KAPOW! ZAP! WHAM! | Skyline

If its fun to make then go for it. That was pretty much the slogan for this project and I loved it.

This team was amazing to work with, it was all about just go with what was enjoyable and it was the best motto to go by with an animation like this. The artwork is bright, the story is fun and exciting and ends a little differently than you would expect.

So as you know I worked on this with my wonderful partner in crime, Tom Weale of Weale music….keeping it weale, and it was awesome to mix our ideas. If you’ve listened to any of my standard work you’ll notice I normally go ambiance and centered around drones, overall electronic creations….but Tom tends to mix more of an orchestral way, amazing at writing that Hanz Zimmer style sound, in particular for Strings. So mixed together? I think it worked out pretty well.

We definitely knew we needed a techno style beat to enter when the fight starts, for when the ‘Monkey’ gets hit in the stomach. Create that rising tension, the feeling of ‘Who’s going to win?’.

I had a shot at it first, creating the ambiance and flowing textures to fill out the sound a bit. It gave us a good starting point to layer the textures onto.

I also had a play around with the Native instrument Stormdrum Dragon hits, to get the pace of the piece working correctly. For me it’s always vital to get the pace correct at the start, getting the tempo and beat of your notes is a start but keep checking. You don’t want to leave this to the end and have to rush through getting all the notes sounding in time with each other, it’ll do your head in.

Section by section. It can really help when you’re trying to get the sound right, and also helps you to see how man layers are needed. For example in this piece…

 

 

 

You can see that at the beginning it mainly drones and longer notes to get that base rise going as the characters are ‘introduced’. This piece didn’t need that punchy huge sound at the beginning, you can’t start with everything playing at once! Where would you build up from?

Next is the second section, the rise. The electronic sounds start to vary and second violin sounds layer them, looping the same rhythm but doubling in octaves or harmony.

When it gets the fight, we let the beat take pride of place and get the second rise of the piece started. The next 8 bars of tension as the audience feel unsure of whats going on in the scene. Bass rhythms keep the drive going and Choir, Strings, Brass and Ambiance pads start this legato sliding upward scale, creating those dissonant clashing sounds you might be able to pick out

BLAM! The next rise hits as it turns out maybe this job won’t be as easy as he thought! This is where everything comes in along with the addition of our electric guitar. It’s a build, but also a balance.

It’s a build, but also a balance. You cant add too many, a project with 10 layers of refined sound can sound miles better than a project with 100 layers all muddying as a final sound. Choose your sounds wisely, it’s not a competition of how many tracks you can build! If you don’t need a new sound but can use a pre-existing track sound in a different way then do! Add a new effect to brighten a particular quality or to give your piece an underlying drive to the ending point.

Sometimes what you’ve composed is perfect but the sound doesn’t fit. We changed our sounds about 20 times whenever we made an edit because all that was needed was a fresh sound to mix a little better with what we had written that day.

Don’t be afraid to change from your first draft, keep developing it and deleting a track might free up space for a different sound to filter through that you forgot you had. If you’re worried it will go wrong? Back up with different project files! Then you can compare the sound you had yesterday with what you create today. It really helps you define which sound you’re looking for.

Did you catch the Wilhelm Scream? I’m sorry….it just had to be done. I couldn’t help myself.

Want to know more or think I could have done something different? Comment below or send me a message!

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