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The foremost and most fundamental of music creation, the aspect in the process that gives the music maker a professional title and sought after legacy – composition – is also the foundation of 12MX Media’s services and raison d’être. More than “producer”, more than “arranger”, music makers working in the field of media seek to be known as “composers” and Jeff Lawhead, under the names Meteo Xavier and 12 Followers/Meteo Xavier, has put in 15 years, tens of thousands of hours and even opportunities to get laid for trade to music compositional skill and the results speak for themselves as you can see on the release page.
Music composition is a loose term in common vernacular and can mean someone who just writes down a working combination of notes and chords, someone who goes from melody and accompaniment to fully finished song and virtually anywhere in-between. Jeff Lawhead can provide these services either from scratch to finish or as something for another artist to arrange later on.
Jeff Lawhead has studied obsessively the following artists/groups to learn music and develop his sound with:
- Motoi Sakuraba
- Hiroki Kikuta
- Nobuo Uematsu
- Peter Gabriel
- Kenji Yamamoto
- Phil Collins
- King Crimson
- JDK Band
- Yuzo Koshiro
- Hitoshi Sakimoto
- Yasunori Mitsuda
Of these, Jeff Lawhead‘s general sound resembles Motoi Sakuraba and Yasunori Mitsuda the most. For commissions that demand a focus on texture and atmosphere over melody and identity, Jeff Lawhead goes for a Peter Gabriel/Trent Reznor mix with large doses of Resident Evil incidental audio and Akira Yamaoka as the foundation. For the most part, Jeff Lawhead has never developed a “standard” identifiable sound the way Motoi Sakuraba, Hiroki Kikuta and other composers have due to the nature of commissions being extremely varied since day one and due to the self-taught and rather chaotic nature of having used .mid files and listening obsessively to recorded music for decades as 90% of that education.
The one consistency that Jeff Lawhead keeps to all finished commission audio is that something about it has to be memorable, something about it has to stand out amongst the other tracks on the commission and in game audio itself. Even drones and the least significant of audio tracks do not get released unless something about them can stand out to the intended audience. Most composers tailor their audio to fit scenes and scenarios without regard to whether the listener might be interested in listening to the score by itself. Jeff Lawhead does the opposite approach intentionally – first priority is made to make the audio a reason for the product to stand out with whether or not the track “fully meshes in” with the video or purpose a lesser priority.
The reason for this is simple – audiences remember songs and audio cues when they don’t fully fit the rest of the experience. Even if they find it jarring, it stays in their head. They remember it and later they will want to experience it again because they remember it. They will talk about it to friends and family and they may be interested to purchase your product or experience as a result of it. A song with a strong melody, unique and energetic backing that is slightly too happy or too fast or too dark for a scene does a lot more to keep your audiences’ attention on your product than audio that fully meshes in.
Want to know more about Jeff Lawhead’s music composition approach? Contact him here.