David Reviews

 It's the work, stupid.

ANDY HUMPHREYS ADDS BITE TO BARK
19 March 2019

As they look to compete with the bigger companies in their realm, persuading Andy Humphreys to join Bark Soho was a significant coup for the sound design company. It also provided DAVID with an excellent excuse to pop into Bark's Soho studio and meet Humphreys and Simon Elms. Between them, they revealed how the twin proposition of Bark and sister company Eclectic has created an holistic offer for their advertising clients.

The sound design wing of the business was previously known as Greek Street Studios, but when they relocated to Flaxman Court - just off Wardour Street - Simon Elms felt it was the right time to change the name. As well as making it less likely that clients would show up at the wrong address, it provided the company with an opportunity to rethink its identity and - according to Elms - give the company "a much better name".


in 1988, 80% of all of all advertising was composed, and now it's 20%. Everybody wants famous music.

 ”

Sister company Eclectic was established in 2008 and over the eleven years of its existence, Elms has witnessed a significant shift in the way music for commercials is sourced. Declining revenue from sales to the public has meant record companies are eager to build new sources of revenue and instead of being disdainful of the advertising industry as they were in the last century, they now openly court it.

"I heard a figure the other day from an American musicologist," says Elms, " he said that in 1988, 80% of all of all advertising was composed, and now it's 20%. Everybody wants famous music."

It was this shift which persuaded Eclectic to open its sound design business and it immediately strengthened their proposition. Not least because it became possible for them to deal with all the audio components of a project under one roof.

Simon Elms: "It was brilliant, things that were taking weeks toing and froing from sound design to mixing, back to the music, and so on... now we've got one studio working on the music, one studio working on the mix, and we can literally walk into the next room. For advertising projects, it really makes sense."


The hook up with Bark was far more interesting and presents a whole lot more opportunities than being a one man band.

 ”

It was the arrival of Andy Humphreys though that really beefed up Bark Soho's sound design proposition. He's built an enviable reputation during his time at 750MPH and is one of the most respected sound engineers in the business. He too has witnessed a significant shift in his realm with competition now being provided by freelancers for the first time.

"Things are more transportable... the need for a studio has always been a big barrier to entry." It still is for a lot of projects but, "certainly for track laying and all the sound designer elements, you can get by with a laptop and a pair of headphones if you choose to... but most of the guys who have gone freelance have got some kind of setup at home."

Nonetheless, this wasn't an approach which appealed to Humphreys: "The hook up with Bark was far more interesting and presents a whole lot more opportunities than being a one man band."

The holistic offer of Eclectic and Bark has enabled the two companies to become involved in projects outside of the advertising realm, and it's clear from the way they speak about it that this is something which enthuses both Elms and Humphreys.

"We did three feature docs last year," says Elms, "one about a mafia supergrass, one about a long distance swimmer, and another about a football player."

Their main arena is still commercials though and - with Andy Humphreys on board - they're looking forward to a bright future.

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