Founded by Executive Creative Director Clemente Bornacelli, Executive Producer Martin Estrada, and Musical Director Devin Hoffman, Mean Machine Music is unique in its approach to creating original compositions. The team works closely with a network of professional musicians and producers, including Martin and Devin, to deliver scores that are authentic, rich in substance, and memorable. 


Executive Producer Martin Estrada’s collaborations with top artists like Selena Gomez and Lady Gaga highlight the caliber of talent that Mean Machine Music brings to the table. Martin’s work with Selena Gomez showcased his versatility as a musician, while his performance with Lady Gaga at the 95th Academy Awards, where they performed the Oscar-nominated “Hold My Hand,” is a testament to the world-class level of musicianship that is a hallmark of Mean Machine Music.


“We are trying to disrupt a long-standing process that is completely ineffective and closed off to most,” says Clemente. “There are so many amazing artists in LA, and many of them find it hard to make ends meet; they have never had access to this large pool of money. Martin and Devin’s music career gives us access to a vast roster of professional touring/recording musicians and producers, making our music truly special in quality and sound.”


With a catalog of compositions that has been heard by millions of people globally, Mean Machine Music has worked with top consumer brands, including Apple, Google, Nike, and many more. Their latest project includes a score for Grey Goose, which recently launched.


“Additionally, my background as a creative director in advertising and a musician uniquely positions me to bridge the gap between Film and Music. I can translate between the ‘let’s make it pop’ ad speak and the ‘let’s hit them with a killer bassline’ musician lingo. It’s like being fluent in two languages that are convinced they’re speaking Klingon to each other. So, we created an easier way for filmmakers and agencies to get high-quality music and provide artists with a new revenue stream.”


For more information about Mean Machine Music and to hear some of their compositions, visit

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Founders of the LA-based music company Mean Machine speak to LBB’s Ben Conway about bridging the gap between creatives and musicians and keeping ego out of the process.


A creative director, a touring musician and a composer walk into a bar… well, a sushi restaurant to be precise.

Clemente Bornacelli, executive creative director at Mean Machine, had been a creative director in advertising for 15 years when he joined forces with his now partners at the LA-based music company. A family connection put him in touch with executive producer Martin Estrada, who in turn brought musical director Devin Hoffman into the fold - and after a few hours trading war stories over some raw fish, the idea for Mean Machine was born.

During his time at BBDO, TBWA Chiat/Day, Deutsch, Mother and elsewhere, Clemente had noticed that music was consistently a sticking point in the ad making process. A CalArts student for several years with experience in bands and producing music before ever entering adland, the language of music came naturally to him, but he witnessed many of his creative contemporaries struggle.

“Creatives don't really ‘speak music’ and music [people] don't ‘speak creative’. It's this whole thing,” he says. “Creatives speak in reference language. They won't be able to tell you, ‘I want this thing to be up-tempo or syncopated or that it needs a minor chord’. They’ll say, ‘a ‘90s, Hans Zimmer vibe with a crescendo and an epic driving beat’. You have to be able to take that direction, and turn it into a musical formula.”

This frustration and friction between creatives and musicians then would often result in a rushed or incomplete track.

“Things get lost in translation all the time,” confirms Devin. “From a musician’s standpoint, you’re being asked: ‘Can we make this [song] a little bit greener?’ or ‘We want this to feel more like flowers’... I don’t know what that means! So you’re just throwing darts at the wall trying to understand and translate. Some folks, with enough experience, can start figuring that out, but no matter what, without some sort of true translation, it's really hard to get on the same page. That creates a lot of frustration on both sides.”


After years of seeing time and money being wasted this way, and many disgruntled musicians, Clemente teamed up with Martin and Devin to provide an alternative - a company that could speak both the languages of creative and music, and that would prioritise musicians working in the genres that they’re experts in.

Being active musicians, Martin - a sought-after guitarist and producer who’s worked with Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder and more - and Devin -  an acclaimed composer, producer, bassist and mixer, previously in rock band Awolnation - could pool their networks of musicians for Mean Machine’s rolodex of talent. This combines with Clemente, their bilingual bridge between the music and advertising worlds.

“None of us had met anybody like that before,” says Devin of Clemente. “As a result, everybody goes home happier. The composers and producers that we bring in feel better about what they did, and what they did was easier to accomplish because there wasn't so much guessing. The product just seems to be better because it takes less work, and when there’s less push and pull, you're more inspired.”

He continues, “That’s the currency of what we do - so much of it is inspiration. If you burn all that up trying to just talk about it and get to the bottom of what both sides want, by the end, there's none left. We’re trying to keep that currency in everybody's pockets to the end of the project.”

Working mostly with ad agencies, but also directly with a select group of production companies and brands like Twitch, the Mean Machinists have adopted a symbiotic dynamic where Devin and Martin are open to focus on the music production, while Clemente keeps his attention  on how the work serves the creatives and film itself.

Before they’ve even played a note, Clemente has had days of dialogue with the creatives, often curating a playlist to “paint the world of sound” to see what fits, or creating a preliminary edit of the spot with an existing song. Through these conversations, a lot of the guesswork is removed, and a narrower brief can be handed to the musicians, with specific pointers as to the ideal genre or tone. Clemente then breaks down the video, marking the timecode of each beat to create a roadmap for the composer to follow.

Devin and Martin then collaborate on the music side, bringing the right talent onto each project, or, if needed, jumping on the project themselves. “Everything's really streamlined by the time we get to actually playing the music. We're more than halfway there by that point,” says Clemente. “Then, it's just about artistry, creating something beautiful, and playing it to the best of their ability.”

He then assesses and fine-tunes the drafts for the ad context, before Devin’s final pass for mixing and mastering - and giving the files useful, and often punny, names - to ensure consistency across the deliverables. “Our clients should feel like it's a smooth process,” says Devin. “Which I think maybe our competitors aren't quite as in tune with.”

This refined process helps them stand out from the crowd, as well as their ability to communicate effectively from both sides of the music-creative divide - not to mention the nearly 200 professional musicians and producers they have on speed dial.

Being able to deploy a hip-hop specialist or classical music specialist, rather than rely on a limited talent roster of generalists, gives Mean Machine a significant advantage. “It allows us to give the client more options in a quicker amount of time, and spend less money for a higher quality product than if they did it the old fashioned way,” says Clemente.

Martin adds, “Devin and I are fully capable of making a few options, but it's so much more powerful to have say, 7-10. We really let the creativity flow and encourage it, within certain parameters.”


Together, the trio acts as a three-gate approval system - although the two musicians defer to Clemente for the final say on creative decisions.

“I guess you could say it's hard to get something to be included in a Mean Machine delivery, because there's so many goalies - and that's even before the client hears it,” says Devin. “But I think that keeps the quality as high as it possibly can be; so that everything in those deliveries, at the very least, is a quality piece of music that functions for what the client is looking for.”

Thanks to his close collaboration with the creatives, Clemente says he’s “close to 100% sure’”about what they want by the time the music is being made. “And, more importantly, I make them feel like they know what they want,” he adds. “We don't really insert our own opinion, but we know what good music sounds like. I understand if it works with the picture - if the emotion is correct, or if it's a little too dark or too happy or a little too cheesy. It's really more about moulding it and fine-tuning it more than agreeing or disagreeing creatively.”

Fortunately, creative disputes are few and far between for the trio, who have worked hard to prevent their own egos or personal musical sensibilities from interfering in the process. Removing oneself from the music is vital in the commercial music space, says Devin, who shares that most musicians struggle with this transition.

“It’s a very different thing from trying to make art,” he says. “You’re servicing and satisfying the project so it can sound, look and feel the best. We don’t send out work that someone’s ego or creative and music agenda has intoxicated.”

That’s not to say they restrict their talent’s creative expression. Early on, Clemente says that his creative director tendencies were to be overly specific and try to control the direction of everything. Working with Martin and Devin, he’s learned to let go of the reins.

“It’s an artist thing - their form of expression is music and I don't want to infringe on that in any way,” he says. “I want them to have the most freedom as they possibly can, while giving them that map to hit the beats when they're supposed to, to land the fruit at the end with a punch.”

This dynamic was fleshed out after the trio’s first project together, a short-form documentary titled ‘Walk with Us’ for surf therapy charity A Walk on Water. The chemistry was instantly felt, and continues as the team works with brands like Coca-Cola, Nike, Sonic and more today.

A recent project of pride was a Grey Goose campaign with MullenLowe. The director had a very specific vision, says Clemente - a ‘Peter and the Wolf’ idea where each instrument represented a character, enhanced their movement and influenced the choreography.

“It's very unusual to have the music before you have the film. So, there was a lot to figure out without even seeing a frame,” he says. “It was more like scoring a film, where you’re taking the storyboard and going back and forth with the director with references and ideas. We were able to serve them a track that they used on set, and then tweak it after the fact, so that was a really interesting way of working.”


Working with sportswear giant Nike has also been a fulfilling partnership for the team, especially the ‘What Are You Working on?’ series with The Springhill Company.

“They have a very specific and refined taste in music,” says Clemente. “Nike’s always trying to push the bar in that sense. We love working with them because they really push us sonically into finding unique sounds and compositions… Some episodes have Afrobeat, some have more ‘80s things, some have very classical orchestral pieces, so it's been a really fun project to basically use our entire roster on. We have to pull every single tool and trick out of our bag to compose those.”

Now that they’ve developed a strong reel together, Mean Machine is hopeful about growing its client base and spreading its already great reputation further afield as 2024 approaches. With Devin now based in New York, the East Coast has become a particular focus for the expansion of its client and talent relationships - as well as an exciting new venture, creating a curated library of “real songs by real artists” to connect more musicians with creatives.

Among all the exhilarating change, one thing remains constant, however. An annual trip to a sushi restaurant - albeit one with an added Michelin Star or two compared to their first meeting location, adds Devin: “It helps to remind us where we came from.”

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July 12, 2023


It was a wild ride, weaving melodies and rhythms that perfectly complemented the stunning visuals. Our team poured its heart and soul into creating a score embodying elegance and joie de vivre.”


LOS ANGELES, CA, UNITED STATES, July 11, 2023/ -- MEAN MACHINE’s executive creative director Clemente Bornacelli, executive producer Martin Estrada, and musical director Devin Hoffman, announced today the award-winning creative agency was selected to score the music for GREY GOOSE®’s latest product launch, a ready-to-serve martini cocktail in a bottle.

Dubbed the “Classic Martini Cocktail” by the premium vodka brand, MEAN MACHINE’s team produced original music scores for a series of spots, which were directed by award-nominated feature film director and photographer, Autumn de Wilde, who is best-known for her 2020 film debut, “Emma.” Also a renowned portraiture and commercial photographer, de Wilde has directed a series of short films for Prada's iconic Galleria bag, as well as directed five music videos for Florence + the Machine.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Autumn and MullenLowe on this campaign. It’s very fun and a true collaborative process,” says Bornacelli, an award-winning creative director. The first advert – Grey Goose Vodka: Voilà! Now You See Me – opens up with a man in blue in a fully white room with blue podiums and decorations. From there a martini glass is shown and (the magician) covers it with a matching blue silk handkerchief. When he pulls it up, the GREY GOOSE® "Classic Martini Cocktail" bottle magically appears.

The spot, which will run through December, has been featured on Conde Nast sites and social media platforms in 20 markets. The campaign also includes print ads in various publications, including “Wine Spectator.”


MEAN MACHINE not only scored the project from beginning to end but developed the music in collaboration With the Director, agency creatives and its network of musicians.

“This was very much a creative partnership. We wanted it to feel like short stories, with each character having its own identity but keeping the campaign cohesive at the same time. We settled on an Orchestral composition with a Big Band slant. We needed it to sound whimsical and premium, so impeccable musicianship and timing was extremely important” explains Hoffman, an acclaimed composer, producer, bassist, and mixer. “Our expertise in a nutshell is that the music Mean Machine creates is something that feels true to the product, that feels real, and that’s because the music is created by real musicians who create music for a living, who are experts at their craft.”

news feed C recently featured the company, touting it as its "High Five" of the week. The feature showcased MEAN MACHINE’s five best works, READ THE ARTICLE HERE.