Carl Sondrol

Composer and music producer

Filtering by Tag: interview

Catch up

I’m overdue for a post- if you’re not on my email list, here are some highlights since last time:


While I was visiting AZ in December, my sister Ann and I interviewed Mom about her life. We’re so glad to get some of her stories on the record. e.g. when she was ~10 years old, she decided to get rid of a massive anthill with gasoline and accidentally set part of the house on fire! First she tried putting it out with her Alaskan Malamute’s water bucket. That didn’t work, but bought her enough time to get the garden hose and finish the job.


Speaking of pets, my parents’ dog Ben is still afraid of me for being a tall person. I know it’s hard to believe, but he’s hiding somewhere in the above photo.



And as far as work stuff:


Jenn Medvin and Marcus MacDougald’s Little Hero has been making the festival rounds- from Belgrade to Nevada City to DOC NYC to St. Louis where it won a Crystal Gator (the award that deserves an award.)

This article calls my score “quirkily appropriate”. NICE. It’s kazoo on every score from here on out, k?

I’ve also been doing some recording lately, both at my place..


Poet and performer Mayda Del Valle

… and at Narnack Studios with the great engineer Griffin Rodriguez:


Andrew Conrad (bari), Walt Simonsen (trumpet), Ryan Dragon (trombone)


Brandon Dickert (drums), Griffin Rodriguez (hiding in the control room)

There is really nothing quite like recording great musicians live in a great room with a great engineer. I don’t miss my Chicago days of tracking everything in the kitchen!

I’m on a Timeboxing hiatus at the moment while I finish a bigger project, but here are the latest two if you haven’t caught ‘em yet:

Will and Vince both had great & insightful stuff to say. As a bonus, Will’s interview is laced with previews of my Little Hero score :)

That’s all for now!

What is a Mullet?

Well, hello again. I had the pleasure of creating music and sound design for this charmingly funny video by my friend Giga Shane.. in which he interviews his parents to gather their theories on the age-old question: “What is a Mullet?”

I brought in some lovely live musicians for this one including:

Bass Clarinet: Eleanor WeigertBassoon: Brittany SeitsCello: Heather McIntoshVocals: Angeline Gragasin

I added some humming, then dusted off the accordion, broken guitar, and even some whole wheat spaghetti to season the music with the right mood for this bizarre conversation.

Special thanks to Richard Howarth for some very detailed work in helping get the dialog levels under control!

Speaking of… this conversation was recorded casually on an iphone, which presented some interesting challenges from a post audio perspective. Who wants to geek out!? Bear with me and I’ll reward you with a few pictures in a moment.

Usually when I’m processing vocals (from a singer tracked in studio for example), they’ve been recorded at a pretty constant distance from the microphone. Microphones will respond differently depending on how far away a sound source is, so this contact distance is helpful because it will yield a relatively consistent balance as far as low, mid, and hi frequencies in the voice. However, in this case Giga and his parents are at different distances from the iPhone which resulted in this scenario:

  • Giga (close to mic): More “harsh” or “bright” frequencies, louder volume
  • Parents (further from mic): More hiss and “muddy” frequencies (more of the “room noise”), softer volume

Since there is music underneath the dialog, it’s important for the speaking to be consistent as possible… from an EQ perspective AND a volume perspective. This will help it be more intelligible, and not as easily covered by the music.

Fortunately there are really cool “dynamic EQ” plugins built for just this type of scenario. I was able to apply a specific EQ setting for Giga (to tame the harshness) and a very different EQ setting to his parents (to reduce the hiss and muddiness).. and automatically transition between these in cases where the phone or the person speaking is moving. That is really really cool, right?

After improving the EQ balance of all the dialog, the overall volume levels could be dealt with using envelopes and compression.

Hmmm, as I seem to have gone on and on about the sound design / mix side, I will summarize the music side quickly: super fun! As promised, a few session photos:

Brittany Seits, Bassoonist Extraordinaire:

O, the delicate timbre of whole wheat thin spaghetti:

Carpe Millenium in the 2010 Director's Circle

Above is a sneak-preview of the 15-minute film Carpe Millennium by the very talented writer/director Eric Bednarowicz. It involves a guy trying to lose his virginity on the eve of the year 2000 by telling increasingly bold lies about knowing a celebrity. I had a lot of fun scoring it last year.

Eric recently informed me the film has been accepted into the 2010 Director’s Circle.. Carpe being one of only 32 narrative shorts selected from 2500 entries from 40 countries… not bad!

It’s also had a lot of other festival activity- the full list as of this posting:

  • Winner: The 2010 Accolade Film Award
  • Winner: The Golden Kahuna Award For Excellence In Filmmaking (2010 Honolulu Film Festival)
  • Winner: The Silver Ace Award (2010 Las Vegas Film Festival)
  • Official Selection:  The Los Angeles United Film Festival
  • Official Selection:  The Chicago International Reel Short Film Festival
  • Official Selection:  The Hoboken International Film Festival
  • Official Selection:  The Charleston International Film Festival
  • Official Selection:  The Geneva Film Festival
  • Official Selection:  The Alabama International Film Festival
  • Official Selection:  The Chicago United Film Festival
  • Official Selection:  The Riverside International Film Festival
  • Official Selection:  The Reality Bytes Independent Film Festival
  • Honorable Mention:  The National Undergraduate Film Festival

Whew.. kudos to Eric and the rest of our team!

The score was a nice challenge. Much of my job was to enhance the lead character’s neurosis.  I used various light percussion for this, including the sound of condom wrappers tearing and the SMACK of a condom being stretched and let go… a 3AM idea I’m pretty happy about. Anything for the perfect score!

Check out for more info - you can also read Eric’s interview at interview

In anticipation of today’s Webby Awards ceremony in NYC, I was interviewed by HollywoodChicago:

CHICAGO – Carl Sondrol is on a huge winning streak. The musician, composer and soundtrack scorer for is a vital part of the Webby Award winning shorts “Web Site Story” and “Pixar Intro Parody.” His work has also expanded into television, short films and feature films.

[read more…]