Why hire Chris Hind? If you’ve ever been interviewed for a job or followed the advice of employment consultants or the HR department – there is one question that really stands out for me and that’s – Why should someone hire you over someone else?
Good question, no?
So for this week’s entry I thought I would ponder said question and how it relates to me. There are a zillion (that’s a lot!) other composers out there and what makes me so different?
In my composing career there have been highs
And there have been lows
One aspect that differentiates me is that I have always stayed the course. Sure I have been tempted to throw in the towel but I have fought through it and I’m so glad I did. It’s no accident that I create music as I have had many professions in my life and when I found music – I knew that I’d found my bliss – something I felt in my gut. How many times have you heard of people who gave up just as their big break came calling. Sad but such is life.
And then there is my body of work and my track record (see what I did there?) I’ve scored over 15 films; over 25 plays and my work have been on radio, television and countless festivals. And in terms of client satisfaction, I have never, ever, ever disappointed a client. In fact, most clients have gushed that I exceeded their expectations and loved my work. That’s because I love my work and never let anything sub par or mediocre leave my studio. I want your project to succeed and I try and support your artistic vision to the best of my abilities. I don’t care if your film budget is $ 2000(pssst this really never happens!) or $ 2,000,000(happens all the time!) it’s your creation that I care about.
Going the extra mile. That’s what I do all the time. When the Director of a documentary about the Burqa asked me to create the music and just let my creative juices flow – I learned the basics of the oud to generate that Middle Eastern desert feel.
When a theatre Director asked me to play the guitar as the lead actress’s character might – she was a heroin junkie – why I went right out and bought a rig and some…As if!!! When I lived in Toronto I lived with a heroin junkie so I knew how I should play and just faked the being wasted part and it worked out great. And this type of commitment to a project is not limited to music either. When I was asked to record a day in the life of a gold miner I didn’t hesitate in responding “ Hells yes! “ And a few weeks later I found myself in a mine shaft with only my headlamp for light, the walls and floor covered with ice and water dripping down from the ceiling and drills, blasting caps and ornery miners – oh my!
And speaking of clients, I decided a long time ago that I would only work with people I respected and liked and who had a good energy about them. That doesn’t mean to say that we will become besties either. “ He was a cruel man but fair! “ I love that quote from Monty Python! It’s all about respect and working for the common good. True story: I was being considered as the composer for a feature drama quite early on in my career. I was so excited I peed my pants! Oh wait, no, that’s another story about a first date! Seriously though, I was excited and meet the director and producer in a downtown café. I jumped right in and said, “ tell about your project! “ They sighed and kind of slovenly shifted their weight from one hip to the other and proceeded to put me to sleep with the apathy of their pitch. They told the plot as if it was chore and…hey can we get a defibrillator over here! GAWD!!
The stereotype of composers is that they are out of shape loners that sit in their basement studios, only coming out of their lairs to buy booze and potato chips. For the record I want to say that’s just a false picture. Most composers I know prefer Cheetos to potato chips! If Ed McMahon were here he’s say, “ Hiyoooo! “
This is another differentiation. I’m in shape, love to socialize and I know you’d love working with me. And I’m a wicked networker. If I met you at a party or festival, I’d be sparking up a conversation in record time. And my social skills aren’t just limited to being in person either. Most of you must know about LinkedIn by now. I have over 900 contacts on that site and these are not random people who say yes to anyone’s connection request. I carefully selected each one and my criteria for selection was – could I help this person professionally or otherwise. I’d like to think that I have done that at least a few times but I find LinkedIn folks a bit on the shy side. And of course that goes both ways. Over 900 connections and no one had ever asked for music or sound help with their film. Hint – even though I look busy I am always always always on the lookout for new projects so don’t be shy.
So what do you think? Did I nail the interview? Ya, ya, I know – don’t call us, we’ll call you!
Ancient instruments of China and specifically stringed instruments is what I’ll be focusing on this week.
First up is the erhu, which is a two-string violin like instrument dating back at least one thousand years and probably evolved from the xiqin from the 10th century. From Wikipedia… “ The erhu consists of a long vertical stick-like neck, at the top of which are two large tuning pegs, and at the bottom is a small resonator body (sound box) which is covered with python skin on the front (playing) end. Two strings are attached from the pegs to the base, and a small loop of string (qian jin) placed around the neck and strings acting as a nut pulls the strings towards the skin, holding a small wooden bridge in place. The erhu has some unusual features. First is that its characteristic sound is produced through the vibration of the python skin by bowing. Second, there is no fingerboard; the player stops the strings by pressing their fingertips onto the strings without the strings touching the neck. Third, the horsehair bow is never separated from the strings (which were formerly of twisted silk but which today are usually made of metal); it passes between them as opposed to over them (the latter being the case with western bowed stringed instruments). Lastly, although there are two strings, they are very close to each other and the player’s left hand in effect plays as if on one string. The inside string (nearest to player) is generally tuned to D4 and the outside string to A4, a fifth higher. The maximum range of the instrument is three and a half octaves, from D4 up to A7, before a stopping finger reaches the part of the string in contact with the bow hair. The usual playing range is about two and a half octaves. “
Here’s a video that gives you a good look at the python skin.
And then there is the pipa with a history of over 2 thousand years and the most popular Chinese stringed instrument. From Wikipedia… “ a four-stringed Chinese musical instrument, belonging to the plucked category of instruments. Sometimes called the Chinese lute, the instrument has a pear-shaped wooden body with a varying number of frets ranging from 12 to 26. Another Chinese four-string plucked lute is the liuqin, which looks like a smaller version of the pipa.”
I love the inlays and the fret spacing and that woman is like the shredder of the pipa, dude!
And last but not least the guzheng or Chinese plucked zither. This instrument has been around and it dates from the Qin Dynasty (897-221 BC). From Wikipedia… “ a Chinese plucked zither. It has 18 or more strings and movable bridges, and the modern guzheng usually has 21 strings and bridges. The picks (called “DaiMao”) used by performers to play guzheng are often made out of the shells of Hawksbill. The guzheng is the ancestor of several Asian zither instruments, such as the Japanese koto, the Mongolian yatga, the Korean gayageum, and the Vietnamese đàn tranh. The guzheng should not be confused with the guqin (another ancient Chinese zither with lesser bridges). “
So in today’s audio blog, I would like to shift in a new direction and talk about Kundalini yoga.What does yoga have to do with an odd audio blog? Why a great deal, so read on my friends!
As many of you have suspected I have been a compulsive meditator (that’s meditator!) for many years and I feel that the practice has helped me in numerous ways. And perhaps after today’s blog you will be inspired to continue your own practice and try some new things or begin for the first time.
In my own personal life I have run the gamut of yoga’s. I’ve practiced hatha, power and even the anti-yoga Bikram’s! As a man, I highly recommend that other members of my gender begin a yoga practice as your flexibility will increase greatly and so will your longevity. Of course women have always known the benefits of a yoga practice and aren’t bothered by any crystal shaking or masculinity concerns. But as usual, I digress.
Recently I have begun to look more closely at Kundalini and you will soon see why this relates to sound.
From Wikipedia… “ Kundalini yoga (Sanskrit kuṇḍalinī-yoga कुण्डलिनी योग), also known as laya yoga, is a school of yoga. Based on a 1935 treatise by Sivananda Saraswati, kundalini yoga was influenced by the tantra and shakta schools of Hinduism. Kundalini yoga derives its name through a focus on awakening kundalini energy through regular practice of meditation, pranayama, chanting mantra and yoga asana. Called by practitioners “the yoga of awareness”, it aims “to cultivate the creative spiritual potential of a human to uphold values, speak truth, and focus on the compassion and consciousness needed to serve and heal others.” ‘
Some forms of Kundalini focus on breath work and some on chanting and singing and this aspect is why I became interested. One of the great things about the age we live in is that almost everything you want to learn can be found on the Internet and yoga is no exception. There are many good reasons to get out of the house and go to a yoga class including camaraderie, group energy, practicing the postures correctly and in the case of Bikrams – hot sweaty women! There I said it! And now I can move on. Some forms of Kundalini, though, can be done right in front of your computer. I’d like to share some of my favorites and some of my favorite instructors. The first video I want to show you is a nice easy entry into the Kundalini world and I find it quite fun. The instructor is Catalyst Yogi and he is super laid back and even says things like “ that’s really cool. “ This is a good one to do to start your day as it will lift your spirits and singing the mantra always makes me happy. Try and face east if possible.
Right then moving on to something more difficult, an exercise to release childhood anger. To be honest I find this one quite difficult as it makes me physically uncomfortable and by the end you will be sweating and your arms will ache and be quivering. However, if you have any anger issues and I would hazard a guess that we all do in some respect then at the very least try this. And keep in mind that you don’t have to stick to the allotted time – go as far as you can! Your best will change from day to day and from moment to moment.
And finally for today, yoga to release fear and become a conscious leader. This is a bit more elaborate and I suggest you phonetically write down the words first and memorize them – otherwise you will be lost. The first few times you attempt this you will need to peek at the computer screen to get the arm movements right but once you know the sequence – you won’t think about it anymore. This clip also features my absolute favorite spiritual singer Snatam Kaur whose voice is just so amazing and other worldly – swoon!!! I should also say that this is a practice to work up to and take it in slow bits – remember what I said about just doing your best!