I was approached recently to supply bespoke music to this fantastic animated promotional film for Hyundai.

The initial deadline was pretty short, and I kind of love tight deadlines as I get adrenalised and inspired and things move really quickly.  (When I’m finished, it feels like the brain has had a gym workout and I reward it with ale.)  Also, it’s good to not have the time to over-think the music.  Keeps things fresh.

The composition itself is a deceptively simple one, with subtle changes over the course of the video.  I could have kept the initial theme going but instead I varied the chords slightly, reversed them every now and then, to keep the feel of progression going – after all, that is the theme of the video.

I got chance to flex my reggae muscles (which don’t get flexed very often but I do believe I will be flexing them more).  I also got to throw a bit of scrappy punk-metal in when the teenager switches the car stereo on, which was quite fun to build into the song.

With animation, I feel the music has to tie in with the images more than with filmed videos, so you really work to ensure that things in the music are happening in all the right places.  Then the real challenge comes when the initial animation changes; with this project, the length of the quieter sections (where the old man is on the bus, in the rain etc) changed quite dramatically and completely out of time with the music, so I basically had to re-record those sections again, in freetime.  My jazz hands were working overtime.

Anyway, here’s the video, which at the time of writing has had over 40,000 hits on Youtube:

Here’s the music on its own, with no video or sound effects:

And for the musicians out there, here’s the Logic project.  The top seven tracks are all guitars.  We have the offbeat reggae chops (double tracked), a guitar following the bass riff, some ambient interludes, slide guitar (after the main character sees the girl) and African flavoured mute guitar towards the end.  Then we have an electric bass (my trusty Paul McCartney viola bass – it can do anything), a chilled organ, marimba and glockenspiel, electric drums triggering BFD samples, separate snare/rim/timbale sounds, tons of shakers, some wedding bells and a partridge in a pear tree.

As always, everything was played live and I didn’t loop or quantise anything.  So I think it’s got a lovely live sound to it.

Note how my working title for the tune was Ready Reggae.  I do give my songs some ridiculous titles.

RJDM were very pleased with the music and we’ve worked together since; including another animation for a Cambridge Cognition app – I’ll blog about that one in the future).

Random fact about the project: I quite fancy the girl in the animation.

By Ben Haynes