Studio Visit: Silas Hite
Inside the award-winning composer and visual artist's creative space
by Mya Stark
Minds that are equally as agile in the realms of art and music are rare, but not unheard of. While most of the examples are musicians who dabble in visual art, there's the odd one like Tony Bennett whose paintings are in the collection of the Smithsonian Institute, or the distinctive bands who started in art school, like DEVO.
Silas Hite—a Los Angeles-based illustrator and composer of music for motion pictures—shares a few similarities with those previously named. The work of Hite and his peers may make a case for this kind of audio-visual bilingualism as either a heritable boost in creativity, or perhaps the devolution to an infantile, synesthetic state of mind.
After completing a degree in art, music composition and business in Arizona, Hite began his career as an intern at Mark Mothersbaugh's Mutato Muzika and spent seven years there, working his way up to composer status for video games, commercials and films before striking out on his own.
His music work has been nominated for an Emmy and snagged him a Cyber Gold Lion at Cannes (for Burger King's Subservient Chicken—the suitably weird mid-2000s RoosterCam), a Grand Effie Award and Adweek's Spot of the Year. His music is most likely to have found its way into your subconscious via the famed Apple "Mac vs. PC" campaign, "The Sims," or even "Keeping Up with the Kardashians"—if you're willing to admit that.
Most recently, Hite has been scoring interesting documentaries, like "The Invention of Dr. Nakamats" and the newly-released "Mr. Bitchin," a tender telling of the story of artist Robert Williams—hippie, hot rodder, conceptual realist and founder of JUXTAPOZ.
In the midst of all that, he has always made time to pick up a pen. In addition to showing his work at numerous LA-area galleries, Hite is an illustrator for LA RECORD, an underground chronicle of the music scene, which seems to perfectly combine his abilities and passions. Hite works from a home studio tucked away in the hills of LA's Glassell Park, which also contains his collection of vintage and analog instruments, and serves as a recording studio for scores and his two bands, Thunderdikk and Hellbeast of the Night. Hite's visually minimalist space houses the simple sight of potential sounds, a perfect abode for the resonant mind.
Hite most recently scored director Jonn Hershend's San Francisco MoMA-commissioned "Stories from the Evacuation," and created music for Tauba Auerbach's issue of "The Thing."
Images by Sarah Newby
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