Pop-Up Music is a small independent sync company based in London run by two people, Jim and Mark. Over the last 5 years since inception they have been building an interesting catalogue of rare gems from diverse places and time periods, always with an ear for the unusual and authentic, and which have been catching the ear of Mary Ramos, Mr Tarantino’s music supervisor. Having 3 syncs in the new Tarantino movie ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood‘ the success of the ambitious company hit their peak.
Hello Mark. Pop-Up Music is a small independent sync company based in London run by you and Jim. When did the first idea of creating the label came out?
Back in 2013 I had just finished a degree in drumming at the University of West London – the degree taught me to put the drum sticks to one side and start a sync company. At that point I had no idea about the business but a lot of what I was hearing in TV ads, films and dramas, I thought I can do better – 6 months into the venture it was clear I needed a partner and a mutual friend (a successful editor) introduced me to Jim. We hit it off the start we had the same tastes and vision. Jim is an RTS-nominated composer and he brought a lot of skills I did not have and still do not!
Can you tell our readers what a sync company exactly is?
A sync company places music to moving picture which can be anything from a film, a TV show or game. We’ve placed some 60s vintage Cambodian into the Far Cry game, 40s music in various US TV projects and Italian 60s music in the latest Tarantino movie.
“The vision of our company is to give lost gems, songs that deserve more attention, homes in cool projects.”
Yes, Congratulations! You have 3 syncs in the new Tarantino movie ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’! How did that happen?
Thank you! It´s still syncing in (pardon the pun) – This sync success story started off in a not very rock and roll way on a tennis court. In an attempt to keep in touch with an old mate who worked in the music business and to keep fit, I starting playing tennis – across the net each week they would exchange ideas and introduce each other to people in the industry. Rollling on a few years to today, as you say we have landed not one, not two but 3 syncs in the new Tarantino movie ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’ – I must find the tennis balls and get back on the court. (laughs)
I saw you have been to the UK Premiere. So exciting! How was your premiere experience?
It was off the scale excitement! The first thing I noticed was the red carpet was white not red – red would have clearly clashed with white and orange of ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’ and more importantly Margot Robbies amazing orange dress. Once inside Mr. Tarantino whipped up the crowd by giving huge Hollywood style introductions to the stars – then to our amazement Mr Tarantino came up to the circle and sat in the same row as us!
The film itself is a work of art – I’d go as far as saying its his masterpiece. Everything is so well done from the cinematography, the costume, casting (especially of vintage cars and a dog), the story, his famous dialogue and of course the music. On a personal / Pop-Up Music level our syncs in the film are just incredible in my opinion. We are in one of the key moments in the film (of course nearly every second in a Mr T film is a key moment). This was something Jim and I did not know until we saw it because of Mr T’s secrecy we only saw it for the fist time at the premiere so up until that point we have scene descriptions and sync durations but that was it.
Your three favorite movies aside from “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood”? :)
Hard Days Night/Help the Beatles films (I know that’s two but I can not have a favourite between them) – The Royal Tenenbaums – The Castle (an Ozzy film)
“We provide the different, the unexpected, but above all quality music, as rare in itself isn’t enough to win us over.”
Can you describe to us what a typical day at the office means to you?
Straight down the pub at 11 o’clock for opening time! Just joking! (laughs) No day is the same – it can be create digging for new music to boring but essential meta data on the music – pitching on show and films – talking to artists about various things like explaining our contract and in between all of that both Jim and I compose and produce music ourselves. Jim’s just been working on a comedy TV pilot.
And how would you describe the style and vision of your company?
The style of Pop-Up Music is reflected in the music we have and also what we go looking for. We provide the different, the unexpected, but above all quality music, as rare in itself isn’t enough to win us over. We have a reputation for having lost gems or songs in foreign languages and different eras. Our catalogue goes back to 1920s right up to the latest music, spanning a very wide range of genres. So the vision of the company is to give lost gems, songs that deserve more attention, homes in cool projects. And also to give relatively unknown artists who’ve been missed by the big labels a major sync that can boost their career, that’s very satisfying.
I once described Pop-Up Music like a dogs home – there’s nothing wrong with these dogs, all they need is a good home. So when we land an unknown artist a sync it’s like giving a dog a new home (or if you like cats home as I know you at C-Heads love cats (laughs)
Haha, you are right. We love cats and we love the idea of giving homeless cats or dogs a good home. So, where do you see Pop-Up Music in the future?
Doing the same thing with bigger and greater success but keeping the same spirit we have now. Making more of our own music too. I cannot see us employing a team of staff because the big part of what we do is Jim and I knowing the music we have and our joint musical backgrounds and knowledge of music. You might say where do you go from here after you’ve done Tarantino – true but I say we have only just begun. Just because our first gig was Carnegie Hall does not mean we cannot play other great venues and return to do the odd Carnegie Hall gig (laughs)
You can listen to the “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” syncs here
And we a fantastic special for you! C-Heads readers can submit their songs to Pop-Up Music! Send links to firstname.lastname@example.org – streaming links only like Spotify or Soundcloud – no mp3s please. Please put “C-Heads submission” in the email subject.