Sounds Like These

Behind The Sounds – Tend

Tend is an expertly animated, heartfelt story that is beautifully told by our talented friends at Animade, so you can imagine our excitement when they approached us to create the music and sound design (there was excitement). They gave us a brief with three main aims:

– To emphasise the emotion running through the story
– To give depth to the fictional world
– To add character & expression to our protagonists and objects, without dialogue (huh?)

Come with us on a magical journey as we take you through a few of the ways we approached these wonderful objectives…

Music & Sound Design Crossover

We decided that the sound effects needed to be musical or at least tonal, and vice versa. Any music should meld into the sound-world. We wanted to bring some intrigue to this fictional place and give a feeling of character to everything within it:

To apply this to the expressions of Father and Daughter themselves was a challenge without dialogue, so we recorded various voices (incredible impressions by Oli and Joe) and processed/edited them to highlight key moments. Father’s footsteps and movements were also very tonally exaggerated – he’s a massive, loving hulk and he needed to sound like it:

The Fire

Throughout the process we agreed with Animade that the fire needed to function as a character just like Father and Daughter – it wasn’t just an object. Giving it a voice of its own seemed like the best way to help it come to life.

We settled on a technique of running the realistic fire sound effects we’d made through a vocoder synthesiser, alongside gating/triggering software instruments. This ‘fire instrument’ was then played to complement different points of the musical score. This involved a lot of experimenting and pitch bending to mimic the tonal shape of a voice. Giving the fire a human expression creates the uneasy feeling of its own dialogue with the characters; almost a conversation going on in Father’s head…

Musical Themes

As the film didn’t have any dialogue, we were conscious to give the score a human feel. Various live instruments were recorded, but heavily featured is a miniature acoustic guitar – functioning as both guitar and drum, obviously. We felt it gave an organic, tactile sound:

And in context:

When it came to scoring the end of the film we knew it needed to be a highly emotive moment. The motif ended up actually coming from the happiest moment of the film – the montage of games by the fire (the track ‘Under Starry Skies’ above). This gave a feeling of familiarity, but with a different emotional angle; maybe even evoking aspects of the relationship between Father and Daughter…

Listen to the whole soundtrack here:

When It Comes Together…

We hugely appreciate Animade’s trust that we could sonically bring the beautiful world they’d created to life. They gave us freedom to roam and become the monkeys, birds and Jotto-rabbits we’ve always wanted to be, make the sort of music we love, and be involved in the studio’s first short film from start to finish. Much love, Animade!

Watch the film here:

See the WePresent feature here:

Behind the Scenes – sml. Wheels x SkatePAL

A few weeks ago we found ourselves wandering around council estates in South London with Shade, working on a video promoting a new collaboration between sml. Wheels and SkatePAL.

One of our favourite charities; SkatePAL is a UK-based NGO that builds skateparks and teaches skateboarding to children in Palestine. They’d join forces with LA-based sml. Wheels and enlisted the help of skaters Chris Jones and Sammy Montano – to spend a day around London testing the new wheels around the roughest spots they could find!

The idea for the piece was to fuse the sounds of Palestine with the rugged textures, colours and surfaces of London. We’d written a track based around an old tape recording discovered by Awesome Tapes From Africa, which we’d sampled and re-mixed to form the backdrop for the video. On-shoot Chris and Sammy focused on landing their tricks whilst we recorded the sounds of their skateboards, paying special attention to noises that are made when skating through London’s rugged streets.





Back in the edit, Rowan from Shade cut the footage to our track and we added extra sound effects and Middle Eastern atmospheres to really bring the film to life.

It was great to fun to work on and we look forward to more SkatePAL collaborations in the future!

Check out the behind-the-scenes edit (above) and watch the final video below:

Nike Air Max Day

Last month, we got together with AKQA and Vigics to create a soundtrack for Nike Air Max Day. Sam and Oli went out on location to get a few recordings of the cars which we later used to form part of the track. Check out the promo’s below:

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Happy Easter!

This week we teamed up with Casual Films to create the soundtrack to a short film celebrating everyone’s favourite egg-related holiday; Easter.

With a tight turnaround, director Ben Kent managed to smash (no pun intended!) through the filming and editing, leaving us just the evening before the deadline to create the soundtrack! The film was great fun to work on, and Theo even managed to get the star role as hand model (see below). Perhaps a career change is on the way…


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Watch the final film below.

Behind The Scenes – Cracks & Curbs

Early one December morning, we found ourselves out on the cold streets of London for another collaboration with Shade Media; this time creating the soundtrack to a short skateboard film for Stay Wild Magazine as part of their ongoing series: A Guide To Cracks & Curbs.

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Stay Wild had teamed up with Neon Stash (promoters of female action sports) to bring together skaters from around London and show their daily ‘commute’.

The idea for the film was to represent the city from the perspective of skateboarders, embracing the cold weather and exploring all the nooks and crannies that London has to offer. With this in mind, we headed out with our boards and microphones to capture sounds that could then be used as the source material for the piece.

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The soundtrack was created almost entirely out of skateboard sounds by sampling, stretching, looping and manipulating the audio to create musical and textural elements. Blurring the lines between the sound design and music, we wanted to communicate the sonic sensations of skateboarding by using the textures and vibrations of wheels rolling and skidding across different surfaces.

We also recorded the inspiring voiceover, written by poet and skater Mat Lloyd, which perfectly captures the way that skateboarders view the city streets – ‘We move together, and admire what only we can see.’

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Watch the final film below.

Skaters – Sam Murgatroyd, Helena Long, Charlie Radford, Amy Ram

Behind The Scenes – Parkour Ride

We had a lot of fun working on a recent teaser film for Parkour Ride. It’s always nice to get creative and record your own sound effects from scratch. Here’s some of the things that were used in creating the soundtrack, including a push-bike, different helmets and multiple cups of tea!

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Watch the full film below. Created by Shade Media.