2 Minutes With ... Sam Spiegel, Partner and ECD at Squeak E. Clean Studios

On 'Fire Sign,' The 'N.A.S.A.' Project and Donald Glover

Music producer, composer, DJ and director Sam Spiegel founded and serves as ECD at music company Squeak E. Clean. In that capacity, Sam has scored spots for Nike, Cadillac, Adidas and Honda. Most recently, "Mutant Brain" for Kenzo World earned him industry acclaim and rose to number two on the Spotify global viral chart. He has also scored films such as Spike Jonze's Yeah Right!, Jackass 3D, Pretty Things (an HBO documentary) and Whip It.

We spent two minutes with Sam to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations and recent work he's admired.

Sam, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in New York (Manhattan) and I spent junior high and high school in Westchester County. Now Hollywood has been my home for 20 years.

Your earliest musical memory.

Singing along to a Beach Boys tape that we got at a truck stop in the car with my mom.

Your favorite bands/musicians today.

James Brown is my favorite of all time, but I'm also really loving Flume and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Kanye West used to be one of my favs.

One of your favorite projects you've ever worked on. 

The "N.A.S.A." project was all passion and very conceptual. I got to work with many of my musical heroes, in addition to my visual artist heroes. We created videos for each song and I had the opportunity to partner with Kanye West, David Bryne, Tom Waits, Shephard Fairey, Marcel Dzama and a bunch of other artists that I love. Very multi-medium. Very collaborative.

A recent project you're proud of. 

I recently shot a music video in India for the track "Fire Sign" from my new project TRY, which was an amazing experience. I was able to direct the video, and I always enjoy being a part of both the music and the visuals. I love dance, travel, shooting, collaboration and meeting people through creative projects, so all of the aspects of this one were pretty amazing. The team that we worked with in India was amazing, and being able to do it with my partners Shmuck the Loyal and Mikky Ekko really made this project check all the boxes. I was very happy with the end product.

One thing about how the music world is evolving that you're excited about.

I love how easy it is for anyone to make music now and how it evens the playing field. It also democratizes the culture, so anyone with talent can create something and get it out to people. If it's great, people will find it and like it. Anyone can have a career in music in a way that wasn't possible before.

Someone else's work, in music or beyond, that you admired lately.

I really admire Donald Glover's work. I like his creative vision that spans various mediums. All of his music, film and television work has an intriguing style and perspective.

A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.

I just read "Klara and the Sun" by Kazuo Ishiguro. The book centers around a robot toy and the author explains how the toy is feeling, but really is showing an innate understanding of human emotion.

An artist you admire outside the world of music.

I recently got to go see an architectural tour of John Lautner and be in several of his houses and I really admire him and his vision. It's a totally unique, and yet functional and comfortable, vision that no one else shares. His buildings are very future-looking and nonconformist but have a humanity to them. I'm wishing there was some architecture as ground-breaking as that happening in our culture now, but I just haven't really seen it.

Your favorite fictional character.

Chance, the gardener from the movie Being There. I love him because he is so simple and has such a beautiful take on the world.

Someone worth following on social media.

Check out Enbiggen on Instagram. This guy does thematic Rube Goldbergs with chimes that are thematically inspired by certain movies. As the balls roll down, they sound chimes to play a certain movie theme.

Your main strength as a marketer/creative.

Having a vision of greatness for the big picture and making sure that every single detail is perfect to follow through with the vision.

Your biggest weakness.

Taking too many things on at the same time.

Something people would find surprising about you.

I cry a lot. From movies, life, music—really anything.

One thing that always makes you happy.

My son's laugh.

One thing that always makes you sad.

Animals dying in movies.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in the music business.

I would be a topiary artist.

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

Jessica MacAulay
Jessica MacAulay is a contributor for Muse by Clio. She's also a recent graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder's College of Media, Communication, and Information.

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