Meet Bar Louie’s Voice
“Eat. Drink. Be Happy.” These are some simple ideas of the world famous Bar Louie. This is a truly unique chain of bars and eateries headquartered in Addison, Texas. Working in over 70 locations across the US, specializing in handcrafted cocktails, local and regional beers, unique wines and craveable food, Bar Louie has developed a loyal customer base since their beginnings in 1990. The main idea of the Bar Louie is to create a local appeal, it means that there is no two bars alike in their chain. This is both great opportunity and challenge for those who create music for their bar.
In order to study more I interviewed Craig Clemens, the Prescriptive Music consultant who works with Bar Louie and told us more about their background music.
Q:How did gain your music knowledges?
I grew up with music. I remember in my middle-school, I could mane the list of the ‘Billboard Top 40’ songs that week. My mother would call me on a Sunday and say, “Okay – who’s number 16 this week?” and I would tell her. Later I went to school for cintemporary music in Toronto. After finishing it, I applied to RXMusic as a dataentry clerk. Eventually, I was up-graded to consultant and Bar Louie became my first client.
Of course, the music knowledges and love for music is important, however, analytical mind and communicative mind helped me the most. Different clients have different knowledges about music and that should not be the problem. You should understand that your dealing with all kind of people: restaurateurs, bar managers, corporate directors, etc., they have a gread variety of background knowledges.
Q: Bar Louie was one of your first clients, tell me about it.
Yeah, that’s right, it’s my fourth year of working with them. I have created 3 different concepts for their bars lately. From a techical point of view music development is not such a difficult thing - this is what helped me at the beginning of my career. Each Bar Louie have the same schedule and playlist which makes it easier to create for many locations at the same time. But the main challenge is the locallization of the Bar and the way it should be reflected in the music.
Q: What do you mean whan talking about localization? Does every bat has it’s own program?
Kind of. They have their message and my job is to show it in the music and creating a strong individual atmosphere for each of the bars. They have different menues in differnet locations - that is their staples, that’s what make them so special. I have tried the same idea for the music.
Q: What are these musical staples?
Before Bar Louie actually uses its music we listen to it, vett it and edit. The main genres are Rock, Pop, R&B and Alternative that becomes a great energy source throughout the day. A lettle retro and 90’s rock is turned on just for diversity. But different locations have extra playlists which do not go on themain schedule. For example, Dance playlist or Blues playlist, they can be turned on whether the setting are suitable.
Q: That sounds amazing. But how did you localize all of this things?
Bars have a tons of additional playlists which help them in different settings, whether it’s some kind of event or just a national holiday. We have Blues, Jazz, Electro, etc., to turn on in any moment as needed.
Q: How do you develop lists for a client that is so entrenched in their own program of Rock and Pop, and create curated content that is completely different from their own brand.
You really have to feel the atmosphere of the local settings which should be reflected in the music. Relax and feel the flow of the people living there, use your ears and analize.
It’s a hard job to be DJ, it’s full responsibility for the next song played and followed. Your taste need to be as objestive as possible for a human being, research the feedbacks and data as much as possible and you’ll be able to create something amazing.
Q: What sort of data do you rely on when creating a music program?
Ther is a lot going on in psychology when it comes for music and people’s mood. There is lot of people that still try to create the “perfect” music which everyone want to hear.
The ‘perfect playlist’ can’t be created by a person or scientifically. People have different tastes in everything, clothes, food, furniture and music is not an exception. We can gather some data about what people want to hear but we won’t be able to create such music.
Although we always trying and that what makes the music special, It’s a source of creativity and joy for everyone, both creators and listeners.
Q: Do you think that you have reflected this ‘creativity and joy’ in your music for Bar Louie
That was my goal. The traveller from Cleveland coming to Miami Beach would walk into Bar Louie and recognize the atmosphere of their home land. That’s what we have come up to.