and I became someone that collected gear and viewed the technology as being the way through the next level of survival in the music business. So as the result of buying all these synthesizers, samplers, and recording equipment, and becoming more of a composer, I found that this was a way to continue to survive. My career has been lucky and successful, but also it’s been based on a lot of actual anxiety and fear of what is my business becoming, and what am I going to do to stay relevant and keep a job. So I would say mostly in the last three to five years, I’ve just been charged with the responsibility of running my company, being artistic, exploiting the rights and finding ways to support my art by also understanding the business side of it.
Examples of things that I’ve worked on in the last five to seven years would be TV shows like Six Feet Under, movies like The Bourne Supremacy, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and The Devil Wears Prada. CSI is a TV show that has used my music a number of times. I’ve done major ad campaigns for Lincoln Mercury, doing the theme music for Lincoln Mercury for two years. I remixed Elvis Presley for some international ad campaigns for Honda. Lots of usages of music on a variety of documentaries and television programs. Ugly Betty is a show that comes to mind that used my music a bunch of times. Interestingly enough, the music was never written with the intention of it being used in these different formats. It was really written as, here’s an album, this is my artistic statement, and how do I make a living making these records? I’ve really spent an equal amount of time being a businessman, which is something if you’d asked me ten or twelve years ago, I would have absolutely laughed at you and said, “No, why would that be necessary? There are labels to do that. There are managers to do that. There are publishers to do that.” Now there is less and less of that, so I’ve been doing that!
So it seems to me that, since you are a multi-instrumentalist as well, you could compose the music, you could play all the music you produced. But then also you could publish it yourself, you could manage it, you could look after the distribution and things like this. In other words, you seem to be competent in almost all parts of the production process, and I’m wondering if this something that is becoming more and more common?
I think it’s more and more common out of necessity. It was by complete necessity from my own personal circumstances, it just happened and there was no design...