Lindsay and Nate are back again with Evan Brown as we discuss what the new theme song for On the Mic could look like. Will Evan be the Danny Elfman to Lindsay and Nate's Tim Burton? Will the trombone and theremin make an appearance in the new episode? Pull up a seat and take a listen to Part 2 of On the Mic's Music in Podcasting series.
That's the great thing about stamps.com. They grow with you
As much fun as I had. I Couldn't wait to get back to my sleep number bed.
I love my thirdlove bras. They're hands down the most comfortable bras I've ever owned.
I love making blue apron and I love it. It's my me time.
Okay. So last time we discussed how music is used in podcasts. We went through some examples and the three of us discussed in more detail. What a new On the Mic theme might sound like. I took some notes. I made a few snippets in various styles for you to listen to today that you have not heard before. I'm confirming for the listening audience. This is going to be completely genuine reaction, and we can narrow down the things that you like, the things that you don't like. And then next time I'll come back with a complete and finished new theme song. Probably some bumpers and maybe even an outro.
If, if, if it moves me, if the spirit moves me, as they say so, so first a little, a little story, many story time. Many years ago, I had a job and I, one of my coworkers was in the process of writing his first film. And at the time we chatted about it a lot and I said, Hey, when you make this movie, you gotta let me score it. Cause I've always wanted to score a film before. And he said, yeah, yeah, sure. I promise when I make this movie, you can score it. And I thought, you know, it was very low risk for me because at the time I was woefully under prepared to be able to score a film. I had no idea what that would even entail, but I was like, eh, what are the odds that he actually even makes this movie, right?
He's just writing it now. It's, we're in LA. It's like, no one, everyone has a movie. You know what actually makes them fast forward. A few years later, I got an email out of the blue from this guy and he says, Hey, we're making the movie and you're going to score it. I promised you. And I was like, cool, you don't have to keep that promise. That was, I get that. It was like a gentleman's agreement, maybe a verbal contract, but that was definitely not official. I'm happy to do this, but like, you know, I don't want to ruin your movie. So, and he said, I have the utmost confidence in you. And I'm thinking, well, that makes one of us. But of course, so I enthusiastically accepted and I was really excited. And then immediately after that, I became extremely terrified basically, because I saw there was basically, there was a list of, I think 34 different music cues that I would have to write.
I would have to write them, record them, do it all myself. Cause there was no budget on this. And I was, it was very intimidating. And again, I was like, I really don't want to ruin this guy's movie. So there's a lot to do. I need to get to work immediately. So the first thing I did was watch a bunch of YouTube videos and then I, but I decided that that was work because I, I mean, I was really like teaching myself how to score a film. Cause I had never done it before. So I'm like, ah, this is research. It counts as work. And I found this video, it was like 40 minutes long. I was like, perfect. And it was this round table interview with an interviewer and it was Danny Elfman, Trent Reznor, I think Han Zimmer or maybe a couple others.
I mean, we're talking the heavy hitters in the film scoring industry.
You may have heard of these people.
Yeah, exactly. So I thought, Hey, these are the best of the best. And this is 40 minutes long. Seems like a pretty good use of my time instead of actually doing work. So I was watching it. And one of the first things the interviewer asked them was, what's the first thing that you do when you get a new gig when you have a new job. And all of them said, the first thing I do is panic and procrastinate. And I'm thinking, wow, I'm doing exactly what the pros do. Like I'm in the same boat as the best of the best. That's, that's pretty great. And then later in the interview he asked, they were talking about that moment where, when they were about to present their music to the director for the first time, this always happens after quite a bit of work because you're presenting something fairly finished.
And actually in some cases, the first time the director hears anything is when they're in the studio, recording the orchestra live and spending a lot of money. And so I can imagine, you can imagine how nerve wracking that must be. And the interviewer was asking them how they feel when they're presenting their work for the first time. And once again, all of them said, I'm terrified that the director is going to hate it at like Danny Elfman said, how many, how many Tim Burton movies has Danny Elfman done? You might say that they've had a fairly successful run at it. And to this day, when he presents Burton with something new, he's like terrified that he's going to absolutely hate it. So, you know, on the one hand, it's nice to know that it's kind of one of those stars.
They're just like us type things, but it's also kind of a bummer that that never goes away. So disregarding that entire story. What I want you to do is give me your honest opinions.
So in this scenario, we're Tim Burton,
Tim Burton. I fancy myself, Danny Elfman. I would definitely keep your expectations on that level as far as what you're about to hear
That's where my expectations will say yes, yes,
Yes, exactly. So, so I genuinely want your honest opinion. You can pick these apart as much as you like. I won't feel anything if I do feel something I'll never admit it. I want to get, I want to hear what your real feedback is. So, and then a quick reminder, these are not complete ideas. These are bits and pieces. We can mix and match elements if you like the melody from one and the GRU from another, this sound or that sound, whatever, we can try to combine things. So, and I'm also going to add elements like the, like the sound bites from testimonials and ad reads and things which are not present in this, keep those things in mind. And I'm going to quickly review some notes that we took that I took last episode about what, what you were hoping for versus what I'm going to deliver.
As far as the tone, I made a note that I wanted it to be serious and professional, but obviously not joyless. I wanted it to be fun. Some things that you had said to me that you two had said were friendly and sophisticated, elegant and presentation, simple without clutter, of course, as far as tempo, I was told, not frantic and not too chill. So we're looking for like a Goldilocks zone here, but I wanted to do a few options, little, some more upbeat, some more downbeat within that zone to see what you like best. As far as instrumentation was concerned, there was nothing completely off limits, but also nothing completely essential other than some sort of rhythmic element, like a drummer percussion sound.
I also wrote down, not funk, Funk, funky, but not funk.
And then also I asked when we had talked about the food people intro sounding like the soundtrack of when you eat something amazing that plays in your head. I had asked you, give me a food that you want this to invoke the S the song that, that food plays when, when you're in a w in your head, when you eat it. And Lindsay, you told me barbacoa tacos, and Nate, you said croissant croissant because it's rich and elegant, but just a humble pastry. I don't know how useful that question was, but I still used it because it was fun. These things are so abstract. I obviously, obviously, I don't know what barbacoa tacos sound like in your head, but it was still fun to take that into consideration.
Yeah. We'll see how close you get.
Yeah, we'll see. And then finally, the length, you didn't want this to turn into a, a music bed you're partial to a fade out. You wanted the full arc of a song and an ending. So that there's a kind of rhythm to when the speaking intro starts and something along the lines of 10 to 15 seconds long. So that's the recap of, of some of the notes from last time. Would you like to start listening to some things or do you have any other questions for me?
No, let's do it.
Yeah. I'm ready to dive in.
All right. So the first thing I want you to listen to is the track called bones. Honest opinion.
Yeah. I think, I think bones nailed everything that we it's sort of flagged as not maybe not working and why.
No, I disagree. I believe it was all the things that we said were absolutely essential, which were trombones, harmonized, theremin and whistling.
Oh, I thought it was, I thought it was the one, the one thing we said was that it didn't have that funkiness, which I really like. Oh,
That's true. Yeah. That's the one downfall of that one. Okay. So admittedly, that was a joke. I'm calling that one, a classic creative trick of when you play. So I'm playing something first that I know is not correct. And now everything else afterwards is going to sound so much better to you
Kind of love it though.
I don't want that. I don't want to backfire. And have you pick that one,
I'm kind of leaning towards, I'm kind of leaning toward it already. It
Is the best one
Have. We haven't compared it to anything, but
So maybe, maybe it'll maybe everything else will now pale in comparison. And I just shot myself in the foot.
I think you definitely have our attention. Let's just put it that way.
That's a, that's what I like to hear. Okay. I didn't spend a whole lot of time on that one clearly, but I definitely wanted to keep you on your toes a little bit. Now for the first real entry, let's take a listen to croissant
In a word buttery, which I think nails it. Wow.
It reminds me of every 10 hour low-fi cafe, YouTube video I've listened to while working.
I was by the way, very much enjoying watching your faces because obviously in this episode, people are going to hear it, but I can't actually hear it. I'm just watching you listen on headphones. And so I'm just like getting the full reaction without even any of the context. And I love it.
Could you see me getting hungry as, as I was listening or a little
Bit, I'm not joking on my list on my bullet points for this one to talk about was I was going to say, did that sound like a croissant?
I mean, I, I think kind of, I was kind of being facetious in saying buttery or whatever, but I do think I know why this is the one that is called croissant. Like it, it does match for me.
It definitely does sound like a cafe. Like I get that vibe
This one, I, no matter what happens, I'm turning this one into a full track for myself at some point, because I just, this one I loved making. And when I was finished, I was like, this is, I'm doing something with this. And that's kind of the beauty of these things is I've make all these little bits and pieces and I don't really care which one you pick because all the other ones I get to use for other things. So it's a it's I kind of, when it's like, win-win for me, how do you feel about that? One in the context of, On the Mic, was there anything that didn't quite hit the mark or did particularly hit the mark?
I don't know. Lindsay, do you have any like initial thoughts?
I would probably want to listen to it again, but it does make me think of maybe an NPR podcast.
Is that in a good way? Or like,
But the thing, I think it's a good thing. I'm just not sure if it's On the Mic. Okay.
Oh, okay. I like the rhythmic element going on there. It, I guess it might be a hi-hat thing that's going on that kind of, I don't know what the right word is, but it feels almost like a stopwatch or something like a secondhand kind of ticking. It kind of reminds me of what I was talking about with the radio lab, where at the very first few seconds, there's a, there's a use of like some signs, sound, design elements beyond just the music that I think are really cool. And I think especially the very beginning, I'm like I'm brought in, in a way I really enjoy
Kind of kicking sound is actually a part of that kind of synth sound at the beginning. It's almost built into that, but I agree. I liked that. I liked that rhythmic element of it. It's like an auxiliary percussion.
Yeah. And I think something that percussion kind of makes me think of is like, maybe this is a little heavy, but it's like the idea of like going On the Mic and being on mic, there's something about like, okay, now we're like On the Mic and I don't know if that is something that we're trying to evoke necessarily, but the idea of like pressing record, there's a little bit of like, okay, it's it's time. Like it's Showtime. And there's something about that. Like going live element that seems to come through for, for me with that, which might be a stretch. I don't know. I'm just like kind of spit balling here. The
One thing I wasn't sure about as much was maybe the, the tone of the key, maybe that I don't know what exactly the instruments are. So I'm kind of, if it was just a keyboard sound, but
The melody or that, or
The, yeah, I think the melody, but yeah, I think all around. I like this one.
I like it too. I do.
I don't know if it's, I don't know if it's On the Mic yet though. I mean, I, I'm excited to hear the other ones be
Yeah, we got more to listen to. And again, we got plenty of time for me to change things and update things. So how about we move on to a little barbacoa taco action.
I'm always ready for barbacoa taco.
Oh yeah. I guess I should. I guess I should specify for the listeners. The next track is called barbacoa taco. That's a, we're not actually
Oh gosh. I don't think On the Mic listeners are ready for taco ASMR or maybe you are. I don't know.
Nate's got that look on his face. Like I definitely have something to say.
I was just about to ask if anyone wants tacos. Cause I could, I could really go for a taco now,
I think this one is really friendly and I think that that just that friendliness comes through. It's very inviting.
Yeah. This is definitely meant to be the fun, upbeat, dance-y one it's sort of, it's definitely directly inspired by the food people intro. Hopefully it's not too close to that. I don't think it is, but it It's definitely like, I don't think anyone would be shocked to know that it's inspired by it as far as at least like tempo and just happiness. I guess. Lindsay, what did you think?
Yeah, I liked this one a lot. I kind of like the underlying base. And then the end, when you get the duty, As, as Nate said, there's something friendly about it. It's it's welcoming. It's inviting. It definitely makes me want to stick around and listen to more.
Yeah. This one, I could also see working really well with clips over top. I can see them fitting in really well.
Yeah. And I think this one, I don't think I put any ending on it. He had just kind of cuts off at the end so we can, we can make an actual ending that transitions a little bit more into the talking. But yeah, I was when I was making that one, I it's a lot of fun. It makes me happy when I listened to it. It definitely was. I was definitely going on the, the friendly side that's I wanted the joyous friendly side and inviting, and also the, like, this is definitely the song when I bite into a really good taco that plays in my head. So, but I wasn't sure
Talk to dance song. I should just call it taco dance while I was doing it. I kind of thought, okay, this will be interesting to see what you think because is it too fun? Is it too light? Is it too upbeat or too dancey?
No, I don't think so. There's still something I'm not serious, but there's still something about it that you're like, okay, I'm this is, this is fun. It's inviting. I'm ready to get my information. Like I'm ready to learn and be a part of the conversation. Yes.
It's not a joke. It's not silly. It's not like child childlike. It's still serious, but without taking itself seriously, just like you to,
Yeah. It's got like a wink to it. Almost like it's kind of like got a twinkle, but it's not, it's almost, maybe it's because it's kind of got like an elegance. It's pretty simple. It's pretty it's it's got a sort of, I don't know, stripped down thing that we kind of brought up.
I think elegance was the word I was looking for.
Yeah. Well, there you go.
That's what I wanted to hear. It's also, I think this sets up for it grabs your attention a little bit makes you feel good and just kind of gets you in the mood to listen and have a little fun. So I think so far what I'm hearing that one is much closer to the mark than the first one or the one before.
I mean, it's, it's definitely not as close to the mark as bones.
I dunno. I think I'm going to keep that one for myself. I keep it for something
Wrinkles, sprinkle some of the bones and to barbacoa taco and see what happens, you
Know? Yeah. You know what I'll add? I'll add some whistling and some theremin and harmonies anyway. Okay, great. I'm very pleased with, with your reaction to that one. Let's I'm very curious to get your take on the next one, which is called drive. It's not a very interesting name. I was just I've ran out of foods that you had mentioned. So I was like, it's got kind of a driving beat. I'm just going to call it drive.
I'm trying to remember what song this opener sounds like to me,
The, the drum part.
Yes, it is. It is trying to bring something forward.
Listening to that drum part again. Now I'm
Curious. I mean, there are a lot of songs that use a drum part just like that.
What I was going to say is actually I think this might be my favorite of the really listened to so far. Interesting.
Lindsay's tone of really makes it sound like she disagrees.
It's not bad. It just, it sounds to me like this is going to go into more of a conversational, just two people shooting the shit type of podcasts.
Don't know why. I don't know why. I don't know why that's what I'm feeling, but maybe it's because you called it drive. And now I'm thinking about driving and just like
I have ruined it with the title. These are interesting reactions because this one was not based on anything. It wasn't based on any ideas that we talked about it wasn't other than like very overall vibe notes, it was not based on specific notes or anything. I just wanted to do something with organic drums, not just electronic stuff. And I programmed that be hidden. It was cool. And I started putting some more things on it. And actually initially, initially I was not even going to show this one because I, it was not coming together and I didn't like it at all. I didn't think it was anywhere near the mark, but then I give it a little more time, made some tweaks. I added that keyboard melody over top, which completely changed the feel of it and got it to a place where I was like, okay, this is actually worth sharing.
But for a long time, I was like, this is not, they're not going to like this at all.
I would say that I wouldn't say that this by itself. I think there's elements of this that I really like. And, and maybe it's just the fact that I really resonate with more organic sounding drums. And that, that just really puts it over the edge a little bit more for me. One thing I'm, I'm interested in, I think this one and maybe even barbacoa taco, I think it was barbacoa taco, not croissant. I feel like the end, the ending, it lands a little abruptly for me.
I would not, I would not factor any of the endings of these for the most part, just because like literally barbacoa taco, I didn't even end it. It just, it completely cut off. So I just, I kind of lazy. It was, it was one of those like, eh, if they like this one, then I'll finish it. But for now I'm just going to give them the general, the broad strokes. So yeah. Cool. Ending wise is the it's completely up in the air. So awesome.
Yeah. That I, I rescind my feedback. Okay,
Perfect. Deleting my note. If, if I added an organic drum element to barbacoa taco, do you think you would connect with it even more because of that?
I think as we're trying,
We don't have to force it, I guess.
Yeah. Yeah. Like if it, if it completely changes it and it doesn't sound like it works anymore, I would say don't go for it. But that, that might be kind of part of what I am missing from those first two bones was perfect, but I think maybe croissant and barbacoa taco had a little bit less of that organic feel and I kind of liked that. It feels more friendly to me. And or maybe it's just more, what's the word? Approachable,
Of tangible. Yeah.
'cause it's like, even though I, I programmed them, like it's still coming from like an actual instrument. That's moving air as opposed to since sound. Okay. These are all good notes.
Well wait, but what does Lindsay, what do you think about the organic drums? Not a fan.
You can take it or leave it. I mean, it's fine, but I don't necessarily think that barbacoa taco needs it.
Yeah. I don't necessarily think it needs it, but I would be curious to see, hear what it sounds like if I added something to it, just to see, yeah.
I'm open to it
Much like a regular barbacoa taco, you know, some people do the queso fresco. Some people leave it off. You got to figure out what works for you.
Sometimes you put drums in your barbacoa tacos. Sometimes
It's a symbol, but not, yes. Okay.
So that one was a little bit more, it's a little more polarizing as I expected. I'm I, this has been a fascinating fun experiment. Okay. So we're, we're onto the last one, which is called majesty. I don't know why I called it that it's not going to be quite as majestic as that makes it sound. However, I think there's some truth to it. So why don't you go ahead and take a listen and, and we'll reconvene
Okay. So I really liked this one, I wish. Okay. Where does it start? About 10 seconds in to about 15 seconds. You have this little doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo. And I wish that carried all the way through. I really like this, but it sounds very video gamey to me. I don't know if you've ever, I think it's Celeste that I'm thinking of. That's what it reminds me
Of. It's less.
Well, no, the sorry, the game
Of the game Celeste.
I think that's what this is trying to bring forward, but I really liked this one.
I actually am going to like ditto that reaction. I had the same kind of feeling about that.
We'll call it the doo doo
I think it's hard. And, and less than 30 seconds to have like something that feels like it has like a, an art and then also have the element not feel like it comes in and then leaves too quickly, but maybe, yeah, maybe it needs to carry through a few more seconds or, or come in a little bit earlier, depending on how it works out. I really also kind of similar to a couple of the others. I really liked the first few seconds of this. The way that it kind of builds at the very beginning, I think is really, really catching.
I'm actually picturing exactly where that can come in a little early and actually help that build. I think that that would work really well. I all right. So this one is actually my personal favorite. I think it needs a little bit more of the kind of low end kick drum thump that the other ones do. But this one actually came from, I had already made this for something else. I had done a demo for a commercial, like a couple of years ago that did not get picked. And so this is just kind of something similar to this very similar. It was just sitting in my kind of personal library being unused. And I was going through some of my old stuff to see if there was anything that jumped out as being appropriate for this. And I heard that one and I was like, that is exactly the type of vibe I think that we may be going for.
And so I, I opened it back up and I edited, I changed, I moved some things around. I changed some things. I changed the chords and stuff, but it was just one of those ones that very naturally was like, this feels right to me. So I was hoping that you would like that one because I really, I really like it personally because I love the beginning too. I love the textures like this, the kind of Sonic textures. And I like how I like the kind of pulsating thing. It kind of pumps you up without being overly energetic. And it does have, I think this one also has kind of an NPR esque feel to it, but maybe still more in line with, On the Mic than croissant.
Yeah. And I think the aspect of bringing in sounds on top of the first few seconds, maybe like we've done with the current iteration of the theme song. I think this one has no space for that again at the beginning to where you would feel it building, but there would still be enough room for however else you want it to build sounds or clips or whatever.
Yeah. And I also think this one lends itself fairly well to having some of the clips from the ad reads kind of interspersed in the beginning and throughout. So Lindsay, when you were talking about the video game aspect, sounds like that was a negative, right? Like it was, it was maybe taking you out into the wrong head space.
Surprisingly. No, it just, the part that we called the doo doo part that do do do that. That makes me think video
Games. Yeah. Cause it's, it's very bleep bloop. Well doo doo, I've, we've already established it's doo doo, I guess I don't,
You can't change the complete blue blood just like there.
No, I like it. It does not take me into the wrong does not take me in the wrong direction.
So here's what I'm thinking. Now my initial thought was I was going to come back next time and I would just have the final product for you. But I think it would be even better as if I come back next time. And I have two final products for you because both barbacoa, taco and majesty, which I will definitely rename clearly those two stuck out the most to you. And they have a lot of elements that you like that work well with the show. They're also very different. So mixing and matching these two doesn't really work. So why don't I just complete both of them into a nice final state and then I will play them both next time. And then I put the burden on you to just pick the one that you like more, how does that sound?
I'm here for it. Okay.
Yeah. That makes perfect sense to me. Yeah. That sounds really fun.
Well, I got to say this could have gone just so much worse because if you had not liked any of these, that would have been a real bummer. Honestly, though, I understand that this, this idea of me coming in here and making a new theme song was kind of like thrown out casually by someone. And I was like, oh yeah, sure. That sounds good. But I also understand like, you know, this is, you're putting some trust into me and I appreciate that because no one wants this theme song to be terrible for, for the show that we all enjoy. And that's, you know, it's so I appreciate that. You're trusting me to do this, but I'm also glad that I've been able to come up with some things that are not terrible, especially the first one, which maybe I'll expand that one too.
I, you know, I would not mind hearing bones again in its completed state.
Maybe it's maybe some bumper music.
Yeah. That wouldn't, that wouldn't be disconcerting in the slightest, just coming back to a serious interview about marketing and then it's like bump, bump, bump, bump. Yeah. That could work.
That's our ad break music, which obviously is terrible. Don't do that. Don't put music. You don't love
Exactly. This will be the music that helps the story along it's for the act breaks.
Yeah. Just on that note, the serious. Now you went there, you know, like of course we, we threw this out casually for a no pressure thing, but I think we were, we were just super excited. And you know, if Tim Burton didn't trust any Elfman, where, where would we be? You know,
Sort of tension that creative tension has to be there at all times, otherwise you can't make anything great without a little bit of that push and pull, you know, without the risk, without the risk of possibly getting something really bad out of it.
I think you've done really well so far. So I'm excited to see what the next two ended up sounding like. I
That. Yeah. This has been a lot of fun.
If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe for updates on future episodes and leave us a comment with your feedback, questions or ideas for future segments. If you would like more info on Ad Results Media and what we do, please visit us online at adresultsmedia.com. This podcast is an Ad Results Media production.