12 March 2021

PHMG Picks: Dan Lafferty shares his top creative audio innovations

I’m constantly in awe of the new levels of creativity we’re reaching through the medium of audio – both here at PHMG, and in the wider world of tech and marketing.

Here are just a few examples of real sonic ingenuity that we’ve all been inspired by recently.


Clubhouse: putting voice first

As social media continues to evolve at lightning speed, we’ve seen plenty of apps come and go – but with over eight-million downloads and counting, Clubhouse seems to be set up for long-term success. Currently invite-only and still in its Beta stage, the audio-content-based platform combines the most engaging parts of radio, podcasting, conference calls, and Houseparty to offer a drop-in experience where users can participate in – or simply listen to – real-time conversation and debate. Think of it as a members-only club, where you choose and curate the roundtable discussion – a perfect combination of exclusivity and personalisation that’s seen business boom:

  • User base doubled between February 1st and 16th.
  • Increase in value from $100-million in December 2020 to $1-billion in January 2021.

Putting voice application at the forefront, Clubhouse is a clever, creative development that eschews text and image-based content in favour of interesting people talking about interesting topics. This simple but brilliant concept offers infinite scope for both consumers and marketers – so with an official, worldwide launch touted for later this year, let’s see if joins the ranks of the social app elite.


Leica: Do it Justice

Commercial film director Nate Townsend created a visual homage to passion and craft for Leica Camera’s latest advertising campaign, documenting an impromptu road trip to his father’s hometown – Jacksonville, Florida – using the brand’s heirloom M4 model. The resulting short film, ‘Do it Justice,’ is a touching tribute to his father’s influence – but from an audio perspective, I’m impressed by the effective spoken word delivery, and the clever interplay of both sound and visuals to create something truly evocative. The voiceover artist points out the importance of listening closely to nature for the full experience – and this is reinforced by incredible use of sonic special effects, like the lapping water and rustling of removing tarpaulin from the canoe. Meanwhile, by adding emphasis to sounds like the click of a switch, or the sound of a shutter, we’re reminded of the power audio has in bringing precious memories to the front of our minds.


Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters

Fiona Apple’s fifth studio album, ‘Fetch the Bolt Cutters’, was met with universal acclaim on its release last April – and is a current creative inspiration for me in terms of tech and production. The album was actually recorded and produced before COVID-19 became a global crisis, however due to the timing of the release – and the fact that it was almost entirely recorded in Apple’s own home – it feels very specific to a particular moment in history.

While many artists and producers have found themselves returning to the humble home studio as a result of the pandemic, this record feels particularly poignant because the sounds of domestic living are incorporated as additional instruments, from banging pots and pans, to the ‘backing barks’ of her dogs. Overall, it’s an inspiring, innovative piece of work that stretches the limits of creativity, and is sure to go down in history as a ground-breaking piece of art.

I really felt like it’s an instrument in itself, it’s the microphone: The house is the microphone, the house is the ambiance, the house is a member of the band.



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