Making of Panda: Music Production
Here’s the second post of our Making of Panda series. This time we’ll talk about music production.
The background music of an app, game or movie is something people usually doesn’t value much, as the visual elements is what they remember most, but it matters more than you may think. Have you tried watching a suspense or horror movie without sounds? It’s not scary at all, because it’s the music that sets the mood.
That’s a very interesting and fun part of the creative process, there are several aspects we had to consider before making any song. For each scene we had to think of what we wanted the children to feel, what style of music that should be, which instruments we wanted in it and what should be the tempo of the song. Then we looked for songs to be used as reference for one aspect or the other, so our music producer could have an idea of what to do.
As Panda is quite a cute story for kids, even that most references we got weren’t designed for children, we made sure that all songs included instruments with a childish timbre, like xylophone and kalimba.
Our music producer is very talented and did an awesome job turning all those aspects we wanted into the final songs you hear in the app. He’s very good at that, try to guess what this song was before he turned it into a kids song in a project of his own. Hint: it’s Ramones.
Want to know what we wanted the kids to feel in Panda’s scenes? I’ll tell you about the second last scene, which was the climax of the story and the most interesting from the creative point of view.
The climax is when Panda, despite of what his mother told him, runs after the birds and ends up in trouble. That’s kind of a “boss” scene, Panda is lost and have to find a way to get back home, so we should create a suspense, making the song a bit tense, which is usual for this scenario. That was our first thought, but when we were working on the design for this scene we realized that would make children fear it and ultimately dislike and even avoid it! We definitely didn’t want that. It’s one of the funniest scenes to play with. We had to change the idea for this song and fortunately we had not started working on it yet, but what would we change it to? We didn’t have a clue, that was a climax “boss” scene, it couldn’t be just any song.
It took a few days but our creative director came up with a very good idea. It couldn’t be tense, so what other feeling would fit on that climax? We found the answer should be: excitement. By changing the concept for the song we transformed that scene from possibly fearful to very exciting. The cat is lost but the feeling is of an adventure and instead of fear we incited motivation! To accomplish that we resorted to our very good old punk rock.
The main reference was The Clash and Ramones. Check it out:
Very cool, right? The other scenes were a bit easier but they followed the same process. When Panda runs after the birds we wanted it to sound like action-comedy and our creative direction found that Chuck Berry was the best reference. The music box song on the scene Panda sleeps is actually a song from the 17th century! And on the first scene we wanted the music to be playful and funny until Panda started climbing the furniture, then it was supposed to change to an adventurous song which was entirely produced and even packaged within the app. But it was never used.
One last thing, can you guess what song starts playing on the radio in the first scene? If you guess, I can send you a few promo codes to download the app for free and an original drawing of Panda that you can print and give your kids to color it.
That’s it! I hope you liked it. On another post we’ll talk about how we created the sound effects like scratching, meowing and show some photos! Keep in touch!