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July 06, 2022 | Tom Ballard

Harmonic HQ “taking an old technique and giving it a new birth”

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is another article in a series spotlighting participants in the most recent edition of the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center’s “What’s the Big Idea?” pitch competition.)

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

“We’re taking an old technique and giving it a new birth,” Tim Woody says in describing Harmonic HQ, a start-up that he has launched with Sydney Buckner.

Billed as KnoxHarmonic when the duo competed in early March in the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center’s “What’s the Big Idea?” pitch competition, the start-up draws on the complementary skills of the two Co-Founders. Buckner is a high school science teacher, singer, songwriter and poet, while Woody is a classical and contemporary music composer/arranger, studio recording engineer, and music director for a local church. Both also play the guitar.

“Tim’s helping to record one of my songs,” Buckner told us during a recent interview, adding, “I wanted it to sound bigger than Bonnie Raitt.”

In his pitch during the Sunday night “What’s the Big Idea?” event, Woody decried the fact that “the sounds of orchestras are in danger and the finest musicians are losing their jobs.” To address that reality, he said that Harmonic HQ is focused on providing what he called collaboration, community and revenue opportunities for classical musicians, matching both composers and performers.

The duo elaborated on that emphasis during our follow-up interview with Woody explaining that “it is more than classical; it’s the sound of the orchestra.” As he described that emphasis, it brought to mind the “Wall of Sound” that was created in the 1960s by music producer Phil Spector. Woody immediately affirmed the point, noting that the unusually dense orchestral aesthetic was achieved in conjunction with Jack Nitzsche, Spector’s arranger and conductor.

In explaining the genesis of Harmonic HQ, Woody told us that he “wanted to write orchestral music and to do it, I would have to hire an orchestra. That’s too expensive.” So, he devised a streamlined process as an option for young composers and musicians to find viable work, particularly during times like the COVID-19 pandemic that shutdown so many venues and orchestras.

Today, Woody and Buckner are focused on developing the Harmonic HQ production platform and online community that will combine two key skillsets: (1) audio editing and recording; and (2) the traditional work of sheet music composers.

“We can take recordings made elsewhere and blend them using our method,” Woody said.

The team is also further developing the start-up’s go to market strategy including participating in the CO.STARTERS program and drawing on the knowledge and experience of  Anthony Ragland, their lead mentor.

“He’s been a huge help and is continuing to work with us,” Woody said.

Harmonic HQ is also seeking investors, Buckner added.

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