Drum & Lace is the cool LA-based company of Sofia Hultquist. Hultquist is making music of a different stripe — rather than release EPs and play shows at venues big and small, she’s composing tunes for fashion and beauty brands big and small, from the likes of Diane von Furstenberg and St. John to Lotuff Leather and Atelier Delphine. Hultquist was kind enough to answer some of our questions about her work and what she has in store for this season’s NYFW.
What is Drum & Lace?
Drum & Lace is a creative ‘company’ that composes and styles music for designers in fashion and beauty industries. We focus primarily on emerging designers, and those that have an aptitude for sustainability. The music we compose is for anything from a behind-the-scenes video, to a fashion presentation, to full-on fashion film.
What inspired the name?
When I was trying to come up with a name I knew that I wanted it to somehow involve music and fashion, and be witty at the same time. There was definitely a long list of names (some of which were just awful!) but I think that once I said ‘Drum & Lace’ out loud I knew that was it!
How did you get started with this kind of music composition?
The type of composition I do right now is really the evolution of all that has come before it. Before starting Drum & Lace I can’t say I’d done that much composition specifically for fashion, but I’d definitely been composing for some time. The idea of creating music for collections and aesthetics had always interested me.
What’s your background?
I’ve been involved with some aspect of music since I was a kid- this lead me to attend Berklee College of Music to become a performer. Soon after starting college, though, I realized that Film Scoring and Composition resonated better with me. I started composing more, and found myself doing some work in audio branding, and ultimately brought me back to school to get a master’s in music technology. So all in all I feel like I’ve been composing for different mediums since sometime in college.
How did you know this was a career possibility — i.e. fashion/beauty-focused music work?
Honestly, I didn’t, but I hoped that it would be possible. The fact that when I first set out to start Drum & Lace I couldn’t find anyone doing what I was hoping to do was both exciting and extremely scary. I had no idea if people would respond to such a niche company. It’s been great so far, and fingers crossed it keeps going!
What are some projects/things you’ve already done for brands and the like?
Picking only a few is hard, as I’ve had the chance of working with so many incredible emerging designers on a really varied bunch of projects. Working on a video with leather goods company Lotuff was really great, as the vibe and mood they wanted for their track was in a style that I hadn’t really done much of before. Composing for Alternative Apparel’s Made In Peru campaign was also wonderful, as they’re such great advocates of sustainability. And just this weekend I just finished composing a soundscape for emerging designer A Moi’s SS16 New York Fashion Week presentation, that’s taking place on September 9th.
How do you approach each new project? What’s your process like?
Each project is slightly different depending on what the designer or brand brings to the table. For example, sometimes there’s a video already made that needs music written to it, and other times they’re looking to cut the video to something I compose. The actual writing process though is always quite similar, in that I ask the designer or brand to send me any reference materials they have, particularly focused on fabrics and colors they’re going to use. Once the mood and vibe is agreed upon, the composition starts and as each track reaches near completion I’ll send it back out to the designer to make sure we’re on the same page. And then it continues like that until the project is done.
What’s your dream Drum & Lace project?
I think my two dream projects would be to score a fashion film, if directed by Sofia Coppola or the likes even better, or to compose a 3D sound immersive soundscape for a fashion runway presentation. A girl can dream right?
What do you have in the pipeline for this year’s NYFW? Please give details!
This time around I tried not to fill up my schedule too much, as there’s always so much going on that you find out about last minute! I’m really excited to be able to attend the A Moi presentation I composed music for, as well as check out the new Brand Assembly space they’re launching, which will feature a lot of emerging designers. I’m also really looking forward to everything on Saturday evening at the Tanya Taylor presentation.
What else should we know?
Hmm… Maybe that my love for fashion started early while living and growing up in Florence, Italy where everyone paid so much attention to personal style and to the quality of their clothing. It’s hard to realize how lucky you are to be surrounded by so much beautiful art and style when you are always around it, so it wasn’t until college that I realized that that wasn’t everyone’s experience. In a way, supporting emerging designers and those that advocate for quality over quantity is an ode back to tailors and the craft of fashion and style.