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Remote Control Prods.: Hans Zimmer’s Music Factory as a Breeding Ground

Remote Control Prods., Hans Zimmer’s post-production company, is located within a sprawling seven-building complex in a commercial area of Santa Monica. At its center is Zimmer’s personal studio, designed to look like “a 19th-century Viennese brothel,” as the composer says with a wink.

The oak walls and floors, vintage analog synthesizers and built-in library shelves offer a sharp contrast to the remaining 50,000 square feet of studio space: an ultra-modern maze of composer suites, state-of-the-art recording and mixing facilities, and related small businesses. About 85 people work there, according to Zimmer’s business partner Steven Kofsky.

Remote Control, Zimmer’s loanout company, is one of more than a dozen tenants on the property, all owned by another Zimmer-Kofsky company called 14th Street Grille (which started in the mid-1990s and has been expanding throughout the block ever since).

Fifteen other composers, all friends or former associates of Zimmer, rent space: Henry Jackman (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”), Ramin Djawadi (“Game of Thrones”), Heitor Pereira (“The Smurfs”), James Dooley (“Pushing Daisies”), James Levine (“Glee”), Geoff Zanelli (“The Pacific”), Atli Orvarsson (“Chicago Fire”), David Buckley (“The Good Wife”), Rupert Gregson-Williams (“Winter’s Tale”), Lorne Balfe (“Assassin’s Creed III”), Benjamin Wallfisch (“Summer in February”), Dominic Lewis (“Free Birds”), Matthew Margeson (“Kick-Ass 2”), Junkie XL (“Divergent”) and Michael Einziger of Incubus.

And, as if to illustrate the very international flavor of the facility, a miniature flag (representing the composer’s homeland) is displayed outside the door of each studio.

“These composers are independent, have their own businesses and secure their own movies,” Kofsky stresses. Four other composers are on staff at Remote Control, he says, but the vast majority are not part of Zimmer’s company.

He terms it a “gently competitive environment,” albeit one with “amazing creative synergy.” An advantage for all who work under this roof is the availability of Zimmer’s custom sample library, which ensures top-quality music mockups for visiting filmmakers.

Also on the premises are veteran mixer Alan Meyerson, manager-producer Peter Asher, music editor Bob Badami and occasional music producer Stephen Lipson.

“The majority of all of Hans’ scores are mixed here,” Kofsky says. Danny Elfman and Clint Mansell have also mixed
scores there.

The facility includes four control rooms, all boasting high-end equipment, that can record single instruments or small ensembles (up to 12 musicians; all the strings for “Desperate Housewives” were recorded there).

At the north end of the complex is the L.A. office of Extreme Music, a production-music company, and its new joint venture with Remote Control, Bleeding Fingers Custom Music Shop, which tackles “custom scoring” for reality TV shows like “Survivor,” “Duck Dynasty” and “Mountain Men.”

Still under construction, it will boast 18 writing rooms when finished. There are four composers on staff, Kofsky says, with more to be hired shortly.

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