Randy Hart, Aircast Production’s Creative Service Director, has been involved in both music and the music business for over 30 years. Among other things, he’s played with Iggy Pop, Garth Brooks and Willie Nelson, and he’s recorded with the Allman Brothers and contributed to soundtrack work for David Lynch’s classic, “Eraserhead.” Randy sat down with us recently to talk about his background in the industry, how he moved into production, and the work he’s doing now with Aircast and the new Megatrax library “News Tools.”
Tell us about your background. How did you get started in the music industry?
I have always had a musical ear, which is kind of a talent that seemed to be in my DNA—don’t know why. I’ve been playing piano since I was about 5, and when I was in my fairly early teens, I met a concert promoter in Washington DC, and my parents reluctantly let me work at this promoter’s office in DC, near where I grew up. He was promoting shows like The Who and Led Zeppelin and Janice Joplin. He managed a band that was very popular in the DC area, and I wound up joining them, and in 1973, we moved out to LA together, and there began the next part of my journey.
What were you doing with the band?
I was playing keyboards and singing. We were the typical Laurel Canyon band in 1973 and worked Pier 52 in Hermosa—it’s right next to the Lighthouse. Fast-forward: that gave me some wonderful experiences, and I was able to do some recording with interesting folks. In 1978, I joined Roger Millers’ band. Although he was always primarily known as a country artist, he lived in Beverly Hills at the time. Before Michael Jackson, he held the record for the number of Grammys won in a night. I worked with Roger for 8 years.
How did you make the leap to producing?
When I moved to Nashville, I came here to be a recording session pianist, and when that didn’t happen in the first month I was here, I thought “I’d better rethink this.” I wound up getting a road job with Steve Wariner, and in my time with Steve, I pitched a couple of songs to him that wound up becoming, essentially, career records for him. One in particular became kind of a hallmark song for him. I left Steve in ‘89 and began an 8-year career in music publishing. As a music publisher, I would produce demos that we would take to the artist.
So has production been your main focus since about the mid- ‘90s, then?
In the early-to-mid ‘90s, I was primarily in the admin and management segments of music publishing—I was VP for Famous Music, owned by Paramount, and then I went to BMG Music Publishing.
I left there and was independent for a couple of years and got involved with a company (in Nashville) that does things similar to what Megatrax does, and that was my introduction to production music and custom scoring for TV. I left there and had started a company primarily for custom scoring, primarily for television needs (Aircast), and that’s when Megatrax came along and said “let’s partner up.”
Tell us about the work you’ve done with Aircast Custom.
Aircast is the custom division of Megatrax. When a client or anyone has a music need that (would best) be accommodated by something that is specifically created for them– whatever their needs are– I am the go-to person for that, and we go from there in a custom music capacity.
What are some of the types of things Aircast can do?
We’ve had a very wide variety of projects in the year and a half of our existence- everything from the yodeling cow in the dairy commercial to the programming theme in the Nickelodeon Kids Choice. We create news packages and station branding for local television affiliates. We do promos—KRTH uses our promos. We’ve cut a pretty wide swath.
Tell us about the work you’ve done with News Tools.
News Tools is actually going to be a Megatrax product. It is a library product that is aimed specifically at television news promotion. News Tools was the result of television stations saying with regularity, “Gosh, we need more news-oriented production music that we can use for our sweeps promotions,” primarily. While libraries offer this type of materials on a random basis, News Tools was intended to be specifically focused on this need.
Can you tell us a little more about the value of the products you’ve created for Megatrax?
It’s been challenging and gratifying to be able to accommodate the variety of needs that we have had come our way. So far, we haven’t met a project that at the end of the day the client hasn’t come back and really thought that their needs were met and, in some cases, then some.
My day job, so to speak, is involved in production. I never know what the day will bring in terms of someone calling and saying they have a custom need. It’s renewing every day because it’s new music. It’s the same 12 notes, but they’re put together differently every day.