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Chuck Butler

MONSTER TRACKS Original Music:
by Chuck Butler, 1 Jan 2010

MONSTER TRACKS is the original music division of Baker Sound Studios in Center City Philadelphia. Since 1987, MONSTER TRACKS has composed and produced award-winning music for advertising, film, television, and corporate productions. Their music has been featured in national ads for AIG, Colonial Penn, Comcast, Dodge, Mattel, Nutrisystem, Pizza Hut, Ramada Hotels, and many others. In the Philadelphia market, they've created well-known themes for advertisers including Jefferson, Cooper, Kennedy, and Temple Hospitals, Fox Chase Cancer Center, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Sovereign Bank, and Robbins Diamonds, to name but a few.

Chuck Butler is Principal Composer at MONSTER TRACKS. He is also President of the American Composers Forum in Philadelphia, and teaches commercial music composition at University of the Arts.


Rather than try to impress you with a long list of credits and awards—which is readily available on our website—I'd rather tell you a bit about my personal approach to original music production, and give you a sense of my philosophy as a commercial composer.

MONSTER TRACKS Original Music: What You Want From a Composer

I've had just one career goal: to make my full-time living as a musician. I've been fortunate to be able to do that, thanks in no small measure to the Philadelphia-area production community. I've been producing music at Baker Sound for over twenty-two years, and in that time I've learned a lot about what it takes to meet the challenges that commercial composers face on a daily basis. So perhaps the best way for me to approach this article is to tell you what I would be looking for if I were hiring a composer.

MONSTER TRACKS Original Music: What You Want From a Composer

First, I'd want someone who is formally trained and has demonstrated the ability to write in a variety of styles. I'd want to know that I could ask for a dramatic orchestral piece on Monday, a sizzling rock track on Tuesday, a pulsing hip-hop groove on Wednesday, a burning jazz vibe on Thursday, and some cutting-edge electronica on Friday, and that each piece would be unique, authentic, and effective. Second, I'd want someone who understands the assignment—the big picture—and who'll write music that is appropriate to that particular project (and who'll nail it the first time around more often than not). That means I'd want someone who asks good questions, and responds to the input that's provided. Third, I'd want a team player who is focused on serving the needs of the production, and not forcing some personal artistic agenda. At the same time, I'd want someone who is a highly creative professional; someone who brings a unique and informed vision to the project, but knows his role, sticks to budgets and deadlines, and communicates well—particularly with clients who don't feel comfortable discussing music. That means someone experienced, who's been in the trenches, knows the process, and has a proven track record. Forth, I'd want someone who gives his best effort every time because he's passionate about his work, someone who doesn't settle or miss opportunities, someone who is energetic and enthusiastic about trying new things and meeting new challenges.

MONSTER TRACKS Original Music: What You Want From a Composer

I'd want all of that, plus a few more things:

Someone who understands the distinction between art and craft, and applies each in proper measure.

Someone who recognizes the value of a live musical performance, because he is a performer himself.

Someone who understands that a computer is a means to an end; that without first having an actual musical idea the tools are meaningless.

Someone who doesn't just "throw darts at a board." Someone who knows why they're doing what they're doing.

MONSTER TRACKS Original Music: What You Want From a Composer

All of the above describes the kind of composer I'd want to work with, and the kind of composer I've tried to be every day for more than two decades. Like any human being I have my good and bad days, but I can absolutely guarantee that I've never walked into my studio not caring. I love my work and hope to have the opportunity to keep doing it, but I don't take anything for granted. I know I have to keep earning it, project by project.

MONSTER TRACKS Original Music: What You Want From a Composer

I hope that gives you some sense of the kind of experience you can expect when you work with MONSTER TRACKS Original Music. On behalf of the many Philadelphia-area musicians we employ, as well as the staff at Baker Sound, I thank those of you who have supported us over the years; and to those we haven't worked with, I hope you'll give us a shot. If you ask around, I think you'll find that we've had many satisfied customers. We'd love the opportunity to add your name to that list.

For more information and work samples, visit http://www.monstertracks.com

Print Article Brought to you by: Chuck Butler | Principal Composer at MONSTER TRACKS

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