Music Design – Bet Boss

My Lotto is the most successful lottery product in Kenya.

They approached us to make a commercial for their newest product ‘BetBoss’ which, after many iterations, we finally produced. That commercial might be covered in a different post.

However, for me, the more interesting part of the project was the music.

They wanted a character, and music to fit him.. ‘The Boss’.. ‘Who’s the Boss’ ? He’s a mysterious figure that we never clearly see. He’s important and has influence etc, and he uses ‘Bet Boss’.. of course.

So, during the development of the commercial and the exploration of ‘The Boss’, we had many different ideas. One of the directions was to feel like an intro to a TV show. I went through all my favourites, and remembered the ‘The Professionals’ from the early 80’s.. this led to more exploration.

The music from the Professionals written by Laurie Johnson had a great ‘big-band’ feel, like ‘The Sweeny’ from the same period. Something that also resonated was ‘Shaft’, and specifically ‘Shaft In Africa’.

Although the creative direction of the commercial took many turns, when we laid out the animatic, a cut up version of various parts of ‘Shaft In Africa’ seemed to fit really well.

Now clearly, I couldn’t simply use the original, but I wanted to capture the feel of those classic tracks.

So, I started where I like to start.. tinkering with my Fairlight CMI.

I’m lucky enough that it has some really decent Brass samples on it – I believe made by Hans Zimmer, who was a Fairlight aficionado, and due to some recent developments in the Fairlight world, it sounds like he will be bringing out his Fairlight once again.

 

 

 

I mapped out the pace and scope of the commercial, making sure to leave enough space for the dialogue. I got a really pretty decent soundalike pretty quickly. Then I had to join the two parts together, and start actually changing it to be ‘different’ enough so as not to get into any legal issues, not that anyone here in Kenya cares about such things like ‘copyright’.

With the CMI synced to my logic setup, I added the drums, and bass. As I didn’t have a 6 string electric nearby, I basically pitch shifted my bass up and added a nice wah-wah on it.

 

Listening to them side by side, I feel that I basically ‘re-arranged’ the music – I kinda didn’t create anything new, even thought I did completely recreate a ‘version’ – so there is nothing from the original in there, but even though I played everything in the version you hear, it really is simply paying homage to the original and incredible scores.

I added a room sound that was kinda boomy 60’s sounding.. a little untamed sounding, but I like it.

 

Co-incidentally – JZ’s ‘Show me what you got’ is basically a cut up version of Johnny Pete’s music in the ‘Shaft In Africa’ album… it’s copy-paste.


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