Early last year, I worked on a kids’ animation series called Food Dudes, which is currently doing the rounds in primary schools throughout the UK. 

It’s a lighthearted educational series that aims to encourage children to eat more fruit and vegetables.  I was approached by one of the UK’s leading animating studios, RJDM to basically look after the sound side of things; all the music, sound effects and some of the dubbing.

The first episode I worked on was the under-fives episode, which was an absolute joy to do.  The sound effects could be as bonkers as I wanted, I recorded a local lad doing the voiceover for Rocco and the Food Dudes song came together really easily.

The song had to be melodic with inspiring lyrics about eating fruit and vegetables.  Musically, what I created was pretty simple, but very catchy; the time I’d spent watching Cbeebies with my daughter had finally paid off!

For the main episodes, I was utilising a number of skills including creating sound effects and music on and as-and-when basis.

The sound effects were particularly fun; I recall sitting in my studio impersonating a chimpanzee, eating a load of raw vegetables to get the right crunch sounds, recording the sound of friends breaking wind to get the squelchy noises for the huge greasy hamburgers and recreating the Food Dudes song as an eight-bit computer game sound.  I also got to recreate the sounds of space shuttles and rockets.  Pretty cool.

I was also called on to do little musical idents and backing music on the go.  Looking back, I’m quite impressed with some of the music I came up with, particular one track that sounds like The Cure during a chase scene (who’d have thought that would work?) and a pumping mid-eighties hair rock track for a football scene.

But probably the biggest challenge was the Food Dudes song, which, for quite a simple song, took a lot of hard work and a number of weeks to get right.  The original idea was to have a punky, uptempo version of the Under-Fives song but I was also asked to try High School Musical style, mainstream pop style, R&B style, and even a three-part song containing elements of all three!  Some bits worked, some didn’t, and thankfully we returned to the punky style, which I think all kids would go for.

The whole project was great fun to work on, was challenging in a good way, and the clients seemed really impressed with my work on it:

Mihela Erjavec of Bangor University, who is one of the people in charge of the Food Dudes project, said: “Ben wrote really catchy lively children’s songs for us, and he also did sound.  We were really happy with his contributions and he was a pleasure to work with!”

Ricky O’Donnell, Creative Director at RJDM Studios, said: “Ben has always delivered work at an extremely high quality and I would not hesitate in recommending Ben for Music Composition, Sound Effects and Lyrical writing. He always gives 110% and is a joy to work with.”

I love working on kids’ programmes as you have a licence to makes bonkers sounds and funny bits of music.  One of my plans for 2014 is to get more of these kinds of jobs!



By Ben Haynes