A few months back I was talking to a badass skater called ‘Kid Block’ and an amazing vocalist Leanne Jay Brookes about how awesome it would be to write and record a sports anthem.

It just so happens that Kid Block, the awesome skater, skates awesomely for the awesome roller derby team the Tiger Bay Brawlers of Cardiff, Wales. Awesome.

Roller Derby is a fast paced, exciting, full contact sport and before each game, teams often skate out to a theme that represents their attitude. Popular songs are usually rock driven and empowering such as ‘Eye of the Tiger’. However, in the many games I’d seen in person and online I hadn’t heard of a team that had their own song. That’s kind of how the conversation went with Kid Block and Leanne, who helped me see what an awesome opportunity composing a theme for the Tiger Bay Brawlers would be.

The Brawlers have a huge passion for their sport so I had to try my best to capture that and the nature of derby to the best of my abilities if this theme was going to fly. I used a program from the last bout I attended to get a few things straight in my head just so the lyrics would make sense. I then watched a bunch of inspirational speeches from classic films like ‘Any Given Sunday’ and ‘Rocky’, read up on tigers and talked to a couple of the Brawlers themselves. I then used that positive attitude and determination to construct a feasible song that I felt fans of the Brawlers could chant along to on game day.


However, at the same time, it was more important to inspire the team to carry on being as awesome as they already are AND record a blazing guitar solo, obviously. 

You can find out more about the Tiger Bay Brawlers here.

(Photo: Scott Cole Photography)

Brawler For Life

Earlier this week, I put the finishing touches to the But Milk Is Important soundtrack that is playing at the Volda Animation Festival this weekend!  I will be uploading more of the OST soon with some insight into capturing Anna and Eirik’s vision through music (check out my updated portfolio track below and the portfolio page for a slice of the OST)

For now, here’s one of the film’s characters in a Norwegian newspaper below (the little grey dude on the bottom right).

http://butmilkisimportant.blogspot.co.uk/

I haven’t blogged in months because I’ve been really working hard on the hard work Anna & Eirik’s been working hard on.  That’s right hard on.  I’m really excited.  Just look at this still from But Milk Is Important!

I’m excited because I’ve seen a lot of the finished masterpiece they’ve been creating and its breath taking.  Seeing something from storyboard, to modelling, to movement and to a living, breathing (almost) final production is spellbinding enough… but when it’s stop time animation in the hands of Anna and Eirik.  Holy shit.  It’s awesome!

The working relationship I have with these talented people in Norway stems from a friendship formed with Eirik in the U.K before he flew home to pursue this badass project with Anna.  Now, after months of sending each other work through the googles I’m managing to capture the dark, mysterious atmosphere they’ve created for their sometimes frightening/sometimes funny/always fascinating characters. 

Eirik suggested to me not to shy away from playing quite a bit of piano for this film after I used it in our last adventure and in using it again to write a large part of this score I can certainly see its attraction.  The piano evokes parts of me when I play it that other instruments can’t get to.  The isolation and loneliness I relate to when I watch aspects of the animation are translated so fluently through the keys and is a testament to me how human the instrument can feel.  Another important aspect of the composition in this film is back masking.  There’s a lot of tension and unexplainable occurrences that back masking pianos, cymbals and synthesized sounds can reflect well against.  It’s a suggestion that things aren’t quite as they seem and a sweet way to hide satanic messages (joke).  It’s an opposite, a reverse to the norm and a representation of the emotional themes haunting our main character.  Talking of themes, I also felt that the characters with their own very specific characteristics deserved their own very specific music (something Ennio Morricone stamped into me as a young poncho wearing, gun toting tot whilst my brother would watch the spaghetti westerns).  I think it’s a valid method in such a mysterious film where character’s actions speak louder than their words.

So I seriously suggest you check out Anna and Eirik’s blog again as they constantly update it with sweet developments, especially as the filming is now complete and they’re in the process of post production.  At this stage I’m finely tuning things like the timing of the music to accommodate any scene extensions and artistic direction from the guys whilst they work harder and harder to achieve the perfection that is But Milk Is Important.

It’s difficult to say you’ve been hard at work when you enjoy making music.  It’s not like I’m building the Sistine chapel or surgeorizing somebody’s frontal lobe.  I’m also not building characters from raw material and an outdoor set for an amazing stop time animated film like Eirik and Anna are for “But Milk Is Important”.

When I’m sat in my chair in front of keyboards and guitars, trying to get into the mindset of these awesome characters, Eirik and Anna are in Norway creating huge structures to animate a 3 second scene of film.  Then again it’s not to say that the music I’m making comes out in real-time live at the Apollo like James Brown.  I took about six hours to create about thirty seconds the other day – that’s the process of elimination I torture myself through to make sure my shit is half as good as the amazing film these guys are making.  From previous experience on “The Crow That Wore a Suit and Worked In An Office” I know I have to theoretically create another character myself, to add what I can to an already well thought out, laboured piece of art.  At the moment my tried and tested method of madness is to accompany the people and creatures with their own themes, that intertwine and morph into each other as a story unfolds.

Go and checkout what Anna and Eirik are upto on their own blog about But Milk Is Important.