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The piece of music featured in this episode is called The Amelia Project Theme. It’s a fun and eccentric piece which I wrote for the dark comedy podcast The Amelia Project, which tells the story of a mysterious agency which helps its clients fake their deaths. This week we’ll look at some of the insights into why and how it was made. My name is Fredrik Baden. I’m a composer from Oslo, Norway, and this is How I Make Music.
IN THIS EPISODE
01:18 I still choke up when I think about my high school graduation composition. Take a listen.
02:10 The Amelia Project, which tells the story of a mysterious agency which helps its clients fake their deaths. Clients feature scientists, politicians, cult leaders and even an AI. The only way to get in touch with The Amelia Project is by having a really interesting story to tell.
03:09 Today’s selected soundtrack is version 7.6 of the musical theme. Over time, I’ve written many versions of the musical theme for different contexts.
03:30 My girlfriend and I searched for the Dirk Gently opening theme but accidentally stumbled on the BBC version of the show. I kept it in mind and would consider it an influence, along with the theme tune for the TV show Dexter. Ominous and weird, I guess!
04:45 I was approached by the show creators to write the theme. The first few drafts were considered too serious. My family has a cabin with a pedal organ. I came up with a really silly ‘oom-pa-pa’ sound just to find an extreme for them to counter against. But it turns out they really liked it! Big sound, big melody, big drums, big bass offset with plucky chords, honky strings and a piccolo flute fanfare!
06:32 I’ve made a few versions of this theme to suit different stories. A metal version for an episode set in a funfair park called ‘Hell’. There’s a mafioso Italian version and a Frank Sinatra Christmas version. There’s a Scottish version.
08:10 For World Audio Drama Day in 2018, we collaborated with four other audio dramas. I ‘frankensteined’ a whole bunch of themes into one theme. I butchered it, but it was a load of fun.
08:58 The opening of the track is a simple beep which creates suspense. I set the beep on the dominant (C over Fm).
09:35 There are five keyboard sounds: strings, rhodes, accordion, dream piano and a harpsichord. A mellotron joins in the B section for dreamy feeling.
10:35 The drums use subdivision emphasis to keep the momentum going. Everything else is very ‘oom-pah-pah’.
10:59 I have a habit of trying to make sense out of weird things. I try to find out what kind of chords these weird sounds have. The chords progression for this piece is a mix between phrygian and locrian. There’s a tritone interval which creates a sense of oddness that suits the eccentricity of the audio drama.
* Listen to The Amelia Project’s sound design special ‘Liquified Marzipan’ art19.com/shows/the-amelia-project/episodes/79ff5b6b-66b4-4735-b340-9f60ac715d47
MUSIC & SFX CREDITS
* Juan Cristobal Tapia de Veer – Theme from Dirk Gently (US)
* Daniel Pemberton – Theme from Dirk Gently (UK)
* Rolf Kent – Morning Routine from Dexter
* ZeSoundResearchInc. – Vinyl Backspin and Beat Scratch.wav
ABOUT THIS SHOW
How I Make Music is where behind-the-scenes musicians tell their own stories. Every Wednesday, we break apart a song, soundtrack or composition and investigate the insights into how it was made.
How I Make Music is created by John Bartmann johnbartmann.com