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ONE IS ALL! Our anime opening part 3: The Music ONE IS ALL! Our anime opening part 3: The Music
Showreel Part 3 Title Image blau

ONE IS ALL! Our anime opening part 3: The Music

As some of you know, when creating our showreels, we try out different film genres every year. In 2019 it was "Anime", the popular Japanese animation format. For this, I made it my task to write and record the music myself.

Martin has already written about the production of the visual layer in two nice blog posts (here and here); in the following I describe the approach and the creation of the two songs that accompany the anime intro (and outro) and meanwhile can be heard on Spotify.

A wild Anime-Song appears ...

The research phase essentially started with viewing and analyzing numerous anime intros. A representative example would be the intro to the series "Gurren Lagann":

Typical characteristics of the soundtracks soon became apparent: Often, a short musical prelude to the inserted series title opens the performance. After that, mostly more quiet parts begin, which lead into the story and underline the characters in detail as well as their friendships and positive characteristics. After that, the story continues in a fast and driving way to support action-packed scenes. For fight and action scenes the music often picks up speed and also moves into the metal direction.

As a former guitarist of a punk rock band, I was no stranger to the planned music style, even if I wanted to make the melodies more poppy than the music we played back then. About that time back then ...

Tiny Voices

So for me the planned song consisted mainly of the following parts:

Intro to Logo – calm Verse – Refrain – Metal Bridge - Guitar solo – Metal Bridge & End

For the end credits, text insertions to cute characters were planned, accordingly I tried to create the music in a different, more cheerful, "lighter" direction.

The guitar and bass tracks were quickly found and recorded on the laptop at home, as was the piano for the outro. Quality still played a subordinate role:

Solo

In the first instance, the drums were rudimentarily hummed or "beatboxed" into the cell phone. That sounded like this:

Drums

I then re-programmed them in Ableton Live, added the guitar and bass tracks and after a short time I had two raw versions of the songs. I added a hummed vocal track to the intro, and for the outro we had the help of a person who was to play an important role in the realization - more about that later.

Go beyond! The lyrics

The lyrics of anime songs are often about love, friendships, the power to believe in yourself and the almost impossible overcoming of obstacles through love, friendships or the power to believe in yourself. We wanted to bring these clichés into the lyrics. So we generated two English song lyrics on a fun and cheerful evening, which mixed these anime passages with insider jokes, customer quotes and texts from our productions and - together they made absolutely no sense. In short: exactly what we wanted to achieve.

Lyrics Ideas

Lost in translation

For the authenticity we wanted to translate the lyrics into Japanese language. With all the fun we had so far with the creation of the songs, it was very important to us not to offend anybody or even to work in a cultural-racist direction. And: None of us spoke Japanese.
A friend of mine established the contact with musician Namiho Kuno, an incredibly talented and likeable singer from Hawaii with Japanese roots. A stroke of luck! She was immediately fond of the project, helped us to translate the lyrics, found a melody for the outro and finally sang both songs.

Recording Session

Final fantasy

Like so often, our good friend Horst Schnattler and his recording studio Klangkulisse gave the production the necessary professionalism. All instruments were recorded again, this time Horst accompanied me on drums.

Namiho gave her best at the microphone. Afterwards, some minor corrections were made, the guitar solo was recorded in twenty attempts (I was a bit out of practice), and finally Horst refined, mixed and mastered it. Success!

And here again the final result for your viewing and listening pleasure: