A Closer Look
To almost everyone Los Angeles is considered to be the entertainment capitol of the world. Many artist of all kind have moved here to pursue a career in the business. Particularly those who have grown up here know that the magic of Hollywood is made behind the curtain. This “Closer Look” is with two brothers that are native Los Angelinos. They have held jobs at record companies, recording studios and post-production facilities making their combined knowledge and experience quite extensive. They started Bahallum Bros. Production Company a while ago taking on musical projects of all sizes. Both of them are proficient in cranking out music of any kind and have over 275 songs in their library. I sat down with the two of them and discussed how music has affected lives.
What got you into music?
BJ: My mother (Anna Marie) and her piano. I grew up listening to her playing Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Hadyn, Chopin and many more, so my love for music started very early.
Bruce: My mother and brother.
Listen to Anna Marie play a Hadyn piece on the synthesizer.
Who is the first artist that inspired you?
BJ: I guess technically it would have to be the “classical guys”. As far as contemporary music, there was no real first. I love most of the pop/rock bands from the late 70s and up. For individual artists I would have to say, Elton John, Rick Wakeman and Billy Joel just off the top of my head.
Bruce: Electronic alternative music was big at my high school and local radio station. They played Depeche Mode, Yaz, Howard Jones, The Cure and other similar alternative genre artists.
What was your first piece of equipment you purchased?
BJ: It was a little Casio that had 3 octaves and very small keys. However, my first serious purchase was a Roland Jupiter 8 synthesizer that I still have today!
Bruce: 2 turntables and a mixer.
Do you remember the first song you wrote?
BJ: The first piano song was called “Anna’s Theme”. I believe I wrote it at the age of 11 or 12. It has grown over the years from two and half minutes to its last recorded version of five and half minutes in length. It started out as a simply piano piece, but has bloomed into an orchestrated opus. The first song written and recorded with a computer was called “First Computer Song”. It was just a pattern that repeated for but took me ten minutes to write.
Listen to “Anna’s Theme” (1993 version).
Listen to “First Computer Song” (1989).
Bruce: My first completely original composition was “Winter Jog”, with support from my brother who wrote the chorus for me.
Listen to “Winter Jog” from the CD Eclectic Café (2008).
How do you write your songs?
BJ: My songs are written by means of “creative flow”. Sometimes a certain sound will inspire a song, or maybe a specific chord structure in a particular phrasing like “Sunrise at the Beach”. Sometimes a certain style of music will inspire. I worked on a “Techno” project with a friend awhile back ago. It was my first attempt in that genre, and I ended up writing about 19 songs in a month’s time.
Listen to “Sunrise at the Beach” (2012).
Listen to a “Techno” sample (1995).
Bruce: My songs are sometimes created from beats and sounds. Musicianship comes much later after the feeling or mood is laid down.
Listen “Simon Says” from the CD Familiarity Breeds Contempt (2011).
How would you describe your music?
BJ: My instrumental stuff I would describe as “image inducing”. People would often say while listening to my music that they can “picture” something in their mind. The music I’m creating these days with my wife could be categorized as soft rock/pop/blues/adult contemporary.
Listen to “Through the Woods”.
Listen to “Both Sides of This Wall” from the CD Proper Introductions (2011).
Bruce: Scoring instrumental soundscapes, set to scenes and films.
Listen “Through the Fields” from the CD Familiarity Breeds Contempt (2011).
Do you like collaborating with other artists?
BJ: Most of the time. Any ideas other than my own are warmly greeted in my mind. I always like to know an “alternate path” to take musically. There are times though when working alone is preferred.
Listen to “If I Only Knew” with singer Mark Vinnet (1991).
Bruce: Not really. I have a hard enough time collaborating with my brother. It’s like telling a story a certain way. To me it sounds better if I tell the story by myself rather than someone else chiming in and ruining the flow.
How did Bahallum Bros. Production get started?
BJ: It was actually formed before it had a name. Between the two of us, we had acquired enough equipment to do home studio recordings. This was 25 years ago when computers and home studios were not really around yet. Yes, computers were around but not with its capabilities that we have today. Everything had to be interfaced, chained by MIDI connections, programmed by hand-playing and synced with SMTPE time code to an 8-track reel to reel. Having all that early on, we just started helping people with their projects, large or small.
Bruce: The name came from our father with a classic misinterpretation or terms.
What’s easier, being brothers or working on music together?
BJ: We seem to grow together both mentally and musically. As in life whether working on music, being brothers or just dealing with life itself, there are hard times and easy times for everything.
Bruce: Being brothers is easier than working on music. For me trying to get my musical ideas across is sometimes quite painful.
What current projects are you working on now?
BJ: I am currently working on completing WHITE SMOKE’s second CD. I expect to have it completed by the end of 2012. My wife and I released our first CD, “Proper Introductions” last year and can be purchased on CD Baby, iTunes and Amazon. I’m also involved in a 3-person cover band called MERIDIAN playing music from the 60s through the 90s. We currently perform in the Santa Clarita area and will be branching out to the San Fernando area as well.
Bruce: My 3rd CD release entitled iBmode.
What projects would you like to work on in the future?
BJ: I can see us doing soundtracks. I love movies almost as much as music. It would be a bonus to work the two things together. I will also be shooting the third video for White Smoke next month.
Click here to watch White Smoke’s video “PCH”
Click here to watch White Smoke’s video “When It’s Over”
Bruce: Scoring a movie with my brother.
If there is a heaven, what music is been played there?
BJ: Ah…heaven is one big jam session going from song to song playing every ones music. The play list is extremely long but we will have eternity go through all of them!
Bruce: Probably a little bit of everything, however I wouldn’t be surprised that some Angel in charge can’t get iTunes to play throughout the clouds, so I’ll have to fix it.
You can see video samples of Bahallum Bros. work by visiting their website at: http://www.meridian-whitesmoke.com/Meridian-Whitesmoke/Production_Company_2.html
You can listen to more of Bruce’s work by visiting his website, Bmode Music, at: http://www.bmodemusic.com/BmodeMusic/Home_Page.html
You can watch videos and listen to more of BJ’s work by visiting: http://www.meridian-whitesmoke.com/Meridian-Whitesmoke/White_Smoke_2.html