Monday, August 1, 2011

Super ‘70s and ‘80s: “Super Friends”—Michael Kohler, composer of “The Time Is Now” promotional remix

Introduction to series “Super ‘70s and ‘80s.”

Introduction to subseries “Super Friends” (including list of interviewees).

I downloaded your Super Friends remix (if that’s what you’d call it) “The Time Is Now” nearly ten years ago. How did it come about?

Cartoon Network contacted me about doing music for a Super Friends promotion and the theme song being so recognizable [made it] the perfect candidate for a remix. I pulled apart the original track making samples of anything that was clean enough to work with, then started to assemble beats, new melodies, and harmonies to layer with it.

What year was that?

I believe it was 1999 or 2000.

Were you a Super Friends or superhero fan before this?

I have been a Super Friends/superhero fan since I was a kid.

Where is the narration from?

The opening sequence with the reporter and background destruction ambience was something I created in the studio to set the stage for the line “If this nation, or, in fact, the world ever needed heroes, that time is now…that time is now.” Steve Patrick, the producer of this project, wrote the reporter’s lines and another Cartoon Network producer, Larry Morris, went into the booth and performed them. I filtered the dialogue and added all the noise and background sound effects to create the scene.

How long did it take you to complete it? Did you have to go through hours of footage?

I think it took a couple days to complete. Unfortunately we rarely got the amount of time we would like to work on projects like these, but this one turned out well.

What was the response at the time, presuming it was prior to the peak of message boards and the like?

The only response we got initially was from the other people at the network, and it was very positive. I know Steve and I played it quite a bit for our own pleasure, and for anyone else that would listen.

Do new fans continue to find it today, and if so, how?

I still get a lot of emails about this piece on a regular basis. I think there are new fans from Boomerang, and old fans who finally took the time to figure out how to contact me and ask about it.

What kinds of comments do fans send you?

People have said everything from how it reminds them of watching the Super Friends as a kid, to how they like their kids to see it, to how it should be the new theme song.

Where are you based out of?

I am in Atlanta, GA.

What do you do for a living?

I am a composer/sound designer/engineer and owner of Bluetube/Kohler Audio. The site has a whole lot of samples, especially in the Work/Archive section.

What are you currently working on?

I am writing music, doing sound design, and mixing shows and promos for TV networks like Adult Swim, FX, Cartoon Network, and a variety of advertising agencies.

Did the Super Friends piece lead to any other projects for you?

I think this piece along with Atom Ant, Pork Jam, and Musical Evolution helped promote the idea of my remixing or creating mashups for other projects, which I am a big fan of.

What do you think it is about the piece that appeals to people?

I think the remix gives a little kick to the piece which appeals to a different group of people. Also, adding the opening sequence put the “we need a superhero” idea into more of a realistic context like something that we might have seen on the news or know from history, instead of just the imaginary villain/alien context we are used to.

Is it on your iPod/iPhone?

It is on my iPhone right now.

Next: Bill Woodson (narrator).


Richard said...

"That Time Is Now" and "We Must All Get Ready Now" with Atom Ant are both thrilling pieces...but at risk of going slightly off-message here, I'm compelled to add that whenever "Musical Evolution" with Josie and the Pussycats turns up on Boomerang, I watch and listen as closely as the first time I saw it. And I was never even a Josie fan! But that little clip is one of my all-time favorites.

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

RAB - it appears Michael Kohler was involved in that one, too, and it's on YouTube:

Richard said...

Yes, and Mr. Kohler mentions the Josie pastiche in the above text, hence my reason for praising it. (He's also done a swinging remix of the Jetsons theme tune.)

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Ah, yes, now I see...I knew he didn't mention Josie by name but forgot he does mention "Musical Evolution." And I didn't know till now what that was.

CS said...

Good interview! I think Mr Kohler used to have a downloadable version of "That Time is Now" on an old version of his website, but it looks like there's only an embeded video now.