Brett McTaggart is a man with a mission.
That is to say, a man of many missions. The Cayman polymath is currently running his own video and audio production company, Flipside Productions, writing and recording parody videos with Bausmod and expanding freelance field recordings with a number of projects.
Weekender caught up with Brett for some quickfire questions.
Hi Brett, you are an incredibly busy guy – let’s start with Flipside, what’s that all about?
Flipside Productions actually encompasses many different projects, from weddings, to corporate videos, business personality films, crew for hire, field recording, and will even do some video slideshows if you need it. I’d say we tend to be a little more toward the edgy, cinematic and with the digital era of HD. I really love the more creative side of things. I’ve worked the most with Rob Tyler, who now is under CITN, [Cayman 27] and we always look at ways to collaborate as we have a certain workflow. He tends to have the eye, and I have the ear. Being an audio engineer, I really put a lot of study and research into equipment along with expertise to offer the best possible field recordings and studio recordings here. As the company grows and funds are available, I’ll always be looking at either upgrading gear or adding on. It’s something I strive for, if I want to accomplish something, I want to make sure it’s the best, and can stand the test of international crews. I was very excited when a production team came from New York to film for IBM and ended up commending me, saying I was the best they’ve worked with!
I do some project studio work here at home as well. Mainly with people I know and friends and family (until I can afford to move out and build my own “proper” studio). Recently, I’ve been working with Foreign Exhibition, who is comprised of local artist David Innis and his friend from Singapore, Jasmine Chin, and local rock band Shedden. I’ve known all these guys pretty much my whole life, some I grew up with and used to write and play music. It’s awesome because I’m surrounded by such talented musicians who I can now record and help produce songs for.
We’re confused. Can you tell us what Bausmod means?
Bausmod is a hybrid of meanings. It stems from the Jamaican side “bossman,” which we say a lot. “Aye yo, bossman” or “what’s up, boss?” a sign of respect to others. It’s the word “boss” – but via Internet culture – “baus.” “Boss-mode” – more of a gaming term for me. Being unstoppable, you’re in boss mode and the “mod” goes toward modification, otherwise known as mods.
Uh, OK, we’re sort of enlightened, we guess. So when you set to making a parody video, what is your inspiration?
Inspiration can come from different aspects. One of the things I enjoy is laughter. I’ve always liked making fun of things and lightening people’s moods. Often people take things a little too seriously. But to what actually inspires lyrics and production? Hmm… I think just the everyday things that I do and the people I hang out with inspire me. Things that frustrate can be hobbies, games, everyday events. I’m sure it happens to plenty people. They hear a song, then switch the lyrics up and make something funny out of it. The only difference is that I’m fortunately in a position where I can record, make a video, and release it with the help of my friends. I go by a simple rule, if I laugh, chances are someone else will too, and when that happens… mission accomplished.
And how long does it take to pull them together?
It always takes a long time. and it depends on the song and production needs. Most of the time we’ve re-created songs from nothing but a blank session. Lyrics have to be written, changed, recording takes place, then video concept, filming, editing, VFX. It’s too hard to pinpoint a definite length. We could probably knock one out in about three to four weeks if we could work on it full time, but that’d be a lot of work for all. Typically, it’s in maybe two- to four-month intervals, but regardless of the time, as an audio engineer, it has to sound good!
Which one has been your favorite?
I think my favorite has yet to be released! We have some pretty sweet ideas that I’m excited to do, which involves probably a lot more in the film production. But I think I enjoyed Demoted the most, just because I love the tension between all the characters, and the original song itself. But not to say I don’t absolutely enjoy the other ones, because they were just as fun to make.
How easy is it for artists and audio engineers to find work in Cayman?
I wouldn’t say it’s easy at all. Starting off, I wouldn’t have made it, and still don’t know if I’ve “made it,” but I’ve had support from family and friends, and it helps tremendously. I’m sure all those who are artists know the struggles of being in music. It’s completely changed and you have to adapt. But if it’s something you want to do, you put your mind to it and you always improve upon yourself. You’ll get noticed and you can make it.
For audio engineers, I’m not even too sure. I feel like right now I’m one in a few that are here who are actually doing more dedicated field recording as a profession, I’ve been investing time and money to educate myself and into the right equipment. With that, I’ve been able to make connections with the film guys here, such as Rob Tyler, Sean Bodden, Froggy Gonzalez, Badire Awe, Emma Gladstone, Martin Bilsborough, Michel Pacifico, some international crews from all around the globe. I’m very fortunate to do so.
What would improve life for the creative community?
I guess support from the community would help improve. Oh, and funding! Funding would definitely help the creative community and a lot of people out there. Typically, with more funds comes higher production value and increased talent. It also gives people a feeling of self worth. But other artists here will know, you can’t depend on it, or you’ll never get anything done!
What is your ultimate ambition?
I think there are many things that I’d like to accomplish, and some of them are kind of random… but, I’d like to have a recording studio in the Brac, be able to travel around the world with my ENG (electronic news gathering), or EFP (electronic field production) gear and get some work done there (preferably in interesting and exotic places!) Keep making YouTube videos and get those views past a million on a single one, even though collectively I’ve had over 1 million collective views from all the videos I’ve been involved with.
Get my brother William McTaggart to charter a plane around the Caribbean, then world, and hit up some surf spots with my closest friends. Keep Flipside Productions and Bausmod growing and improving, and find simple ways to give back to the community and provide opportunity to others, whether it be in sports, gaming, music, film or something that is just cool and creative.
It seems like people these days get all the help in banking and accounting from major corporations, that the majority of people don’t necessarily get to do what they dream of or love doing.
If someone has talent, they should be given the opportunity.