Chris Atkins is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of WithFeeling. In the music industry, creativity is a must, and Chris is a person full of creativity. He has extensive experience as a senior music producer and is also an award-winning multi-media specialist.
Our interview will teach us more about Chris, WithFeeling, and their Sonic Branding. We first asked Chris about the idea behind his company.
“What’s the idea behind WithFeeling?” We asked
“At WithFeeling, we design sound and create music to spark engagement, performance, and connection between people and organizations.
We believe that sound is another language to tell a story; another medium of painting a space; another tool to connect people, immerse them in your story and vibrate with their emotions.” said Chris.
We also learned how their Sonic Branding strategy aims to fuel business growth. They use the elemental power of music to create a sound specific to a brand. They believe in creating sonic identities and audio that can amplify or enhance a brand’s values.
Continuing further, we asked Chris to share his journey with us.
The Career’s Commencement
Everyone has a starting point, and so does Chris. That’s why we asked him, “How did you begin your career journey? Do you have some advice for beginners?”
He says, “I joke with people that I basically do now what I did way back as a 14-year-old kid in my bedroom, which was a bit of music, a bit of sound design, a bit of graphic design, a bit of filmmaking, and a bit of management. The only difference now is that I can charge people for it.
I studied Music Technology at Bedford College in the UK. I was a very average student at school, but when I discovered my passion, I really shone in college and won student of the year. And I think it was also due to having a brilliant relationship with my tutor John Verity. We are still great friends to this day, he really inspired and encouraged me, and I owe him a lot. It was through his contact that I got my first job in Dubai.”
He further continues:
“Before I got on the plane to Dubai, I worked as a runner/assistant engineer at Strongroom Studios in London. I worked for free, which meant I had to work evenings and weekends in a bar for many years, but I honestly didn’t care. I was so happy to be in a proper recording studio during the day rubbing shoulders with the industry’s top talent. It wasn’t glamorous, though. I would clean the studio cat’s litter tray, make coffees, get people’s lunch, clean the studios, etc. But I was then quickly trusted to set up microphones and guitar amps and then onto audio editing.
I would also offer to design the engineers’ and mixers’ websites, again, practically for free, but I then had the leverage to interact more with them, and they would spend more time teaching me things. At Strongroom, I basically learned “studio etiquette.” I would say that a good, hardworking attitude and nice personality is 90%, and talent is 10%.”
We also asked him if he had any advice for beginners. He replied, “My advice for any young person is to just do what makes you happy. We have a very short life. Follow your passion, and don’t think about the money or career path because all that will follow.”
“What’s the goal of Your Company?” We asked Chris.
He continues, “I have always been quite an ambitious, positive, and ‘glass-half-full’ type of person! I really don’t see the point in dreaming of mediocrity. Further, I want WithFeeling to be the world’s biggest and best entertainment company. I want everyone who works at the company to express themselves, feel valued and be happy.”
Teamwork and Business Success
To begin with teamwork, we asked Chris about his views on a successful team.
“I think I was guilty of staying in my previous company way too long (16 years). It’s easy to look back now at where I was and see that I wasn’t growing anymore and needed to better myself.
My life totally changed when I joined Expo 2020 Dubai. I feel I leveled up significantly. It was my first experience working in a large organization, surrounded by brilliant, smart colleagues at the top of their game. The leadership at Expo was some of the most inspiring and kind people I ever had the pleasure to meet.
I look up at Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy like a total rock star. She inspired and got the best out of everyone. She overcame adversity during covid times to deliver the iconic mega event and did it all with grace. I believe that she is a very special person. She led by example and treated everyone with respect, she would remember everyone’s name, and we were a team of over 1500 people, and it didn’t matter if she met a president that day or bumped into one of the cleaners. She treated everyone equally, and I love that.
Suppose everyone in an organization feels valued, motivated and inspired. In that case, only success can follow because everyone’s energy is up, everyone is positive, which breeds collaboration and everyone works towards the same goal. So when it comes to WithFeeling, I can only do my best and try and follow how Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy led the team at Expo.” he says.
We further asked him, “What keeps WithFeeling moving forward even during challenges?”
He says, “It’s been important for me to put a team in place with its own individual strengths. We are diverse in age, background, and experience. The thing which I said a lot to the team, in the beginning was that we are stronger together, and there’s no challenge we can’t overcome when we come together.”
Digitalization And Constant Evolution Of Business
We believe that technology and digitization play a crucial role in shaping different industries nowadays. To know if the same is going on with WitFeeling, we asked Chris, “How do you think technology is leading to changes in businesses? Do you feel it’s helping Your Company grow?”
Chris replies, “The stages are constantly evolving. When I mean stages, I mean how content is consumed. When I was a kid, I would listen to my favorite Oasis cassette tape on a Sony walkman with bad headphones. Now I can listen to the same music in Dolby Atmos. I can often recall watching a brilliant movie and completely forget if I saw it on a plane on a small screen and terrible sound, or at home on Netflix, or at a massive IMAX cinema with amazing sound. I feel people forget the device but don’t forget the story. So yes, we have to think about where things are played in terms of levels and formats, but it all means nothing if the content has no soul.”
Another question we were curious about was: “Do you use innovative ideas to be unique?”
With that, Chris replies, “I want WithFeeling to disrupt where we can. It’s always good to shake up old ways of thinking and working. I want us to always strive to do things a bit better than our competitors but also do them differently. At the end of the day, being great at what you do and being unique simply adds value.”
Would you like to say anything else to our viewers?
‘Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it! Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it. ‘” The quote is from W.H. Murray, in The Scottish Himalayan Expedition, 1951.
The Power Of Music And Sound
We asked Chris about the services of his company. He continues:
“WithFeeling is proud to recently create and deliver the audio strategy for Expo City Dubai. It is the first city in the world to harness the power of sound to enhance visitors’ experience and its workers’ wellness. We are already working with other clients to offer the same sound experiences in other parts of the world. It’s an exciting time!
Original music compositions are as important as the graphical universe that makes up a brand. When customized to a particular brand, music and lyrics become a powerful instrument to tell your story in a deeply emotional and connecting way. Without sound, no experience is complete. We create original music to enrich all types of physical and digital content and experiences.
Music for Events
Music and sound for the big stage. Events are where everything comes together, with the opportunity to build stronger connections with participants and audiences. From conferences to performances, large or small, we have a proven track record of producing music, sound design, and voiceovers for a wide range of events in the Gulf region and beyond.
We have extensive expertise in the many different layers that make up an event, and we ensure that all aspects of music, sound design, and voice are fully considered and consistent with each other and your brand.”
Connect with Chris Atkins on LinkedIn