By Mollee Harper, Senior Editor
Georgia Entertainment News is proud to bring you this special profile on the music side of Georgia’s booming entertainment industry. We sit down with Brian Brasher, Co-Owner and President of Atlanta-based Pitch Hammer Music to learn about his boutique music production company and the specialty niche he and his partner, Veigar Margeirsson have carved out for themselves designing, composing, performing, scoring and mixing for movie trailers and theatrical marketing campaigns.
During our one-on-one with Brasher, we get the insider’s look at his journey from LA to Atlanta, his extraordinary partnership that brings the sounds of orchestra, choirs, electronica, sound design and rock together, and highlights of their extensive work in Theatrical marketing campaigns, major films, TV, commercials, broadcasting and interactive gaming, and the extensive library they’ve built with worldwide distribution.
Inside Pitch Hammer Music
Pitch Hammer Music was founded in 2012 by co-owners Brian Brasher, who serves as the company’s president, and Veigar Margeirsson, who serves as vice president overseeing creative. The company has offices and studios in Atlanta, Iceland and Los Angeles. Pitch Hammer Music creates and produces high-end tracks and custom music services for the movie trailer and theatrical marketing industries. Since launching in 2012, Pitch Hammer has secured licenses in hundreds of major motion picture campaigns, including blockbusters such as ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’, ‘Dunkirk’, ‘The Accountant’, ‘Deadpool’, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’, ‘Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation’, ‘BFG’, ‘Star Trek: Beyond’, and ‘Ready Player One’, to name a few.
Brasher shared, “Pitch Hammer Music is a boutique music production company which scores theatrical marketing campaigns, motion pictures, TV shows and video games. We really found our niche scoring music trailers with movie studios, and the trailer house agencies that cut the movie trailers you see.”
“My business partner, Veigar Margeirsson and I are both composers and both worked in LA for many years. I had been in corporate working for the major record labels and their production music libraries and I wanted to be non-corporate.”
He continued, “Veigar is a top composer and a conductor who started out working on commercials for ad agencies. He has also written big epic music which is such a special niche, and has extensive training in orchestral writing. He is very well known in our industry.”
“We are also both musicians. I started out playing in rock bands. He was more of the big band jazz guy.”
Brasher explained, “We met while we were both working in Hollywood, became friends, and then we wrote a project together. I am a composer too, more on the rock side. He is more on the orchestra side. We realized early on it is really cool to bring those two worlds together. We decided to start a company together to cover the musical gamut for all genres – sci-fi, epic, comedy, action, drama, suspense….whatever the need is.”
“We launched our company about six years ago. I am from Atlanta originally and I wanted to be here. My business partner moved back to Iceland where he is from and we now divide our time between Los Angeles, Atlanta and Iceland.”
“I operate the company from here in Atlanta. We have an amazing team on the ground and based in LA / Hollywood as well. Jenn German is our director of operations and works on the front line with our clients on a day-to-day basis, as well as oversees all operations. Laura Via and Ryan Andrews are our production managers and assist with client music searches, metadata and all things production. The Pitch Hammer staff and team are incredible and the best in the business”
“We have studios here in Atlanta, in Iceland and in LA. A lot of the other stuff we do is onsite. We recently went to Prague to record a live orchestra and choir for a major theatrical campaign. In situations like that, we work with a contractor to set up the musicians, recording studios and space for us in different locations.”
“Obviously, we do a lot virtually. Our team all loves it and enjoys working from anywhere they want to as long as they get it done.”
“Veigar and I are equal owners in the business. He’s the head of production, and oversees anything that has to do with managing the composers, briefing them on what we need them to write, mixing, tagging for keywords to come up in search, and more.”
Brasher offered, “My duties are everything outside of that from marketing to sales. We also have partners in every foreign territory that market and sell our catalog to many markets internationally, in every country outside of the US as well.”
“Our company is very musician and composer friendly. We work with about 6-10 composers regularly and ongoing and have about 22 composers in our roster that write for us sporadically, all with different strengths.”
“We were both in the business so early on. People knew both Veigar and I as go-to resources for great trailer music. So when we launched Pitch Hammer Music it wasn’t like starting over.”
The Sounds of Success
Brasher shared, “Veigar is very well known in the industry and composed the trailer for ‘Batman Begins’ and a lot of the big named trailers in Hollywood including the ‘Ocean’s 11’ series and ‘Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers’.”
“We have a great presence in the industry of trailer houses, movie studios and broadcasters. A movie is filmed over a long period, years even, and then all of that footage is sent to a trailer house to make a two and a half minute trailer to make people want to see it but not give too much away. There is also the sound aspect of it which creates the emotion and that is where we come in.”
“Most studios will do two or three different movie trailers for theaters, and sometimes dozens of different TV spots, plus the Internet trailers and streaming media trailers. Most are created as separate projects which gives us plenty of opportunities to provide or create different music in them.”
Brasher added, “A big part of our more recent business has been custom music for projects. A studio might come to us to ask us to cut or create a track that conveys the sounds and emotions of something specific. That is really the core of our work.”
“We recently did one for a new Steven Spielberg science fiction movie that’s being released this year called ‘Ready Player One’. They wanted to use the iconic song ‘Pure Imagination’ from ‘Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory’, and we built the music from there. We incorporated key elements from the original song while making it very epic and dramatic.”
“When we create music, it’s created like it’s for a film. But, we don’t just do movie trailers. Our main client base consists of theatrical marketing clients that include gaming, broadcasting, and more.”
“Games are like mini trailers too. ‘Call of Duty’ is one of our biggest clients in that vertical.”
“We’ve expanded our business to serve broadcasters like CBS, NBC, Fox Sports, Netflix and others who want over-the-top music to use for their promos and in-show programming, and things like that to create the emotion.”
“Some of our recent work in broadcasting includes things like NBC’s Sunday Night Football. And, The History Channel uses us for their original series ‘Vikings’.”
“Last year we were in over a quarter of the marketing campaigns for the major studios; not a small achievement for a boutique company like ours.”
Inside Atlanta’s Music Scene
Brasher added, “We are really trying to bring more business into Atlanta and bring more of the music revenue here.”
“A lot of what we do is recorded live. We’ve been talking with Jennifer Barlament who is the Executive Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra about using their orchestra and musicians in more projects. We are trying to figure out how to utilize more of the local talent here, as well as the studios here.”
“We have also been working with a new Atlanta-based movie studio called Brand New World. We will be scoring films and trailers for their upcoming projects. Joey Reiman, Chairman and Founder of Brand New World Studios, recently co-authored a project with Pitch Hammer, and an incredible team of Atlanta-based songwriters, Sonny Del Grosso, Leslie Stewart and 4-time Grammy award-winning producer Kuk Harrell are writing the first soundtrack for Businesses including a hit song called ‘A World on Purpose’.”
“I’ve also been in talks with Tammy Hurt who is the founding president of Georgia Music Partners (GMP), and Michele Rhea Caplinger, Executive Director of the Recording Academy /Atlanta Chapter. We are all brainstorming on more ways to work together to grow Atlanta and Georgia’s music business.”
“We want to be able to take advantage of Georgia’s tax credits and look forward to seeing how the recent changes specific to music apply to us.”
Brasher concluded, “We are excited to be a part of the growing entertainment and film community here in Atlanta.”
Brian Brasher is co-owner and serves as President and CEO of Pitch Hammer Music. He oversees all general business operations including new business development, managing the sales, licensing and administration teams as well as international sub-publishers. He is also a co-producer and composer with business partner, Veigar Margeirsson, who oversees the company’s production department. Along the way, Brasher was Music Licensing Director at Killer Tracks and Director of Film and TV Licensing at APM Music where he formed their trailer music division. He received his formal education from Florida State University and is a member of the PMA, NARAS Los Angeles/Atlanta Chapters, NARIP and AIMP.
Brasher cut his teeth in the music business as a founding member and guitar player for the multi-platinum selling recording artist Creed, a Florida-based rock band that sold over 20 million albums. He is a co-writer and collaborator on two of Creed’s #1 hit songs ‘What’s this Life For’ and ’One’.
Veigar Margeirsson is co-owner and serves as Vice President and Creative Director for Pitch Hammer Music. He is also a conductor, film score composer and co-producer. In his current role, Margeirsson manages the company’s music composers, sound designers and mixers. Along the way, Margeirsson served as an Independent Composer for Presto Music Productions, Inc. He was formally trained at Berklee College of Music, The University of Miami, and The University of Southern California.
As a composer, Margeirsson is regarded as an industry leader in orchestral scoring with over 1,000 combined placements in motion pictures, TV, commercials and trailers, as well as many independent films. Margeirsson won Best Original Score at the 2011 Badalona Film Festival for the internationally acclaimed short film ‘In a Heartbeat.’ He has written arrangements and orchestrations for The LA Philharmonic, The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, The Iceland Symphony Orchestra and The Reykjavik Big Band. Margeirsson is a limber trumpet player and pianist, and a frequent guest speaker and panelist on the subject of music scoring and licensing, and a part-time lecturer at the Iceland Academy of the Arts.
For more information on Brian Brasher, Veigar Margeirsson and Pitch Hammer Music, visit their website at: http://pitchhammermusic.