Mikey McCleary is optimistic about Bollywood, feels ‘there’s always fresh music to discover’
By Bryan Durham - August 19, 2019
Mikey McCleary is probably the busiest music producer/director you might not have heard of. The man has worked on everything from Tinder and Spotify ads to World Cup Sports anthems and the background music for films as varied as Shanghai, Margarita With A Straw and Befikre. The guy even set up a studio called Bay Music House for the purpose of creating original music for advertising agencies, brands and broadcast platforms.
We spoke to him recently to talk about Bollywood, the independent scene, his upcoming projects and the variety of projects he involves himself with…
You’ve been around for a while — from jingles to music production to re-creations (before they became a ‘thing’). Think there are any voids needed to be filled in the music industry?
There will always be new fresh music to discover. I think we stumble upon new genres most of the time with a combination of experimentation, luck and timing. Hard to predict what they will be. But there will always be room for innovation.
Can you tell us about the music you’re creating for Priyanka Chopra’s next film?
It’s a really strong and moving film so I’ve really done my best to create the music it deserves. It’s not overly dramatic or cinematic. A lot of the pieces are played on more intimate global folk instruments. Not much big orchestral stuff. There are three or four main themes which come in many musical guises. Overall, I would say the music was uplifting, acoustic, melodic and touching, without being overly sentimental.
Jingles or singles — which one is more difficult to create and which do you personally enjoy?
Singles are more difficult, but more rewarding. Jingles usually come with a brief and that makes it easier, it gives you a direction. With singles, you have complete freedom. You have to find your own musical voice rather than find the voice that expresses the client/brand.
Web series are the future and you’ve done quite a few with Amazon Prime Video. What do you think is the key to a good soundtrack for a web series?
Good music usually comes when you have good scripts and direction. The great thing is that this is starting to happen due to the arrival of web series in India. Music has a big influence on the tone of the series and finding the right sound can make all the difference.
Mikey, the singer or Mikey the composer or Mikey, the studio boss?
I would never call myself a singer. Yes, sometimes, I sing, but my voice is rather limited. I often sing a guide track and sometimes the client wants to keep my voice on it. ‘Mikey, the composer’ is the right description. Composition and production is where I get my greatest joy and the area of my work that represents me the most.