Schtung Music Ltd. is a full service music production and audio facility providing soundtracks and album tracks for the advertising, film and record industries.
The company has built a reputation on sourcing imaginative composers and arrangers to create tracks and ensuring that the right talent are there to sing and play on them.
This has resulted in Schtung picking up numerous awards – Clios from New York, Lions from Cannes and pieces of paper from the London Festival . . .
Through constantly having to find the best artists available for commercial soundtracks that might require a string quartet, Chinese orchestra, hip hip or rock and roll, the regional Schtung network continues to grow as an A&R (Artist & Repertoire) source, attracting new talent and broadening musical horizons.
As an independent musical ‘homebase’ for artists across the region, Schtung is in an ideal position to match new talent with projects and also to bring established artists together with clients or potential partners.
Who We Are
SCHTUNG MUSIC has been recognized over the years with awards from London, New York, Cannes, Hong Kong and Singapore as specialists when it comes to fusing Asian and Western musical elements in or original works.
The SCHTUNG group is a company with a strong sense of fun and creative spirit running through everything we do, from daily business in the offices, to creating soundtracks in the studios, to our corporate philosophy.
Original music is in our DNA.
The partners who founded the company in the early eighties are both composers and songwriters and over three decades the Schtung Group has evolved into an extended ‘virtual band’ of writers, arrangers and producers from different countries, all leaders in their respective musical fields.
The key to Schtung’s longevity and continued reputation for innovation is being able to call on the talents of the right people at the right time for the right project. It’s that simple.
Many music companies are owner operated or retain salaried writers but in this day and age this approach can impose its own creative constraints so we have made a conscious effort to be flexible, to mix and match, to experiment when it comes to creating a team for any given project.
The fact that many Schtung writers are also multi-instrumentalists and as adept at arranging and programming as composing affords us flexibility and an open collaborative spirit that leads to a project becoming more than the sum of its parts.
Schtung also draws on the talents of a handful of highly sought after lyricists for English, Mandarin and Cantonese work, all with solid credentials in the music and advertising industry.
The Company’s origins lie in mid-seventies New Zealand and a rock band formed by Morton Wilson and Andrew Hagen, curiously named “SCHTUNG”, which released one album in New Zealand before splitting up. After setting up Hagen & Wilson Music, our two intrepid co-founders soon found that they were Schtuck with the name SCHTUNG, which was how all their clients referred to them, and the name crossed the ocean with them to Hong Kong in 1982. It was in this vibrant city of sights and sounds that the SCHTUNG family really started to grow. The rest, as they say, is music history.
Schtung performed at the legendary Nambassa festival in 1978 & 79, and can be glimpsed in documentary Nambassa Festival — they also provided music for a scene featuring dance troupe Limbs.
Lineup changes left the band in disarray, and they broke up in 1979. It wasn't over for Hagen and Wilson, though. The pair were already creating music for film, advertising and documentaries, enabling them to pursue fulltime music careers.
In 1979 they worked on groundbreaking gay feature Squeeze, and then had a major break, composing the music for the Sam Pillsbury-directed 'The Scarecrow', the first Kiwi feature officially invited to Cannes. The pair worked with jazz pianist Phil Broadhurst; horns, keyboards and strings helped colour the film’s winning mixture of menace, mirth and nostalgia. With tax breaks for locally shot features ending, and a steep tax on imported recording equipment, it felt like a good time for Hagen and Wilson to explore new pastures.
The pair departed for Hong Kong in 1982 and, within a month of their arrival, were composing the soundtrack for action movie 'Aces Go Places II', which became the year’s biggest local hit. Making a living in Hong Kong as film composers was a challenge and after a few months the pair were literally days from flying home before being asked to pitch demos for three TV commercials for Ogulvy & Mather. They won all three accounts (Korean Air, Chivas Regal and Eveready) and better days followed, with the pair becoming a fixture in the Asian ad biz, opening studios in Kennedy Rd. and bringing more composers on board. They also found time in the 80s to provide scores for three more features from down under: Sam Pillsbury's road movie 'Starlight Hotel', synth-heavy borstal drama 'Kingpin', and odd couple story 'Daisy and Simon', directed by one of Hong Kong's leading directors, Stasch Radwanski (the pair had done award winning work with Stasch for Cathay Pacific and a host of other clients). The 'Daisy and Simon' soundtrack was nominated for Best Soundtrack in the 1988 Australian Film Institute Awards.
In 1991 Hagen decided it was time to see if he could make it with “the big boys in Los Angeles”. Leaving Wilson to oversee Asian operations, Hagen established Schtung America in the seaside city of Santa Monica. He lucked into an empty THX sound studio and was soon scoring documentaries, channel identification music for broadcasters (including the launch of Al Jazeera) and international film trailers, House of Flying Daggers among them. In 1999 Hagen designed and constructed a new multi-studio facility, including a Dolby approved 5:1 mixing suite. By 2004, as scoring work began declining thanks partly to the growth of music libraries, Hagen was developing his skill set further as a sound designer and audio postproduction supervisor on varied projects, including restoring a collection of unheard Sammy Davis Jr. recordings, later archived at the US Library of Congress.
Back in Asia Schtung went from strength to strength.
The early 90's were, in many ways, 'the glory days' for the ad industry in the lead up to the handover - Britain's departure from the scene and HK becoming a part of China.
The agency business fractured somewhat post 1997. Up until then most agencies had their Regional Office base in HK (as did many multi-national companies and broadcasters) but with HK's transition to a SAR, many agencies relocated their teams to Shanghai and those that did not have major Chinese clients moved to Singapore. Agency clients asked Schtung to set up 'on the ground' and the company obliged.
The landmark Kennedy Road location in HK Mid-Levels established in 1986 already housed four studios, with a team of five composers. Schtung Singapore had already opened in 1992 in a heritage site shop-house in Amoy Street with three studios, and Schtung Shanghai duly opened in 1999, with 2 studios in Fuxing Lu.
All three studios were busy, with composers travelling between locations for some projects, but as the post-production side of things matured in Singapore and Shanghai the commercial soundtrack business shifted from one where agency creatives, film directors and clients expected to sit in on recording and mix sessions, to one where tracks were simply sent to the post-production house online. This, coupled with the fact that most composers now had pro quality Logic, Cubase and/or ProTools rigs at home, meant the need for studios in different cities had fallen off to a point where the company consolidated with just the HK studio, while retaining connections with Schtung composers in Singapore and Shanghai.
In 2002 Schtung HK was joined by London based producer, Ian Widgery. He and Morton worked on some remix work for EMI (Human League, David Bowie) and then produced the multi platinum album 'The Original Shanghai Divas Redefined' - remixes of 1930's torch songs from Shanghai.
This shift to album production saw Wilson producing a host of albums for fashion and lifestyle brands, drawing on an ever increasing pool of composers, including Johnny Yim & Allan Lau, and other 'repats' from Canada, culminating in the company branching out into Artiste Management with singer / songwriter (and film composer) Wendyz Zheng.