Join Windfall co-creator and composer Adam Raymonda in a fun-filled trip into audio drama sitcom Forgive Me!. A Catholic church called St. Patrick’s is the backdrop for an anthology of stories from a range of colorful parishioner characters, from the zany to the troubled, all rallying around the long-suffering Father Ben. An immersive listening experience. Headphones recommended.
The piece of music you’re listening to is called Forgive Me, main theme. It acts as the music that concludes each episode of the dramatic comedy podcast ‘Forgive Me’. You’re listening to How I Make Music, where audio drama composers tell their own stories. In the show, we break apart the music of a fictional podcast and take a trip into how it was made. My name is Adam Ramonda. I’m a composer and sound designer from upstate New York. And this is How I Make Music. Welcome back to How I Make Music. The Forgive Me main theme by me, Adam Raymonda. Thanks for listening. Forgive me is a delightful comedy about the sometimes funny, sometimes awkward and often confusing adventures of father Ben and his rather unusual congregate. It’s made by my production company, Rogue Dialogue and written and directed by Jack Marone and my brother, Bob Raymonda. Zany characters, fun and outrageous, but also wholesome and filled with a lot of heart.
One of the main influences that I came upon was John Brion’s music. Specifically channeling the score for I Heart Huckabees, an existential comedy from the mid-2000s and one of my favorite movies. This music really has like a sort of mid-2000s version of The Beatles, if that’s possible. Right? A lot of acoustic guitars and sweet melody. Layered with mellotron and harmonica and percussion or tuned percussion elements like glockenspiel. Um, and so there was a lot to sort of draw out from that.
Take a listen to this. That is the main stinger or little abbreviation of the theme that we use to start each episode of Forgive Me. I have really had that vocal melody in my head. Oh, don’t you Forgive Me. So I just layered in a bunch of me singing. When I listen back to it now, it really does sound like my early-2000s influences of Blink-182. Honestly, when I first wrote all of this, I didn’t really feel great about this theme because the show takes place in a Catholic church. I tried to find hymns and adapt one of them with some moderate instrument. Once I sort of figured out what I was going to use, this John Brion influence I needed to bring in the melody. So I pulled out, uh, my mandolin, which is kind of a cheap one and it sounds a little out of tune, but, uh, kind of gets the point across. Has a little bit of a chorusing effect on it because it’s so out of tune. Then it came down to that bassline, which really walks around some of the chords. Which was really something that someone like John Brion would use or Paul McCartney or The Beach Boys, any of that stuff.
Yeah, there’s a little bit of theory of that kind of goes into making this sound bittersweet. We get this kind of G major feeling, which is normally a happy sort of feeling. And then I play the C chord in that scale, which is normally a C major or a happy sort of chord. But when we flip it to a minor sort of sad type of tone alternating between those two really gives you this sort of sense of either bitter sweetness or longing. And you can hear this used in a lot of different popular songs, including something like Radiohead by Creep. I mean Creep by Radiohead. Damn it. Damn it. Yeah. Yeah. All right. Yeah, I said it right the first time.
With all this in mind, I was able to move into coming up with a longer version of this theme that could be used as our credits music or as a framework, as a recurring motif and the rest of the show. So I started with some acoustic guitars strumming away, pretty fast. I can’t play the actual drums myself. So I programmed them. I have some additional percussion, like tambourines and shakers. It’s a kind of bring some kind of organic element to that percussion to give it some light. It was time to fill things out with keyboards. The piano plays some of the single notes of the melody and then the organ kind of doubles up all of the chords and a little bit of the
I was just about there with this all set up, but then I went back and started listening to John’s Brion’s music. Again, I noticed that he fills up a lot of the kind of space in his compositions between his melodies by creating countermelody is that bridge those gaps. So I took the same approach here with some woodwinds and mellotron.
Mellotron was this instrument that took pieces of tape that had woodwinds or flutes or whatever sort of recorded already. And you could play them back sort of warbling. A little bit of like an orchestral feeling. It has a ton of character funny that I’m using samples of the first sample instrument. I filled this out with some lush sounding delayed guitars to give it sort of a contemplative feel.
Another thing that like here a lot in John Brion’s music is bells and other tuned percussion. So I layered in some clock and spiel that creates a melody for the section, glockenspiel, the Glock, the good old glock. I really wanted to bring those bells in because you hear em at a church, right? And in our fourth episode, we really have one character Clara who is St. Patrick’s bell-ringer. St. Patrick’s has decided to flesh out their musical ensemble. And she is not pleased because this place has only had the bells and she would like to keep it that way. Take a listen to Clara airing her grievances with father Ben.
A CATHOLIC SITCOM
We discussed how the show at its core, isn’t really about Catholicism, but it’s about people confronting and trying to come to terms with their own mistakes and imperfections as well as the Catholic church’s. When I first. All of this. It came out pretty quickly. So I was rushing through tracking everything, just to get the idea down. And in a lot of these tracks, there are a bunch of mistakes, timing, inconsistencies. I thought about going back to fix them before we put the show out to kind of like tighten everything up and make sure things were in tune. But I realized that by keeping the messy stuff in, I was embracing the heart of the show. Life can be a little bit messy and filled with mistakes, and sometimes it’s better to embrace them and just keep pressing forward.
That’s about it for this episode, we’ll listen to the full piece in just a moment. But before we do that, thank you for listening to How I Make Music. Catch new episodes on How I Make Music.com or wherever else. We’ve been listening to the music featured in the audio drama called Forgive Me by Rogue Dialogue. To hear the full story or to check out my other work, follow the links in the show notes. We video recorded this episode, check it out and support the musicians of audio drama by becoming a patron at Patreon.com/HowIMakeMusic . How I Make Music is created by John Bartmann. My name is Adam Raymonda. This is actually my second time on the show. You can check out episodes 89 and 90 if you want to hear me break apart to the main theme to Windfall, a dystopian science fiction podcast. And now here’s the Forgive Me title theme in its entirety. Thanks for listening to How I Make Music. Catch you next time.
Forgive Me roguedialogue.com/fm-about
Adam Raymonda adamraymonda.com/
Music: Jon Brion – Knock Yourself Out
Music: Blink-182 – All The Small Things
Music: Radiohead – Creep
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How I Make Music is where audio drama composers get to tell their own stories. In a dramatically edited sound experience, we challenge composers to break apart a song, soundtrack or composition and get into why and how it was made.
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