Bang is a music-making boutique that was started by Amagansett resident Lyle Greenfield in 1989. Hatched in a Midtown Manhattan hip-hop studio, the company evolved into a multi-faceted composing, recording and audio-post operation based in NYC, with a trans-Atlantic satellite in Prague. You may never have heard the name, but its sound waves have traveled the world in thousands of artist recordings, promos, ads, TV series and films.
We recently caught up with Bang’s founder at his “happy place” in the Dunes to find out how you stay on top of an industry that’s shifting faster than the shoreline in Montauk.
What was the impetus to start a music company? And do you have a musical background?
Necessity, actually. I’d just lost my job at a music company that was about to go under, so I decided to try to start something and hire myself. For the first 4 years Bang shared space with a Midtown hip-hop studio where amazing artists like Queen Latifah, Black Sheep, Brand New Heavies, De La Soul and others had recorded their first albums. It was an explosive time in the industry and I felt super lucky to be in that space at that moment. And, no, I don’t have a musical background—just a music ‘fanatic’ you might say. I actually began my working life as an ad writer for places like J. Walter Thompson & Saatchi. But I loved being in the studio, around musicians and composers…a hell of a lot more fun than account executives!
In the early years was it possible to divide your time between NYC and Amagansett?
It was crazy and it’s a blur—because I was also trying to establish the first winery in the Hamptons—in Bridgehampton. I felt like a pinball, ricocheting between NY and the East End…but that’s another story.
So at a time when the music industry has been turned upside down, how has Bang’s business evolved over the years?
It’s hard but it’s simple: you evolve and thrive, or you’re fossilized. In the past decade artists and brands have had to reimagine their strategies for success.
What we did with Bang is diversify—we’ve always created original music and we added a lot of audio post and music supervision for film and TV. We handle mixing duties for Ink Master on Spike TV (featuring Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction) and just finished music supervision for James Franco’s new film, In Dubious Battle. Another big thing we did last year is open a studio in Prague, which gives us access to the European market.
All these things together keep us engaged in a much broader mix of work—in addition to the music for brands.
And we actually went back to our record-making roots by recording artists for the Spotify Sessions.
Yeah, that’s been a very cool gig for us. A few years ago Spotify created ‘Spotify Sessions’—live recordings that serve as both exclusive content for their subscribers and promotion for the artist. We’ve handled the recording and mixing for them in NYC and at SXSW in Austin—probably hundreds of artists at this point…everyone from Kendrick Lamar to Willie Nelson…it’s been an amazing experience.
Any artistic projects of your own you can talk about?
Always! Three projects we’re particularly excited about are coming out over the next month or so: EDM artist Beady Jay is releasing an EP later this month—the first single is “Here Comes The Night” featuring rapper Homeboy Sandman. Stereodome released a video for their song “Covered” and we’re following up with another single, “Ecstasy”, which will have its debut in about a month. And then there’s an EP coming from electro-rock artist, Wasted On The Young.
Let your ears take a field trip through the BANG NY Playlist:
Has Bang worked with any of the East End’s musicians?
Not as much as I’d like, mostly because of the seasonal nature of the music scene here. A few years ago, we did have an opportunity to bring on one of my favorite artists, Nancy Atlas, as the performing “voice” of a major supermarket chain in the South—a gig she rocked for over 4 years.
Oh, and way back, Bang partnered with Stephen Talkhouse in presenting “The Last Summer Day of the Century” party in September of 1999. Ask Peter Hornerkamp about that night—my head starts throbbing just thinking about it.
Anything else on the horizon for Bang?
We’re working with Jack Johnson to develop an acoustic guitar that can double as a boogie board.
Check out more works and upcoming projects from Lyle’s international studio over on the BANG website. Thanks Lyle!