Popeye, aka Paul-Mark Vincent, is a DJ and electronic musician. He started turning tables eight years ago, playing a range of music from house and techno to reggae and roots. As a DJ, he has played in Hong Kong, Chicago and venues across London, including the Ministry of Sound. He is also in a band, called Three Halves Sound System, which plays gigs throughout London.
Popeye started working in digital media as a freelance ‘by default, really’, he says. ‘As a musician, it’s very difficult to make a living, even if you are incredibly talented.’ Although he can target producers directly, streaming MPEG compressed audio to them via the Internet rather than having to deal with time-consuming middle men, it can still take years for fame to strike.
Instead of waiting for a record deal, Popeye decided to exploit his programming and beat-oriented skills and approach the digital media world. Most of his work has been corporate, or what he describes as ‘car ad music’. Clients have included Shell, BT, and Microsoft Networks. ‘Most jobs are functional,’ he says.
‘It will be sound music, button noises and often it can be quite bland.’ But the skills change with the brief and for some projects he has taken an all-round approach and worked on sound, voice editing and intro music.
The great appeal of working in digital media is in the nature of the medium. ‘For a musician it’s exciting, because there is the potential to interact much more with the music, rather than just listening to it.’ Added to that is the collaboration with visual designers and the relationship of sound with image. ‘When you compose music you are pushing it and making it synchronize with the image. They each have an effect on each other, like in film.’ His enthusiasm about the marriage between image and sound, common in other media, is largely related to the untapped potential of music in digital media.
‘I think that while technically and graphically new media is quite advanced, music has lagged behind and has only just started to evolve in its own right,’ he says. ‘Before, music was just a matter of pinching stuff as an afterthought. Now it’s becoming custom made, detailed and people understand the necessity of wiring their computers to good speakers.’