Off Beat with Erick and Ryan

Written by Teddy Burch in the October 2008 Issue

You’ve heard their music. You’ve sung along to their lyrics. “Get a Dodge, get a Dodge, get a Dodge....” You know the one. Maybe you’ve hummed along to the tune where “the hardest thing to do is pick your favorite color.” If so, then you have sung a jingle written by Ryan Bellgardt and Erick Alexander, founders of Offbeat Music Imaging.

They spend their days writing, editing, reviewing and rewriting the songs that accompany many of the T.V. and radio ads you hear. In some cases, a 30 second ad will be the finished product of an entire weeks work. But for these guys, time spent doesn’t really matter.

“When a project is complete and the client is happy, that’s a big part of it. We have an attachment for everything we do. If it’s what the [customer] wanted, then we know we’ve done our job,” said Erick.

The two began Offbeat full-time in the summer of 2007. Ryan has an extensive background in writing and recording music. He also learned from Oklahoma broadcasting legend, Danny Williams, as he spent ten years doing radio, surnamed “Ryan O’Brien.” During this time he found a way to mesh radio and his love for music and broadcasting. This began his career of writing jingles for radio commercials.

Erick could be titled a professional singer/songwriter and entertainer. He spent some time touring with Oklahoma Christian’s Summer Singers. He is a drummer, a guitar player and a singer. So naturally, the two combined their individual talents and Offbeat was born. As Ryan would put it, “we’ve been rocking and rolling ever since.”

No matter how many ads broadcast their music, the two will never forget how they got started. “I went before the Oklahoma Pork Council about writing a jingle. This was on a Monday and they wanted examples. So I told them I would have examples on Wednesday,” Ryan said. “I immediately hired Erick and went to work putting together pieces. We presented it and they loved it.”

The commercial that the two eventually did for the Pork Council won the Oklahoma 60-second “commercial of the year” award. “I realized that I found something that I could do, finally,” Ryan said.

While both are Edmond residents, their studio is located at 19th and Drexel, in Oklahoma City. The renovated 1930’s house makes for an excellent structure to fully grasp the natural sounds created within their studio. All walls are lined with absorption foam to not only reduce noise, but to prevent sound bouncing off the walls and back into microphones.

The two are very much aware that any potential client is not going to open up the phone book and call for the type of service they provide. Business is most often a result of word of mouth. Being known as the “big fish” in town, they produce great work, but not miracles.

“Sometimes, we are approached by someone who wants their song to be the next B.C. Clark jingle,” Ryan said. “And that’s fine, we can write that. All we need the client to do is run it for the next 20 years. You see, commercial songs are about repetition. We like to think that we can shorten that time.”

Although rare, there are times when the two meet with clients and find the finished product is not what the customer wanted. “We make it right. It’s like when you order a hamburger and you wanted mayo and you got mustard; most places will take it back and make it right. We’re no different.”

When Erick gets away from the studio, more than likely you’re going to find him at the skate park, riding his board. For Ryan, “This is what I do for fun whether it’s at home, or here at the studio. I’m lucky, I don’t ever go to work.”

Offbeat has over 30 commercial jungles airing at anytime. Log onto www.offbeatmusicimaging.com to learn more, or to find out where to “get a Dodge, get a Dodge, get a Dodge...”

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