Meet the man behind the music played during several of the Marissa Webb New York Fashion Week runway shows. Moon Kon Choe wears many hats inside the MW studio. A skilled photographer and wiz with website management and IT work, he’s also a talented music producer and sound illustrator. Scroll down to read about his music mixing process for New York Fashion Week and listen to the full Fall/Winter 2016 playlist.
What is your background in music?
Moon: During high school I played the drums and later took lessons from Yoron Israel, a Chicago transplant jazz musician. After having already been exposed to some jazz at home by my parents, Yoron really solidified my love for jazz. I received my BA in music at Rutgers and played in the Rutgers Jazz Ensemble while gigging throughout New Jersey, playing coffee shops, small clubs, and open mics. I play keyboard by ear and continue to practice both drums and piano. Aside from that, I produce music for local artists/MCs and also DJ from time to time.
Where did you draw inspiration from for the Fall/Winter 2016 show music?
Moon: I defaulted to Marissa for what her inspiration was for the collection. Her one word to describe the Fall/Winter 16 collection was “dandizette.” It’s a more modern and feminine take on an English dandy. Dandies were gentlemen during the late 1700s and early 1800s. They had a reputation for refined, impeccable style and were known for their tailored clothing. Based off this idea and the conversation that ensued, I pulled music that I felt conveyed what her vision was, trying to steer clear of being too literal.
How did the music relate to this specific collection?
Moon: The idea was to hint to the past, but not to get stuck there – instead, have the music mix evolve from the past into the present. With this in mind, I drew a lot of influence from 1920’s jazz, but gave it a more modern vibe.
What are some of the challenges with creating music for the show?
Moon: Syncing the music time to the show time is always a challenge since you can’t control how fast the models will walk during the show. We use a formula developed by Fashion Producer extraordinaire, Lynne O’Neill, to calculate the length of time we need for the show based off of the number of looks and length of the runway. It gives us an idea of the timing but it’s never that cut and dry since the models will tend to walk faster during the show than during rehearsal. You just have to be ready to make a last minute edit or be OK with having a song not played…
How long does it take you to put together a playlist for the show?
Moon: It depends, usually a week from start to finish. I’ll choose a number of songs to start and from there, the designer and I will collaborate to narrow down the list. Once we have the show and finale songs firm, I begin the rough mix which can take a day or two. After that, I’ll deliver the rough mix and the entire team will listen to it at the studio. We’ll bounce ideas back and forth and from that feedback, I’ll deliver a second draft with more adjustments if needed. Once it gets approved, I move on to the final mix where I dial in the transitions, master the mix, and bounce to a stereo 2 track.
Which song on the show playlist was your favorite?
Moon: The Beat Goes On by Buddy Rich. It’s such great song, recorded live at the Chez Club in Hollywood and performed by his 12-year-old daughter, Cathy. Truthfully her vocals were over dubbed in the studio afterward. I gave the track a slight remix to make it sound modern, but the original is timeless.
Listen to the full Marissa Webb Fall/Winter 2016 runway show playlist below…