Carl Sondrol

Composer and music producer

Filtering by Tag: streeter seidell

Auto-Correct Love Song

Here’s a song I produced for my friends at CollegeHumor. Directed by Ben Joseph, lyrics by Streeter Seidell, and VFX by the wizards at Gloo Studios.

Before I talk about the track, I just want to give major props to the two amazing singers I brought in for this one: Maurice Smith and his friend Dejah Gomez. I can’t thank them enough for taking the time to bring their world-class musicianship to this ballad about cell phone technology.

You may remember Maurice from his amazing vocal work on the demanding Boyz-II-Men track we worked on a while back. Maurice was one of the first singers I worked with after moving to LA.. and was a real wake-up call to how insane the level of talent is out here. Here’s one of my favorite live clips of Maurice:

Dejah is equally stunning… as you’re read in her bio, she’s sung with Justin Timberlake at the Grammys, Al Green, Smokey Robinson, Mariah Carey, and the list goes on. Here’s a hilarious clip of her signing a duet with the great Stevie Wonder:

Making the backing track was fun, too: music-wise, Streeter wanted a RnB slow jam with a sort of sung-spoken approach to the vocals. So, I listened to a bunch of Usher songs and R. Kelly’s infamous ‘Trapped in the Closet’. Usher-y arrangements seems to be all about keeping the drums very tight/dry sounding, and the arrangement pretty minimal as most of the activity is in the vocals. This actually worked out really well in our case since we have a LOT of lyrics in this track and want to make sure they remain the focus. I threw in a musical accent here and there (piano, claps, whooshes, etc) and that seemed to do the trick.

I made a scratch track with some vocal melody ideas but Maurice and Dejah’s parts were largely ad-libbed. Directing world-class singers when you’re not a singer is equal parts embarrassing and hilarious :)

edit: as an added bonus, check out this video Maurice just released:

An original song about the Internet

This is one of my favorite recent projects, for a few reasons:

First, I got to write all the music and had a good amount of creative freedom. Expert internet humorist Streeter Seidell wrote the meme-packed lyrics and gave some basic direction (a deep sexy voice rapping the verses with occasional singing, a chorus that “swells”, etc). I had fun layering in different stuff to build as the song goes on… pianos, vibes, mellotron, synthesizers, and even brass.

Secondly, I got to work with some great musicians. Will Wheaton is featured in the verses, and seems to have the deepest sexiest voice in LA (he’s subbed for Isaac Hayes on Southpark if that gives you an idea of his caliber). He’s extremely hardworking and nailed all the details.

Singer/actor Matt Geiler is the prominent voice in the chorus and you can also hear him “emoting” throughout the verses. He had me laughing a lot during the session with his spot-on pop adlibs.

I also brought in my friend Greg Nicolett to season the last chorus with trombone and I played some trumpet as well.

Josh Ruben directed the video. Enjoy!

A Beatles Parody

Here’s another song I produced with lyrics by prolific parodist Streeter Seidell.

When I first started listening to music as a kid the only CDs I had were by the Beach Boys and the Beatles.. and to this day I never get tired of revisiting them. This was my first time, however, recreating a Beatles track from the ground up and it was definitely a good learning experience. There are some pretty bold creative choices in the original mix such as:
  • the bass and acoustic guitar are extremely compressed
  • the electric guitars are mixed very high towards the end
  • the vocals have a very strong slap-back delay (pretty typical for lennon, of course)

In my opinion, all this results in an overall sound that’s pretty compelling & interesting.. a nice reminder that experimentation and non-intuitive choices can lead to a much cooler result than playing it safe.

Props to Matt Geiler on vocals, Max Crowe on guitar & bass, Jon Steinmeier on drum sequencing.

The Old Man and the Seymour

In case you haven’t seen it, here’s one of my favorite past scoring projects. It’s a 30-minute film by the very talented duo of Jonathan Grimm and Giancarlo Fiorentini in which a 47-year-old, growth hormone deficient man gets mistaken for a new kid at his nephew’s high school, where he quickly becomes the most popular student.

It features Steeter and Amir of CollegeHumor, Shawn Harrison (Family Matters), Liz Cackowski (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), and Jordan Carlos (Colbert Report).

More from Jon & Giancarlo soon!