R.A.P. Interview: Dave Oliwa & Rob Eads

Dave Oliwa & Rob Eads, Owners of MultiMusic, Dallas, Texas -- "From Radio to Recording Studio"

by Jerry Vigil

It's a production person's dream: One day you go to work, give your resignation, and begin a successful business of your own, doing what you do best for yourself, not someone else. Many dream about it, a few wake up and pull it off. Last year, Dave woke up. Leaving the halls of radio stations behind, Dave Oliwa teamed up with Rob Eads and created Multimusic! (! is part of name) Radio And Production takes a look at this new company. We look at how it started, what it did, and how it's doing now; and we dedicate this month's interview to those of you tired of dreaming.

R.A.P. Give us your background, Dave.
Dave: I started out as a small white baby in radio, ripping wires in the newsroom for ABC Network when I was 14. I lied about my age to get a job there. Then I started working at little radio stations across the country, putting in years and years of sitting in the little production room, talking to myself and a microphone. I worked in Newark, NJ; Monmouth, IL; Galesburg, IL; and Peoria, where I was the #1 afternoon drive disc jockey for 3 years. I then moved to Dallas where I've been for the last 8 years.

R.A.P. What took you Dallas?
Dave: Well, my strength all along has been production, and I was really interested in sound effects. The reason I moved to Dallas was to create digitally encoded sound effects for video games. I thought I was going to get out of radio. Apollo Video Games moved me to Dallas. 
At that time the idea of digital was far off in the distance. There was no one in the United States doing digital recording. The only people doing that were in England, so I guess I was one of the first people that thought digital could work this way. I wanted to put sound effects on video games and store them digitally in the game cartridge. At that time the game artridge just had instructions for the computer, and the computer generated the sounds. So I moved to Dallas and the company that hired me went out of business a month and a half later. It was back to radio.

I went directly to KRLD, which is an all news station, and strangely enough, I started doing news. I did that for about 3 years. Then channel 4, the CBS affiliate, hired me away to be their Assignment Editor. I stayed there for a year and then went back to KRLD. I was there for a year more and said to myself, "This is ridiculous; I'm in Dallas, the jingle capitol of the world!" When I was Production Director, I thought the "in" thing to do was to produce jingles. So I decided it was about time I made some jingles.

R.A.P. Rob, what were you doing during this time?
Rob: Well, I played in a lot of bands. I graduated with a music composition degree from East Texas State University and I landed a job with a programming and production company in Dallas called PAPA; Programming And Production Associates. I worked there for years doing jingles, commercial production, and things of that nature. I met Dave about 4 years ago when he was doing some voice work with us, and we started a friendship. We talked about getting together and starting our own company.

R.A.P. Are you a musician as well, Dave?
Dave: I've played piano since I was three and a half.

R.A.P. Where did the idea to create Multimusic come from?
Rob: David told me about an idea, when we first met, to produce a collection of Christmas production music beds for radio stations because there were none available, or very few available. We thought there was definitely a hole in the market.

Dave: Every single year, around Christmas time, I realized there was never enough Christmas music. Every single year I had to flip through albums, make beds, and do all the stuff everyone else was doing. I had talked to friends at TM and Jams and said, "Hey, you guys should come up with some kind of Christmas music library". They all said, "No, no. It's too much trouble and nobody would buy anything like that". So it was a matter of putting it together ourselves.

We thought it would be a good idea to find an electronic music studio, manufacture the beds, then put out an album our-selves. It was too much of an investment to get the musicians together, score it out, and get the studio time, but with today's technology of electronic music studios, there was no reason why it couldn't be accomplished with electronic keyboards.

R.A.P. So how did the idea become a reality?
Dave: We found a guy that had an electronic music studio and told him we wanted to do this. He was real interested. So, when we started up, we did it part time. Rob was still working and I was still working. Then I quit KRLD. Rob's company went through a change and he left there, and we all started working on it full time.

R.A.P. How long did it take you to finish the album?
Dave: We started working on "Holiday Hot Cuts" last August. We made a demo before we finished all the cuts, and then printed an ad on a card and sent the card and an Evatone sound sheet of the demo to every radio station in the country. We continued to work on the cuts after the demo had been mailed. We finished pressing the discs at the end of September.

R.A.P. One would expect an album of Christmas production music to contain renditions of standard Christmas tunes. What made you decide to do original music?
Dave: Every other Christmas music bed that we had seen was some old standard simply set to a disco beat. We though it didn't necessarily have to be a Christmas song as long as it sounded "Christmasy".

So we sat down and figured out what makes Christmas music sound like Christmas music, and we wrote some of our own.