Posts tagged #Commuter

Field Notes: An interview with Marmoset Producers Rob Dennler & Tim Shrout

Communication is everything.  Especially when it comes to locking in the right soundtrack to film. Marmoset producers Rob Dennler (pictured left) & Tim Shrout (pictured right) make this point clear.

We got the filmmakers perspective in our interview with Trun Pence from Instrument. He gave insight into his vision when working on the recent Levi's Commuter video series. Finding the perfect vibe in the soundtrack was essential for him—enter Rob and Tim. 

Now, getting the production perspective, we chatted with Dennler and Shrout about how they orchestrated the perfect score through clear communication and collaboration with Pence.

M: What was the general direction/vibe you were working with? 

RB: Well, the overall direction for music on this project was a kind of retro soul/funk revival sort of sound. We talked a lot with Truen and the team about music. They provided us with a ton of inspirational references to chew on initially. 

TS: We were working with a refined, energetic aesthetic, and a classic/vintage feel — These pieces were calls to action.

M: What was the revision process like?

RB: Everything moved pretty fast, and the notes were usually very specific. We would typically receive feedback from the team within a few ours of our deliveries, and then jump on a call to further discuss everyone's thoughts. The quick turnaround and open dialogue was really helpful for us in maintain a clear focus on our objectives and really allowed us to stay in the zone. 

TS: There were lots of revisions for NYC in particular.  Timing was very important as the cut was changing as we were working.  The sonic palette was really important for this one, so we added live drums on a vintage kit and added real horns rather than relying on samples.  It needed to sound like it was a band in a room. Getting to that point took a lot of back and forth.

M: How do you feel the music compliments this piece?

RB: Each of the artists in the series have very different backgrounds, live in different cities, and each has his own unique approach to life and how they make art. Taking all of that into consideration, we sought out match the tone, style, and energy of the music to their individual personas and environments, so that the music was truly a soundtrack, reflective of who they are and where the come from. 

TS: The NYC vignette has a classic, urban grit and soul to it.  A little dingy to complement the subway shots and the old furniture, but also driving to support the outdoor/riding scenes. As for the London vignette, it’s fun — showcases the character’s sheer enjoyment of life.

M: What were some possible ways that this might not have worked?

RB: Really, I think it just came down to us having such clear communication with Truen and the team from the very beginning. So, I suppose if we were to remove that aspect of the project, the open forum we had with them, and replace it with a more rigid or ambiguous structure, I would guess that our results would have been far less successful. 

TS: We could have gone too dark or serious with both of them.  More modern sounds might have made it feel too much like an ad. 

M: What value do you find in custom music in projects like this? 

RB: I find value in collaborating with filmmakers to develop a musical identity for their project. It is rewarding knowing that we help to fulfill their creative vision, while giving musicians an opportunity to craft truly memorable and evocative compositions they can be proud of.  

TS: There's value in the ability to tie in the music with the project’s overall aesthetic. We were involved before they even started shooting.  Truen and the rest of the team had a vision that we were clued in on from the start. So they were able to make decisions while shooting and editing with full confidence that the music would support the piece.  And we had a stronger connection to the project because we felt fully responsible for the music.  We were given responsibility and plenty of creative freedom.

Guest DJ: Truen Pence, Filmmaker

We're excited to present our new mixtape Motown Sounds. This collection of tracks has enough vintage vibes and soulful beats to make James Brown proud. 

When we interviewed Filmmaker, Truen Pence about his recent work on the Levi's Commuter video series, he spoke about searching for the perfect soundtrack that paid homage to the locations he was filming. His search called for Motown-inspired songs that had a high energy rhythm section.

Inspired by Pence's work, we've collected songs packed with all the brass, soul and fiery grooves you'd ever want. Perfect for picking up the mood in your project.



Levi's Commuter series hits the streets of Oakland

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Over the last few weeks, Levi's has been unveiling their new Commuter film series, riding along with different movers and shakers in the different parts of the world. We've had an amazing time collaborating with our good friends at Instrument on this project.

First, they took you to New York with Kyle Garner of Sit and Read Furniture, then sped you through the bustling streets of London with Poet/Musician James Massiah. Now, with the final installment in tow, you now land in Oakland following along Tyrone Stevenson Jr, who does amazing work with the Scraper Bike Movement.

In this beautiful portrait, you get a glimpse of the impactful service that Stevenson Jr provides to the youth and community through bicycle maintenance. There are so many striking scenes in slow motion, including one of him leading a literal parade of flamboyant, colorful bikes down the sunny streets of Oakland.

One of the common threads throughout the entire film series is the vintage, yet timeless vibe in the soundtrack. We went with a groovy, retro direction that payed homage to the urban landscape and gave space to the chill narrative of each piece.

For this particular vignette, we worked with gorgeously sparse soulful track "More (Blues)" by ARP. It was the perfect track that feels almost like a lullaby with the coolest horns, drifting along with the serene mood of this film. 

Take a tour of New York in the new Levi's "Commuter" film

Levi's just released the first of their new "Commuter" summer series of films, and things couldn't have started with more style. We had a lot of fun working with our buddies at Instrument on this one.

This inaugural video rides around NYC with Kyle Garner, owner of Sit and Read Furniture. The scenery is bustling and full of life, showcasing the grit and beauty that is to unique to The Big Apple.

As mentioned previously in an earlier post, Marmoset's Original Music Team took the path of a modern Motown vibe, crafting a chill, vintage sound that resonates cooly fresh, yet at the same time, familiar and timeless.

Using the city as a muse, we paid respect to the urban landscape while adding a flare of soul into our score.

Starting out with warm bass grooves and organ textures, the soundtrack lays a rich bedding underneath the narration throughout the film. Keeping things steady, the music ascends into focus with lively percussion and horn arrangements, bursting out at the seams.

Stay tuned for more explorations in this Levi's exclusive film series.

Take a chill commute with Levi's new trailer "The Ride"

Being the bike-friendly city that Portland is, we naturally jumped on the chance to collaborate with Levi’s on their most recent project for their commuter line jeans, “designed for and by bicyclists.”

Entering into the fifth season of their commuter line, Levi’s will release a series of film shorts focused on bicycle commuters, beginning with “The Ride,” a short look into the lives and outlooks of three commuters in different parts of the world. We teamed with Levi’s, and Portland creative agency Instrument, to craft an original soundtrack to the documentary-style vignettes, focused on creating a classic and comfortable vibe.

Rob Dennler, Marmoset’s head Producer, worked with a snake pit of composers to craft the original soundtrack for these films, with some inspiration from Motown, but with a modern approach.

“After exploring several directions, we landed on a hybrid of 70’s film score-meets-Motown-era funk and soul kind of band,” Rob says. “It sort of embodies a chill, vintage sound that in the end, we’re all very pleased with.”

Over the course of the summer, we’ll share the film series with you as it unfolds, featuring original sounds from Rob and the Marmoset crew throughout. In the meantime, you can check out the preview here: