Chariots of Fire – A Tribute to Vangelis

We are excited to share our latest music video! A tribute to Vangelis–the legendary Electronic Music composer from Greece. Vangelis was especially known for some famous soundtracks, most notably Blade Runner and the theme to Chariots of Fire which was a hit in the 1980’s.

As much as I love the Blade Runner soundtrack, we chose to work on Chariots of Fire because it seemed like it would be more fun and family friendly. The production pushed the limits of our homespun skills as we learned how to use a greenscreen to transform our tiny living room into a theatre. Musically, it was challenging to update this well-known piece in our own way while staying true enough to the original. I was excited to use a special synth: a custom Arp 2600 clone–TTSH which I built with a friend.

One of the reasons it took me so long to finish this project was that I began my journey into modular synthesis last winter. I didn’t realize how addictive and expensive this would be! It soon consumed all my free time–from building modules to learning how to patch, it was a very nerdy winter. However, I also recorded a lot of my modular explorations and recently released an album under the alias Andrew Voltage.

If you haven’t already seen the original Vangelis video, I recommend checking it out here—you’ll enjoy seeing the references from our spoof.

And here is our version. I hope you enjoy our homespun homage to Vangelis—Chariots of Fire!

The Secret Origin of Batman’s Theme Song!

Here’s a little project from the archives that I recently edited and remixed. A few years ago, Hudson and I used to pretend play Batman and Robin all the time, so I taught him the classic 1960’s Batman TV theme song on the piano. Eventually, I decided to cover the song with Hudson and make a video. It was our 2nd big project together and he worked on it with me like a champ! He was just 4 years old at the time.

For the music production, I only had a couple of synths back then. We mainly featured Hudson’s Casio MT-68, a classic mini keyboard from the 1980’s that I had originally purchased when I was a kid. We also used a MicroKorg for vocoding and the other synth sounds including bass. The music production software was Ableton Live and I cut the video with Final Cut Pro X.

Fun details:

  • We paid tribute to the legendary Amen Break during Hudson’s battle-dance at :52.
  • When Robin suggests going to the Bat Studio to make a theme song, Batman is out of the chair before Robin even finishes speaking. lol!
  • What classic record is in some of the shots?
  • Why does Robin have a tag on his cape? Ha!

As our skills improve, our latest productions have a little more attention to detail but for me, this video preserves some very special playtimes for us. It makes me happy and I hope you enjoy—The Secret Origin of Batman’s Theme Song!

Father-Son Cover of The Robots by Kraftwerk

My 2016 winter project with Hudson is finished! Here are some notes about the production process.

Backstory: I discovered Kraftwerk when I was around 11 years old and became a huge fan. They inspired my love of electronic music–which I now enjoy sharing with my son. When a friend suggested that we should cover a Kraftwerk song, I knew The Robots would be fun to work on…

In addition to teaching my son about the production process and having fun with synths, I wanted to learn more about how Kraftwerk crafted their arrangements. It was also a great opportunity to study sound design and learn how to use some of my new synthesizers.

Almost all of the synths used to make the track were in the video: a Moog Mother-32 for bass, Roland JU-06 for chordal parts, Korg Arp Odyssey for various synth parts and a PO-12 Pocket Operator–a tiny drum machine by Teenage Engineering. Off-screen, we used a Novation MiniNova for Vocoding and I also layered a custom kick and clap to boost the PO-12 beat.

We loosely based our video off of the 1970s original from Kraftwerk. I made our neckties by soldering an led light kit. I used Ableton Live 9 for music production and Final Cut Pro X to edit the video. And, I had a little help with color correction from Hudson’s Mom, Scarlet–an awesome graphic designer. Also, Hudson insisted on having the counter on his head (at :23) so Scarlet helped photoshop his photo.

Check out the original version by Kraftwerk if you haven’t already seen and heard it:

Hudson and Andrew cover Voyager by Daft Punk

I had my first music collaboration with my son when he was 3. We both loved Daft Punk so I thought it might be fun to cover Voyager, from the legendary Discovery album. Voyager has a deep, soulful chord progression and I wanted to produce the song with just samples from toys and instruments in my son’s room. I did, however, bring in my electric bass and fretted the notes while Hudson picked and plucked the strings.

It turned out to be a really fun project. Hudson was a great sport and we had a lot of fun recording everything that made a sound in his room. We’ve continued our tradition of making music and videos together and I look forward to sharing more of our work here soon.

We hope you enjoy our ‘Playtime’ cover of Voyager!