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Track Team members Jeremy Zuckerman and Benjamin Wynn, the people currently working on the soundtrack for the new Avatar series Legend of Korra, were recently interviewed by Comicbookmovie.com. They revealed that the tone of the music will be quite different from Avatar: The Last Airbender as a result of the characters being older and more mature, the contrasting animation, and the differences in setting. The two also said that the new series will feature more live instruments such as string players and a Chinese instrumentalist, something the first series lacked.
The Track Team even explained how challenging the original Avatar series was and their experience working for it, with it being their first and most challenging project. The pair stated they were basically learning throughout the series, and at first didn't even know who would be doing what.
Jeremy Zuckerman and Benjamin Wynn were approached by Avatar series creators and friends, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, to create the wonderful scores for the Nickelodeon series. The two agreed that the first Avatar series was the most challenging project of their careers.
“We were pretty fresh on that first project,”
said Jeremy, “I mean we had done commercials and things but we hadn't done anything of that scope. So we were really like learning episode by episode; scene by scene. We didn't even know when we first started who would do what. We just knew that we were gonna be a team... ”
Eventually, the two started up their company The Track Team.
Benjamin said, "We were each working at commercial music houses, working on commercials and working on very short, small-time frame projects. We would work together a lot and then once we got the opportunity to score Avatar we decided to make a company and just go for it."
With the next chapter in the Avatar series I asked if the scores for the story will differ from The Last Airbender.
Jeremy replied, “Yeah, It's gonna be different, definitely. It's informed about it in the sense that there will be tiny little scenes of an idea from the earlier one that found a different voice or has been developed in a way where if you really listen you'll hear where it came from but is it's own thing.”
Jeremy continued to explain that with the new series, “The tone of the story is much different now and the characters are older and more mature and they're even drawn differently, you know. They're drawn more realistically. The setting is different, well I can't talk about it much, but the setting is different. With all these factors, the tone is much more mature, the result is the music is much different. We wanted to explore the instruments a little more deeply. So what we did is, the music is a little more sparse so that you can hear the actual performance of the instruments a little bit more and you can hear the details a bit more and we could go a little bit deeper with that kind of thing.”
The two also added that this series will feature more live instruments, such as string players and a Chinese instrumentalist; something that The Last Airbender did not have. Even with the DC animated shorts, the duo provided most of the music themselves with the exception of Jonah Hex which they got to work with a violinist.
Both Jeremy and Benjamin worked as sound designers for Avatar and the DC shorts, so I asked how the two job titles differed from one another.
Benjamin explained that a sound designer does “all the sound for the show. Sound design can go everywhere from, like, stuff called 'foley,' which is movement of the characters; they pick anything up or their clothes are rustling to if they're doing some crazy fire-bending move. So that's the sound side and the music is obviously the music.”
He also explains how a sound designer figures out the sounds they will use, “[Sound design is] very driven by the animation and the animation pretty much dictates what you need to have there, but then, you know, I guess the art comes in and what you choose to put there and how you make it and how you design it and all the little details and how sort of deep in details you go with it.”
Though the two wouldn't reveal any details from the episodes they had worked on; they did make it clear that fans of The Last Airbender would not be disappointed with Legend of Korra,
“Trust me, it's awesome.”
Jeremy says,“It's really even stepped up from The Last Airbender a lot I think. The animation, the depth of the story, the maturity level... It's really, it's cool... They're not just repeating themselves.”
Benjamin adds, “It seems like everyone, the characters in the show but also the people making it and everyone involved has just matured.”
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