Archive for August, 2019|Monthly archive page

Under Covers: a Vimeo Staff Pick

In Uncategorized on August 4, 2019 at 3:53 pm

A while back, I composed and recorded the music for this gem of an animated short. It premiered at Sundance and then played a series of festivals before landing on Vimeo as a Staff Pick. I’m tremendously proud of the success and reception Under Covers has had. And I’m honored to have worked with the brilliant Michaela Olsen and Mighty Oak.

Watch Under Covers in its entirety.

Under Covers from Mighty Oak on Vimeo.


There were a couple interesting challenges in scoring this film. One of which was the nature of having several vignettes tie the story together. I found myself asking questions like, “Does every vignette NEED music? If so, must the score match the tone shifts in each one?”

I ended up with a soundtrack that followed the changing tones of each vignette, but felt like a unified score. I did this by limiting myself to a selection of instruments and musical genres. From the start, Michaela said she wanted something that felt organic. She liked my use of bells and plucked strings—things that felt tiny and child-like to match the fabrication style. However, the subject matter of the film is decidedly un-child-like, so the music needed to utilize those tools, but then subvert them someway—adding edge, sophistication, and humor.

To match the way all the characters return and swirl about each other in the end, I knew I wanted the score to return and blend in motifs we’ve heard in various vignettes. The harp plays a similar melody from the very beginning. The bells, harpsichord, and drums introduced previously return to assist the jazz vocalist, who is now singing a new song—this one about the secrets we keep and loving ourselves regardless.

I definitely drew inspiration from composers like Mark Mothersbaugh and Jon Brion, but also the reactionary scoring in the likes of Loony Toons. For some of the piano stylings, I drew from Art Tatum, and the singing style definitely contained elements of Billie Holiday. Dylan Stephen Levers’s ability to croon like a jazz vocalist from the ’40s really brought the sound together.