"COURAGE THECOWARDLY DOG" CARTOON NETWORK"
'| can't imagine any composer not loving this show. We're given
carte blanche. (Director) John R. Dilworth is one of those rare
guys who says, 'Go left, and keep going there' and really means
outside of leitmotifs for the lead characters, there's little
traditional music library created for the show. Almost everything
is scored from scratch, with generally only 10% of the cues being
reused, giving each show its own unique flavor. Out of 22 minutes,
there can be as much as 18-20 minutes of music, so as you could
imagine, my days are pretty intense. A lot of it has to do with
the fact that each 'Courage' episode (78 at last count) features
it's own distinct villain. We often look at a particular villain
and ask, 'What is the core of this character?' For example, 'Conway
the Contaminationist' is a bad guy who thrives on pollution. So,
taking a page from John Cage's book. we worked in some prepared
piano, banged on the internal bits of the instrument, made scraping,
string noises, and did quirky, ambient stuff using the pedals.
The score is a very bizarre late 20th-century avant garde kind
of thing, which, literally, doesn't have much normal music to
it at all. That's who Conway is - industrialization gone mad.
The same odd, piano textures we're used in another episode entitled,
'A Beaver's Tail,' to evoke the sounds of tension on the surface
of a slowly, rising lake. The end result is fun and pretty disconcerting.
recently did a full faux opera based on (Richard) Wagner's 'Ride
of the Valkyries.' I wrote 15 little songs from start to finish.
It's wonderfully ludicrous. Muriel, the show's female heroine,
is mistaken for one of the Valkyries and taken away to Valhalla,
where there's a (sort of) epic battle with trolls. My writing
partner (Andy Ezrin) and I ending up spending a year, on and off,
for this one 11 -minute episode. It was a huge amount of work.
One big highlight was recording a trio of brilliant, Broadway
vocalists bellowing out the parts.
this sort of Kubrickesque vision with the Director: to score the
opposite of what's on the screen as often as we can, rather than
using the 'Mickey Mouse' techniques of hitting every action like
most cartoons do. To my knowledge, nobody is doing this sort of
stuff in animation - certainly not on television."
- Ada Guerin