Lucas Van Lenten scored the film Jesus Was A Commie (starring Matthew Modine, directed by Terence Ziegler), which won the Founder’s Prize for Best Short Film at the Traverse City Film Festival. Toot!
I started out on cello and trumpet as a youngster but any aptitude for those instruments quickly faded. When I was in high school, I got a Casio CZ-101 keyboard, because I liked synthy pop music and had some idea that I would magically know how to play when I got it in my hands. I was very wrong. My next purchase was a Peavey guitar and a delay pedal. I spent the next year learning and playing the string-scraping middle section in “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” by Bauhaus, the intro to “Rescue” by Echo & the Bunnymen and the riff to either “Rock Lobster” or “The Peter Gunn Theme” – I can’t remember which and they may be the same thing anyway. Somehow I kept at the guitar, despite a limited attention span and atrocious technique. When my bike got stolen, a year out of high school, I used the insurance money to buy a 4-track, which started my obsession with writing songs and recording.
None that you’ve heard of, but: The Railbirds and Discotéca in San Francisco, The Mittens and Death Ray Vision in Austin, TX, The Westport Sunrise Sessions and Duchess in NY. I was also a backup singer in a Reggae/Punk band for literally about 3.5 minutes in Washington D.C. in the 80’s. The irony of singing a song called “Poseur” while 5 Rastafarians stared me down with disdain was totally lost on me at the time.
A friend was playing this on his stereo one day and it instantly connected with me on a soulfully deep level and opened the door into free jazz. Lyrical, spiritual, noisy, deeply groovy, and just plain awesome – 2 bassists, horns, a mess of chanting and percussion, and only 3 songs, it’s both ecstatic and cathartic, beautiful and scary.
Lou Reed sounds about as laid back as possible during the in-between songs banter, but the energy and focus of the band is razor-sharp. Recorded after John Cale left the band, the relentless, primal drumming of Moe Tucker and the churning, yearning guitars of Lou Reed and Sterling Morrison keep things absolutely riveting, even in the slow numbers. An incendiary, 9 minute version of “What Goes On” convinced me that less is more, a lesson I’m still trying to absorb many years later.
This album sounds so completely messed-up and doped-out but it’s because of, not in spite of, those things that it’s such a masterpiece. Claustrophobically dense, with Sly’s vocals weaving in and out of abstraction, drums and primitive drum-machine rhythms living side-by-side, percolating keyboards, guitars, bass and occasional horns and it’s all just so achingly, humanly funky and always on the verge of flying apart at the seams.
I’m not sure what to say about this record except that it’s probably better than anything you listened to today. If you only know the Lips from the Soft Bulletin and beyond, you are missing out on some of the most beautifully damaged psychedelic noise-pop music ever made.
My friend Mike Cassidy turned me on to this and R.E.M.‘s Chronic Town E.P. in junior high school. It was probably the the first “alternative” music that I ever heard and it probably altered the course of my life in some way. It has very little in common with Adam Ant’s later pop-dandy confections. It’s full of strange, arty, idiosyncratic songs about Fascism, Futurism, Sado-Masochism, and car trouble, with very creative and compelling parts and arrangements by guitarist/producer Marco Pirroni.
The first rap (they didn’t call it hip-hop back then) album I ever bought. It sounds a little dated now but for a year or so back in the 80’s, this (and Whodini and The Fat Boys) were blowing up my walkman and expanding my universe.
I’m not sure how this one ended up in my mother’s record collection – I doubt she ever listened to it. All I know is that when I finally got around to setting the needle down in that crackly vinyl groove, nothing was ever the same again. I remember telling a close friend in high school that I liked Led Zeppelin more than anyone else possibly could, even though he was obsessed with them too. How did I know this? Because it’s true.
We are a close-knit, far-flung crew of musicians, artists and undercover operatives intent on creating authentic and compelling music and sound for TV Commercials, Broadcast, Web, Digital, Film and Gaming. We’re all about letting our day job and our night-vision overlap and feed each other. We work very hard to realize the creative aspirations of our clients but we’re also not afraid to be honest and communicate a different point-of-view. If you want to be knocked out with strongly original, evocative audio, you’ve come to the right place.
Many of our friends and peers are indie artists or bands that you’ve probably heard of (or already love). It’s our life’s goal to get their brilliant work heard by as many people as possible. If you need a music search, or help administering a license, please get in touch with us and we will make magic happen within your budget and without the bureaucratic hassles.
Sound Collective was started by former Elias Arts and Singing Serpent Composer/Creative Director Lucas Van Lenten. After 7 years in the trenches of the NYC commercial music world, an idea began to germinate; a way to combine and distill the best creative and production practices into a vibrant and creative home for his insanely talented friends, collaborators and peers. Stay tuned for photos and bios of some of the key players.
Sound Collective’s main production facility is in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Many of our composers and collaborators live and work in Brooklyn but we also have close relationships with composers and studios in many other timezones, hemispheres and correctional facilities.
Because we said so. Also, because we have an open, trust-based relationship with our creative and production teams. We pay people based on their contributions, not their status or title. We also strongly encourage collaboration and cross-pollination on projects. We believe that creative combustion is achieved not by isolated cells of pale, malnourished obsessives toiling in solitude, but happy, healthy, engaged humans, sharing resources and ideas. And the monster turned out to be just a bad dream and the milkman waves hello to all the children and there is a cure for balding after all.
“Lucas was instrumental in the creation of the music and sound design for the Cartoon Network redesign when I was Creative Director. He was great to work with, collaborative, and was able to translate the often contradictory direction a non-musician (me) insisted on giving him. He’s great. Work with him and you will not be disappointed.”
“Lucas is a great strategist, a talented composer, and an amazing person to have talking with creative persons. His ideas inspire people – I’ve seen it over and over in internal meetings with composers and producers, as well as on conference calls with agency creatives. He’s incredibly knowledgeable, both technically and aesthetically. He’s got a stellar way of asking questions and suggesting reference points and riffing on other people’s ideas…he brings a real synergy to anything he’s in on.”
“I have always considered Elias Arts the “teaching hospital” of music companies as we have a rich tradition of hiring massively talented artists/musicians/composers and mentoring them in our own unique brand of craftsmanship. As it stands, Lucas is the pinnacle of that program. He came to us with a rich background in many styles of music and conceptual attitude and creative fire that is, quite frankly, second to none. His work ethic is completely professional. He found success early and often at Elias. Not only did he make my job easier, but more importantly, he made me a better Creative Director and composer. He is a team player, in control of his ego (as all musicians have a massive one) and has a rich life beyond his musical career. I am honored and proud to call him my friend..”
“I’ve been fortunate to work directly with Lucas on a number of occasions. He has the rare knack of understanding the big-picture context, the minute details and the levers that shift all of it. He’s a strategic designer/composer/musician who’s great with teams, can successfully lead clients from concept to execution, and injects magic into everything he does.”
“Lucas is a very talented composer and is equally capable at managing client interactions. He has a unique combination of creative drive and level headed-ness. I have always found Lucas to be a great listener and I know he is always looking for the best and most creative solution. It was a pleasure working with him at Elias and I look forward to being able to work together again. I would certainly recommend Lucas without hesitation.”
“Lucas is a great producer and an amazing composer. He excels at translating clients’ requests into understandable and focused goals for the creative team. His musical knowledge is ridiculously vast. Lucas always had a fresh view on each project we worked on together and was constantly coming to the table with new ideas and directions. Above the whole “music” thing, he is hilarious and a pleasure to work with.”