Charles Newman, co-founder of Mother West, a full-service boutique music company, recently answered some questions of mine about his experience as a music supervisor in the film industry. Newman formed Mother West alongside Paul Casanova in NYC in the mid-90s. Past titles Newman has worked on as a music supervisor include Monday, All These Small Moments, The Condor & The Eagle, and most recently the film The List. From short films to TV, Newman has dipped into multiple parts of the music industry and his creative home base, Cottage Sounds, showcases his passion.
Music and Film Connected Early on For Charles Newman
Music continues to be a huge part of many films, what helped you decide to venture into work that connected the two areas?
Lots of the music I grew up listening to was very connected to film and art. One of my favorite records of my youth was Pink Floyd’s The Wall. When I was 16 I saw that film for the first time and the way the music was married to the picture really moved me. From there, as I started writing and producing music and falling into scoring gigs alongside playing in bands, it became a natural path to follow.
What’s a lesson you wish your younger self knew before getting into music supervision in film?
Listen to more music on a daily basis! Now there is so much out there easily accessible it’s hard to catchup on lots of stuff I missed over the years, as well being on top of all the varying new styles and music from all the eras. As I work on various music and film projects, I constantly get turned onto new music through the artists and directors I work with. It’s endless.
Charles Newman on His Start and Growth in the Industry
How did you get started as a music supervisor? What has your journey been like up to this point?
It happened organically. Over the years of composing and producing for assorted film and TV uses, I’ve connected with other music supervisors, editors, and directors which created ongoing relationships and more opportunities to be involved on the film production side of things.
What part of being a Music Supervisor has helped you grow as a person?
It’s helped me build many long-term personal relationships on the business and creative side of film and TV production. It’s a great community of people making lots of amazing art.
What’s important to keep in mind when working on a film that combines genres (for example: romantic comedy)?
The nature of the film will generally dictate the starting point and direction of the music. In this case, the songs needed to be fun with some energy. There were also cinematic moments where the songs acted like scores. I generally like to have a loose continuity of production styles that all tie in and will sound good together as a soundtrack.