March 16, 2011

Mark Williams

This week my guest on Design*ByProxy is Mark Williams. I'm pretty psyched to be able to share pics of his office at the I.M. Pei designed former CAA building in Beverly Hills. Published interior shots of the building are on the DL, so I feel fortune that I could come in, take photos and share with you all. Kinda feel like a guerrilla blogger.

D*BP: Mark, can you tell us about you do and some of the bands you are working with?

MW: I am Senior Director of A+R for Columbia Records. I look for talent and then help them make records.
Right now I am working with a young singer T. Mills who also raps. He is part of what I call the “shuffle” generation. Kids that because of the internet have grown up exposed to many types of music. In his case the punk pop of Green Day and Blink 182 and hip hop of Wu-Tang, Eminem, and Jay Z. it has the attitude and melodies of Punk but Beats and flow of HipHop. I am also working with Steven Tyler, Raphael Saadiq, The Shins, Wyclef Jean, The Offspring, Jacob Dylan, Brandi Carlile and one of the Glee Cast Chord Overstreet I am quite diverse in what I work with ..

D*BP: Where did you get the pieces in your office?

MW: The desk , settee, chairs and table are all original Florence Knoll that I got from Linda at Skank World and had refinished . Linda has been doing mid century modern in LA since it was actually mid century ! . Her vendors do an incredible job of refinishing and upholstering pieces to there original condition. The Eames unit is a Modernica replica and the chair is an unknown Danish design I got from my wife's old apartment and had redone. Sisal rug from Melrose Rug .The modern credenzas are contemporary Knoll that were here when I moved in and kept.

D*BP: What is your favorite piece of art you have up and why?

MW: My favorite piece of art in my office is the painting of Hank Williams by Jon Langford given to me by a friend several years ago. Jon is a musician and also paints classic portraits of country artists . It is my favorite because I have a brother named Hank and when I was little my mother told me my brother had the same name as a famous country singer. I asked her to by me one of his records .I love the purity of his music. He did so much with 3 chords and a voice. He makes you feel his pain or his joy when he sings . He died when he was only 29 years old having written and recorded hundreds of songs. Hank and seeing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan was what got me interested in music.

D*BP: What do you listen to your music on? Do you use the Phase Linear?..if so, could you tell us about it. It's really cool looking.

MW: My stereo came from a close friend who passed away recently. He had it in his home studio .His sister was getting rid of some things and I was moving onto a new office. I thought it would be a good home for his equipment and he would like that it is being used to listen to mixes and songs by new artists and some great classic ones as well. The amplifier is from the mid 70’s made by Phase Linear. It has great power and I like the clean simple look. The Speaker cabinets are custom made by Manley with Tannoy speakers .They look elegant and have a real full crisp sound .I use a REL sub woofer and a Sony Receiver . I use this system to listen to mixes and recordings that I am making real sound judgments on .For most demos and day to day listening I have a desk top system of AudioEngine speakers that plug into my laptop. These are the best desk top speakers I have heard as they have good bass response where most desktops are a little thin sounding. I use the desk top system as a reference as most kids today listen to their music on less sophisticated systems than this so I feel if sounds good on these then it should be ok on most laptop systems .

Mark, thank you for sharing your office with us. I know you are on you’re way to Austin for SXSW> Have a great trip!


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