Opening up Netflix, you begin scrolling through an endless queue of titles, searching for the next binge-worthy show. When you finally find the perfect option, you can hear that sigh of ‘finally’ from your viewing partner — you’d forgotten they were still in the room. Hitting that Play button, the show's opening consumes every ounce of your attention, hooking you into watching another episode. Then another. Then sure, one more.
But before the show even ventures into the good stuff, the opening credits are providing some kind of context and overview — whether the viewer notices it or not. In a lot of cases, it’s the imagery flashing beneath the unfolding text credits, but even more so, the opening music slyly sets up the whole tone, creating the telltale mood. And it all happens within the matter of a few seconds.
It’s an example of music being used as a “hook” — an element that pulls the audience in and aimed at convincing them to continue watching. It’s not by happenstance that music is placed strategically in the beginning of TV shows or movies (or an intentional absence of music, in some cases). It’s there to serve a purpose.
Understanding the importance of “hype” music is what prompted Farnell Newton and Rasheed Jamal to set out to explore this specific musical craft — a category that would pump up the listener’s adrenaline, whether it be subconscious or not. “We want to create that big sound,” Farnell says. “Something that isn’t too specific, but music that gets people worked up and inspired.” And so the collaboration coined as Fresh Fades was formed.
With Farnell's extensive background in composing and performing as a jazz trumpeter, he looks to Rasheed to fuel the hip hop energy — the rap artist providing powerful vocals over each piece. And it all started when the duo caught onto the catchiness of their creations when stumbling upon on a high-energy commercial.
“We found this beats commercial and when we put our song to it, literally everything lined up perfectly,” says Farnell.
Apart from their deep roots in producing and creating music themselves, both Farnell and Rasheed also work alongside fellow artists and musicians on the daily. It’s the perfect storm for keeping eyes on the changing media landscapes and what this means for in-demand music.
Take video games as an example, you’ll notice how energetic music is implemented at the start of most video games or even added to counteract the dreaded loading screen. “From the minute you turn on a video game, the music that comes on gets you revved up, hyped up. It’s all about getting you ready to go,” says Farnell.
It’s an exciting new frontier for technology intermingling with music, but also for the Fresh Fades collab. What’s up and coming for the collaborative?
“An “NBA2K” placement would be a dream goal,” says Rasheed. “Every time someone hits Pause, our music would play."