Episode 39- Building an Iconic Sound with Jonathan Wolff (Part Two)
Now as a lot of music in Seinfeld that was not see matic. Larry came to recognize that he could go to me. Forgacs I loved when they let me throw in and be part of the comedy. They're all these pieces of music that instantly. Identify a scene. I don't know the music from Kramer's PIMP Walk Jerry. The mailman remember. He's whistling. Oh in the pastiche. Practice Morty was impeached the Nixon movie so I played it like the Nixon Movie Rochelle Rochelle the Musical Course Jerry. Show scarsdale surprise. It's fake title on a fake theme. And they were fake. Tony Awards. Oh my favorite flaming Globes of segment. Fifty percent of the Post audio value is certainly music looping and crowds and dialogue editing sound effects and music. Thanks for joining me for part two of my interview with Jonathan Wolf Creator of the iconic sounds and music. We've come to love in Seinfeld. We discussed how the freedom he was given to experiment and create helped to produce an absolutely unforgettable show. The characters are great. The writing is awesome. The very first thing that draws you into even pay attention to the show in the first place is that theme that truly unique and special theme that has become part of our culture. Welcome to the sound and marketing. Podcast I think the key takeaway what you're just saying is the theme comes first. Sometimes it comes before even visual. So you're hearing this representation of show before you're seeing it and this is what I kind of preach to marketers is that your sound is telling the story before sometimes someone even seize your visual representation. It's so powerful. That's that's a given. It is powerful. But it's I you need to have the right representation for what your story is what you're about to talk about through the sound that you're representing and that's why all of these themes that you were mentioning they bring about. Not only the memory of the show. It tells a story within seconds. It just baffles me. How people don't they don't realize that they don't realize that it's not just about their show. It's about what they're Xiao sounds like the TV music as you're saying even when heard separately from the TV show it can act as an ambassador to the world and adds value to the broadcast of the show. You know. Let's look at again. I wrote seinfeld themes is the one. I'm most comfortable with this weird in. It's weird globally. Popular Entertainment Phenomenon of SEINFELD THEME MASH UP VIDEOS TURNS OUT SEINFELD music when mashed up with anything constitutes excellent clip. Eight because the navy degrade. I don't know if you do this. Anyone who's listening to just take a minute and look up seinfeld theme mashups Cam GonNa get a half a million hits you know what my favorite is the Kendrick Lamar kun-tae Can Kunda Mash up with is just really good notorious. B I did one in Oh Fred durst did live for biscuit and it works. Pretty good Somebody did Kanye West. Sign Ya where they took. Sign Count Conway. Frantic announced something in put music underneath became. I don't know millions of us of this. So it's just a weird thing. And there's all these others radiohead evanescence. Odbc vanilla ice always weird mashups. Another practice popped up Seinfeld. Music placed into serious dramatic movies. Those for comedy. You know making fun right right list. People would take game of thrones like the serious heaviest deaths game thrown premium music to it. Just for fine and notice in all these mashups. Jerry's not an Jason Julia Michael. None of them are in them is just the music and yet the connection is to. Seinfeld who it was. It was either Steven Spielberg or George Lucas. They said fifty percent of the movie experience is sound. There's a guy who's composer John Williams so it's well. Yeah if you have bad music it's going to affect your show. You know if you have a bad show and good music you know the music might shine through or something but the show itself is just going to not be good. They have to. They have to marry each other. So it's a fifty fifty situation so if people are focusing just on you know what what their what their brand or what their show or what. They're Form of communication is visually and their knowing what it is auditory. They're they're missing out. They're not going to have a true sincere representation of what they want to portray their missing half of it. I'll go this far. The fifty percent of the post audio value is certainly as you got a lot of post audio looping and crowds and dialogue getting their sound effects and music. The wonderful thing about what you did was yes. There was the baseline and there was a musical aspect to it but I consider the finger snaps in the pops and all of that. That is just as much part of the theme song as anything else and that sound. So there's so many ways that you can you can put this forward even if you don't want a Truly musical piece Portrayed into whatever you are portraying you can still use sound to your advantage. There's just so many limitless possibilities. I was the composer on seventy five. Primetime Network TV series. Not all of them were precious gems and not all of them had unique music. Sometimes it was my job to do generic music make it sound like it doesn't matter how the sentence ends its derivative music already because it starts with make it sound like when I was able to I liked doing what you're saying creating a sonic environment that speaks specifically about that. Show like a signature. So whenever I could. I did that sometimes. You know the it didn't have to create a new sound for for will and grace the sound of that show. The music sound. That show is piano solo piano. It was born about because I knew these guys David Max wonderful writers but they had this habit. They call me from editing saying look we know we owe you cut three hours ago. But there's a lot of dialogue in this episode. We're running into some trouble. I'm sorry you're not GonNa get a cut and that's okay. I'll see it to mix and they'd be happy. No we love you. When will and grace came around and I started seeing these fifty scripts guys the fifty pages of dialogue. I've never getting a cut 'em I it's just ridiculously thick. I mean it's the twenty two minutes show we're GONNA have Carolina this down and you're going to spend extra time in editing doing it so I'm never gonNA get my guys miserable. That's fair to tell you what how about I play piano. I can do it in real time. GimMe Your show in twenty two minutes. I'll give it back to you with music while I bet they loved that it was. It was fine to come on over. Let's get a theme that works with that and they sat there. While I improvised a bunch of things ended six or seven recorded all of them and they picked one of them and that was what is now still in current Rhine. The will and grace theme that I improvised in front of the sex and the way it worked for every episode whereas I would sit at the piano. It'd be watching the TV show and hearing it and looking at the DL. Data decision lists so I knew transition was coming up and I leaned my head over the keys and music would fall out onto them and that way I was able to do the shows without getting a without advance while pre lay was going on. Remember this is before fully digital audio. So you used to have to do pre lay so while that was going on. I was doing the music. And we mixed at Warner. The Warner Dub stage was adjacent to scoring stage. His beautiful piano always might always tuned and there were times when I there just wasn't enough time from even do that and I would show up at the mix in the other room with a pair of headphones do the music live on the the upstate. Anyone who's listening to this don't do that. That's really inefficient. Way To scored picture. Would you say that Your mindset in the way you approach things for Seinfeld prepared you for things like will and grace in the other. The other shows that you went onto afterwards once Seinfeld gained a following season four or so when they gave us timeslot. Finally we didn't even have a slot by the way and when we finally got a timeslot new as a a an excellent time slot Thursday night. After cheers and people start noticing this show so there was all these episodes of Seinfeld that had never been seen before. And that made our syndication package more valuable and immediate one seinfeld became a cult following and it was not a hit show yet but once had a following then Kali would as you know is a me to town but not the Hashtag but if somebody's having success at something other go own wits to two and I became flavor of the month the composer that people wanted because of Seinfeld and I stayed composer the flavor of the month for about ten years. So that is what Seinfeld really did for me definitely made me in demand so that I had too much work for to handle for myself. Now Seinfeld also you said was a good training. Somehow the answer is yes. I mean there was a lot of music in seinfeld. That was not semantic. It was you know Larry came to recognize that he could go to me for gags and I loved when they let me throw in and be part of the comedy. I said I'm retired. But I'm going to plug this next year. Warner plans to release the SEINFELD SOUNDTRACK ALBUM NEXT YEAR. Which is twenty twenty one? The released hopefully coincide with Netflix. Premiering Seinfeld for the first time. Where if you want to stream Seinfeld there in theory will be soundtrack album with all of this non thematic music on it. There are all these pieces of music that instantly. Identify a scene. I don't know music from Kramer's pimp walk. Oh Yeah Seinfeld person yes I am. You instantly know when I'm talking about music you would picture your Kramer dressed in that. Could have many colors. Jerry Mailman remember his whistling. Oh in the pastiche practice. We had so many pastiche moments when morty was impeached. Hey Left del book of this with Regal it dignity and it was it was like the Nixon movie so I played it like the Nixon movie. It's a long long long list of funny and some of its terrible music by the way but it works. You're proving the point that the music took on a character of its own and when Those involved with the show came to you for support of the show to do like the licks. And all of the staff it reinforces the importance of the sound in the music that you came up with and I'm sure as it went it probably got easier and easier for you to just kind of go. Well this would work for this and oh I can pull this and just because you're part of this process so you're there for nine seasons and you've been following this show and grew up with the show I mean. I know you had a lot of gigs before it. But this like really put your name on the map. I would imagine it certainly have. Who's the boss and married with children? Yes on the map but this certainly splattered it across continents. Larry is a very musical guy. He knows a lot of music and he loves music. Timeshare owners the director very musical guy so it was perfectly natural for learn to trust meter right. You know the song for Rochelle Rochelle the musical. Somebody had to create the music for all of those other fake productions. They in a movie theater. And you'll hear Rachelle. We're shell the movie I take it. You wrote a theme song for Jerry. Also of course the Jerry. Show Larry Larry Charles gave me that instruction he just said. This is happy generic Sitcom using Friday. Night Miller. Boy I got this so I'll be back in an hour. Thank you for recognising. That was part of the joke that it was a generic. I think that that was probably my favorite story. Line of all of them was when they created the show about nothing like it was such a mirror of what what the show is. It was brilliant. It was Larry's Lexin his muscles scarsdale. They played that music at the Tony Awards over and over again but it's fake title fake theme and they were faked Tony Awards and that was my music and checkmate blimp. Oh my favorite of all of these flaming Globes of Sigmund Larry David Onscreen in a in a light. Metallic spacesuit in goggles was a late. Night bad sci fi horror movie. The Jerry was half asleep and he turned on. And we see Larry Flay. The Globes are all aflame justice. And so I got to create that music. That's my favorite one just because we actually see the fake production and his Larry. What themes nowadays do you feel are unique and ground-breaking that help steer a show into a culture for example? I think the office did that pretty well. But that's my opinion. My good friend Paul Buckley. He is now working as a full time composer and he has a show on apple called help stirs the music is a key ingredient on this show and he is just killing it. Here is just so good. It's annoying In my wife and I we've been binge watching Ozark and the outsider and composers Danny Benzi and Saunder. Brian's I don't know if I compare pronounced that correctly because I don't know these guys but I really liked it. They are out of the box in their scoring styles. Looking back a bit. I love the sound of the Sherlock Music. Oh that was so good all my darnold Michael Price. Yeah it's kind of retro and period sounding for show that it's not and I just really liked it. It feels like keeper using to me Anything BY THOMAS NEWMAN IS GONNA fit into that category and he has a series called castle. Rock looking backwards. I loved bear. Mcrae's work on walking dead. I think that really gave it a good. Sonic Stamp Jeff. Beal who is way too good house of cards housing cards anything. Jeff does just spectacular time. It should be a composer because boy there's the in the Palette is just a limited I think also Why it's critical to break out of the box now. More than ever is because of the different technology that we have something that I have been. Researching a lot about is smart speakers and they're trying to figure out programming for smart speakers and there was something for. Westworld. I guess they had. I think it's called the maze and it was mostly for people that already watched the show which I haven't but it was basically a I from what I understand. It was kind of a choose your own adventure kind of thing where you went into the story with characters. There's like twenty voices the show and you programming. Yeah and and they were like going through these motions and going through. Whatever this Intense thing was and you know if you're already a fan of the show I'm sure it's riveting so the way that I see it is if you can come up with something out of the box. It's more important than ever because what your show gets picked up for one of these new technology items like a smart speaker. How how are you going to shine through? How is your programming gonNA shine through the sound and the music? That's what's going to hold people. That's what's going to grip them to want to come back because it's not visual at all. When I was starting Seinfeld there was no digital audio nineteen eighty-nine during the pro tools yet. So we're talking about technologies that came about after I retired. There was no youtube when I retired. No facebook so I've had to kind of we'll stumble along with these things and you asked about those composers whose work I admire. That's one of the reasons why I'm most happy to be retired that I don't have to peach with those giants talking to people who score of Video Game Music. That just completely blows my mind the way that they have to write. Because it's you know. The the outcomes are different for each gamer. So you have to create this music that's Lupu ball and then it builds and that it sustains a bit and you've got to have all these things built in I do not understand how it is I maybe younger than you but I also did not grow up in the area era of having all of this technology just learning as this stuff kind of more into what it is has been absolutely fascinating and there is no way to keep up with it. You just have to when you were talking about Getting yourself out of the pile and Creating something that was just you. You know you wanted a representation. That only you could do this. That's the same thing with the sound technology. That's happening right now. There's no way you're GONNA get all of it but find out what you're good at and go for it. A couple of my people at my company were doing in their free time video games and just the technical demands required a higher level of understanding and intelligence in the composer's with so much distance and time between the Seinfeld production years and my life today. I'm actually able to view the show much differently from when I was working on it every week so now like you. I'm just another Seinfeld with really funny stories about. I go on as a fan on Instagram instagram. By the way is Seinfeld Music Guy so if you listening give you follow i. 'cause that's what I do. I I go into all these seinfeld. Fan instagram postings and leave nuggets I love it. I love it when that sort of thing happens. I was a huge fan of the office when it was when it was airing. And now there's a podcast called the office ladies and I don't know if you've checked this out or not. But it's a Angela and Pam from the characters Angela and Pam from the office and the two of them just like proud on and talk about like the behind the scenes experiences and they're going episode by episode is just so much fun so much on the people from the inside are telling look little nuggets to the rest of us that appreciate and love the show so much so thank you for make stuff up. I sure some of it. They make up probably to make themselves sound better. Jonathan Wolf. Thank you so much for joining us on. The sound marketing podcast. I had a blast. I hope you had fun to thank you so much. Gina thank you. It was really a blast. I'm so glad you were able to join me as I wrapped up my interview with Jonathan Wolf. Do yourself a favor and Google Seinfeld Mash up after this. Jonathan was right. It's hilarious. Marketing for our brand can be very much like marketing show. The theme song of his show is the calling card. It's the first south for those brands that choose to take on exploring their sound and sonic brand identity. They're given this unique opportunity to do a presale. A soft pitch to introduce their consumers to what they are about to present. Remember we all make sounds? Let's make them on purpose for more of the sound of marketing podcast. Don't forget to follow subscribe and share. You can find us on I tunes spotify who will play iheartradio Pandora and Stitcher for inquiries on producing and developing your own podcast or for inquiries on Sonic in Sonic Brennan Consultation Abilities. You can find the at dreamer productions. That's D R E m. Our PRODUCTIONS DOT COM linked in and facebook. You can also email me at Gina. J. E. N. N. N AT PRODUCTIONS DOT COM. All links will be provided in the show. This episode was produced by Dreamer Productions and hosted written and edited by Me Gene. Let's make this world of sound more intriguing more unique and more and more on brand.