Gyom Amphoux (Part 1): ‘As an artist, you focus on your inner feelings…’

Photo: Kathy Ma (www.Studiobymak.com)

Working as an artist,
but interested in a production role?

Gyom Amphoux started
out as a musician, then 
moved to producing, and now combines that with making
music for TV and advertising. In Part 1 of our interview he tells us about how
he became a producer, and how it’s different to being just an artist.

‘Everybody starts playing in a band and another band and you
grow… I was lucky to eventually get signed on a local label which allowed us to
get a little more funds as a band here in the States, and tour a little bit.’

‘Things didn’t go according to plan in the end – something
in a contract we had didn’t jive too well with us and we decided to part ways.
But it was a great experience and you’re exposed to a lot of things musically
speaking: other bands, other genres, the whole touring lifestyle, which is… a
thing in itself!’

‘And eventually that led me to start writing and producing
other people that I met along the way. So I developed a passion for that, and
trying to get the best out of artists. I got hooked on it. I started buying
more gear and set up the studio, and started writing for other people who were
interested and think I was eventually approached by someone who worked for a
company here. He was asking if I could help him out writing a song for a
commercial spot, which I did, and which was tremendously successful all of a
sudden. I think I got real lucky on this one. And I started my career as a
commercial writer. And that’s where I am today.’

‘I still run the studio and produce artists, but I mainly write for movies, TV, commercials, or write a bunch of songs for a compilation, so it’s being placed later on, or something that’s been commissioned for a commercial and then you pitch it. Which is a work for hire type thing. I enjoy it greatly, definitely! 

This Mountain Dew commercial used Gyom’s music:

What’s the difference between being an artist and a
producer?

‘It’s a different state of mind… it’s got a lot to do with
the psychology aspect of it – meaning you want to approach someone and know
them inside out, so you can actually get the best out of them. But it’s not
always easy. And sometimes it doesn’t work. Sometimes you just don’t gel, you
know. But it’s always a great pleasure to get the best out of someone and see
on their faces that they’re so happy with your takes or the way the song shaped
up. As an artist, you focus on your inner feelings and as a producer, you’re
focused on trying to get those out of the person you’re producing. So it’s a
very different world.’

‘In The Distance’ by Tiffany Thompson, produced by Gyom:

‘Sometimes you need to push people, sometimes you push them
too far and they’re not happy with you. But it happens that they might learn a
few things. Then they get back to you and realise that, hey, you’re right, that
was what was needed for the song. And you’re right, maybe I can’t hit those
high notes and maybe we should find something else, so we don’t kill the song.’

‘Everybody has their place in a band and some things aren’t
as important as others. The focus is mainly on the vocals, so all the nice
little patterns you might develop on your hi hat as a drummer might come across
totally unnoticed in the scheme of things because the song is not really
focussing on that. It’s the same for the guitars – guitarists get a little
egotistical about their playing and really, you have to do what’s best for the
song as a whole, as opposed to each individual part. So it takes some skill to
make all those things gel and have the people playing them understanding their
part, too.’

In Part 2 of our
interview, he tells us about the skills you need to be a producer, the most
important equipment in his studio and how musicians have changed their attitude
to commercial work.

Gyom
Amphoux is a Music Producer, Composer, Singer, Songwriter,
Multi-Instrumentalist and Cheerleader. You can get in touch with him via his 
website and hear more of his music on his Soundcloud page.