Thwak! Music Unveils “KBV Sync” Online Search Engine

May 3, 2012 by  

NYC Original Music/Sound Design/Licensing studio Thwak! Music has launched “KBV Synch” – a new online music search solution designed for video editors, producers, music supervisors and creatives working in commercials, TV, film and multimedia.

Psych-folk duo The Smiles and Frowns, repped exclusively by Thwak! in the KBV catalog

Available to Thwak! clients and new clients, “KBV Synch” reportedly uses an efficient, easy-to-navigate user interface, advanced tagging and filters, and iPhone/iPad compatibility to speed music experts and their clients to the ideal music for their project.

The result is a one-stop resource where clients can easily locate exclusive songs and instrumentals, then license them quickly and easily. In many cases a desired track can also be customized upon request.

The KBV search engine features approximately 5,000, exclusively represented songs and instrumentals from artists such as DJ DRM (aka Aaron Schultz), Romans, The Smiles and Frowns, and Black Flamingo, as well as composers including Emmy Award-winning film composer Alex Wurman (Anchorman, Temple Grandin, Talladega Nights) and Grammy-winning songwriter/producer Philippe Saisse (Rolling Stones, Chaka Khan).

Tracks can be searched via a wide variety of criteria including genre, mood, tempo, vocals/instrumentals and lyrics keywords.

For registration with KBV Sync, email:

Music Seen: Music-to-Picture Hot Picks * “Into the Sun” by Lord Huron (Bad Decision) Remix

February 13, 2011 by  

Artist: Lord Huron/Bad Decision

Lord Huron is on safe shores with the Bad Decision remix of "Into the Sun".

Song: “Into The Sun” (Bad Decision Mix) – Lord Huron (free, legal download available HERE)

Why I Luv It: Ben Schneider absorbed more than the sunlight once he touched down in Los Angeles. The Michigan transplant’s beautiful Caribbean-inflected songwriting is sunshine incarnate as Lord Huron and has produced two lovely EPs: Mighty & Into The Sun. He makes all sounds on the records by himself but tours backed by a full band.

The song “Into The Sun” has been remixed by many an up-and-coming producer, but it is Brooklyn-based Bad Decision‘s (Gavin Royce & Arvin Ajamian) version that is the most successful of the bunch. While the original is infused with a gentle swaying tropicalia, BD’s slightly danced-up re-tweak is dominated by a steel drum boogie and looped vocal phrases that swirl around you until the dark night gets bright and the sun is forced to rise.

They maintain the summery vibe but pile on enough BPMs to get you off your beach blanket and gathering around the bonfire to live it up with the rest of the outdoor revelers. The track is not unlike Animal Collective or Panda Bear if they admitted to knowing that people were actually listening. An early morning orgy of sun, sand and melancholy hedonism, “Into The Sun” is the soundtrack to the last party on earth.

Scene I Can See It In: This remix is a genre unto itself: upbeat yet mellow, introspective yet dancey, serious yet fun-loving. Upon a first look at the title and initial listen, it might be tempting to synch this to a spot for a cruise line or vacation getaway:

“Tell my family I had to leave.
I’m going away, tell my friends for me.
They’d all agree I gotta get out of here.”

While it’s certainly possible to use just a portion of the track to support a brand’s uber-positive getaway philosophy (and hey, who’s gonna stop em?), the upbeat instrumentation and initially happy lyrics belie a deadly serious sentiment:

“I’m gonna sail that boat right into the sun
‘Cause everybody knows that’s how it’s done.
Now don’t you cry and don’t you wait
If I meet my end, well that’d be my fate”

This song is too involved to be interpreted on mood alone and would benefit from a brand taking a chance on a more complex yet rewarding spot. To me, it would fit perfectly for a narrative, almost short film-like spot of an unhappy person imagining what the world would be like without them but choosing instead not to find out. This could be for a dating site or a new anti-depressant or anything in between. How tired are we all of seeing the oft-parodied prescription drug spots of random images followed by a series of quickly spoken warnings? A happy couple! People playing softball!! A man playing with a DOG!!! A more story oriented spot could really breathe new life into a stale genre beginning with this synch.

Stuck at their desk at a miserable job or completely alone at home, wishing to get away and find their happiness but NOT sailing off into the sun forever. The monotony of the introductory beats set the scene as the character is stuck in a rut of unimaginable depths at their job or in their relationship and as the steel drums enter and the vocals loop, they are catapulted into their fantasy as the music explodes and the lyrics begin.

The clouds somehow clear and the sun appears and the hero discovers the aforementioned beach party where none of their problems can touch them anymore. They come out of their fantasy as the same vocal refrain that sent them into their fantasy brings them out and the steel drums re-enter. The person has now sampled the happiness they desired and is ready to change their lives and has paid the lyrics off. That — or the theme song to that Joe Versus The Volcano reboot we won’t soon be seeing. Either or, really.

Chris Tarantino is a Music Supervisor at Thwak! Music in NYC, a writer for The Village Voice and host of his own radio show on East Village Radio.

Thwak! Music Does Original Music & Music Supervision for Sony “Surgeon” Super Bowl Spot

February 7, 2011 by  

NYC-based Thwak Music! , an original music/sound design and music supervision company led by founder Tony Verderosa, did all original music for the cinematic :60 Sony spot, “Surgeon”. The commercial was shot by director Noam Murro and debuted Sunday, Feb. 6 during Super Bowl XLV.

The Android is all thumbs in "Surgeon".

Thwak! worked within a tight time frame to deliver a rhythmic, tense original score and dramatic sound design for the spot, which promotes the upcoming Xperia Play android phone from Sony Ericsson. Thwak’s tense drums, eerie sound effects, and precise orchestral hits pace the film-like spot, which shows the back-alley creation of a robot – complete with human thumbs – that rises up, ready to use the new Xperia Play.

Verderosa worked with McCann Worldgroup Executive Music Producer Mike Boris on “Surgeon”, recording at Avatar Studios with fellow Thwak! composer Mark Petrie. Verderosa created several different options for Murro and McCann Worldgroup, experimenting with varied layers of ethnic drums, strings, and sound effects — the final score builds gradually to an emotional climax that reinforces the story’s visual impact.

“The music helps to illustrate this heroic, epic moment when the robot’s thumbs are revealed,” notes Verderosa, who also served as Music Supervisor on the project. “For a project on this level, it’s really important to be able to deliver multiple creative ideas. Multiple looks and variations gave the agency team points of reference comparison when making their final decision on which musical selections to go with. So its my job as music supervisor and composer to give them different options and flavors, all within a compressed amount of time.

“Communication is made easier between Mike and I for a project like this,” Verderosa continues. “He’s a very seasoned pro, way on top of his game, and it’s easy for the two of us to get very focused on what’s going to be needed to support this picture, in the initial phase of music supervision, strategy, and executing. Mike is also a drummer so we speak the same language!”

The massive ambitions of “Surgeon” apparently gave Thwak! and crew plenty of creative fuel. “We drew inspiration from the unique challenge of this spot,” says Verderosa.  “It’s cinematic, it looks like a short film, and so narrative has to be approached delicately. You can’t give too much away, or fight what that character is going through up to the surgeon. For us at Thwak!Surgeon’ was a film project — a really intense scene from a feature film.”

See the spot here:

You can also see Tony Verderosa’s live drum remixing techniques here — shot in NYC at Avatar Studios.

Full credits for Sony “Surgeon”
Agency:  McCann Worldgroup
Executive Producer : Greg Lotus
Copy/ creative director:  Sean Bryan
Art director / Creative director: Tom Murphy
Exec. Music Producer:  Mike Boris
Production Company: Biscuit
Director: Noam Murro
DP: Simon Duggan
Editor: Gavin Cutler,  Mackenzie Cutler
VFX:  Method
Sound Engineer: Joe O’Connell , Blast Digital (NYC)
Sound Design: Sam Shaffer, MacKenzie Cutler
Music Company:   Thwak! Music
Composers:  Tony Verderosa & Mark Petrie
Music Supervisor: Tony Verderosa

Thwak! Music (NYC) Expands, Music Supervises + Scores for “Lights Out” on FX

January 4, 2011 by  

Thwak! Music, based in NYC, announced that it has expanded its music supervision capabilities with a long-form division focusing on TV shows and feature films. This new division is headed up by Music Supervisor/Composer, Anthony Roman, leader of the band Radio4.

The development accompanies an influx of film and TV projects for Thwak! including Beware the Gonzo, a feature film starring Amy Sedaris, Jesse McCartney and Zoe Kravitz, which has been picked up by Tribeca Films for distribution.

Thwak! Music handled music supervision and original music for "Lights Out" on FX.

This new division has also handled music supervision for the upcoming 2011 13-part series “Lights Out” which premiers on FX January 11th. On “Lights Out”, Roman helped the show find the right songs for critical scenes, and Thwak! also scored a significant number of original music cues for the series, including main titles and end credits.

In an expansion of creative licensing services for global ad agencies, Thwak! also recently added Music Supervisor Chris Tarantino, an established DJ and tastemaker who covers music for The Village Voice. Chris Tarantino is also part of the East Village Radio family with his show “The Private Sector”, where he joins renowned tastemakers such as Mark Ronson, Andy Rourke (of The Smiths), Eli Escobar and KCRW’s Jason Eldredge. Tarantino teams with a formidable line up of seasoned industry pros which includes Thwak! Music Founder Tony Verderosa, Music Supervisor Anthony Roman, Producer/A&R DirectorPat Mullen and newly added Associate Producer Audrey Caliguri.

Other recent music supervision projects for Thwak! include Miller Lite, Cuervo, and Olay.

(l-r) Thwak! Music's music supervision team now includes Pat Mullen, Antony Roman and Chris Tarantino.

MTV VMA’S: Inside ‘We Will Rock You’ Show Opener with Katy Perry and Joe Perry

September 14, 2009 by  

MIDTOWN, MANHATTAN: Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Green Day were on top of the world after their strong showing at last night’s 2009 MTV Video Music Awards (VMA), held at Radio City Music Hall.

But it wasn’t just the household names that got the most out of the awards show that’s become a New York City staple. Tony Verderosa, an international recording artist and founder of NYC’s Thwak! Music, was among the local pool of elite pros that had a big impact on the globally-viewed event.

Tony Verderosa at the 2009 VMA's

Tony Verderosa at the 2009 VMA's

Verderosa appeared in an explosive performance with Katy Perry and Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, doubling as the live drummer and Music Director for the Perry/Perry collaboration, an unforgettable cover of Queen’s classic “We Will Rock You” that opened the show. A classically trained drummer, percussionist and electronic music pioneer with a deep artistic and commercial music portfolio, Verderosa talked about his experience playing at the 2009 MTV VMA’s:

Q: What’s your connection to this show? How and why did you get the call?
A: MTV was looking to hire a musical director to work with Katy Perry and Joe Perry. They wanted an iconic opening for the VMA’s this year. When I got the call from the Executive Producer, I suggested a live remix approach with massive sounding beats and vocals, triggered live from acoustic and electronic drums. He loved the idea, I got the green light and we jumped right into remix/pre-production work at Avatar, and then rehearsals.

Q: How did you approach meeting the needs of the show’s producers?
A: As Musical Director and Drummer, my job is to make sure the two featured artists are comfortable with the grooves and the arrangement. The producers also wanted to add some other elements, so I added percussionists to play timpani and concert bass drums on stage as well.

I was a good fit for this project, because I have experience performing live on stage with drums and samplers, creating live remixes, triggering vocals, keyboards and more. I am very comfortable taking the production values from the studio and adapting those to my live drum kit. There was lot of pre-production work in terms of creating the remix loops, pitching the key up slightly, adding some cool layers and grooves to blend in with the main loop from “We Will Rock You” — then mapping it all out on the kit and rehearsing everyone to create a tight arrangement.

Q: How did you decide what to equip yourself with technically for the show?
A: This is probably the most famous beat in the world, and we wanted to bring something new to the feel. To produce a remix in the studio and then play it live, I need a Drum Triggering Module and also a sampler. Fortunately, Yamaha has created a new drum module called the DTXreme 3. It has 500Mgb of Sample memory for my loops and vocals, and the triggering speed is insane. I have the whole show saved on a small thumb drive. Preproduction was done in Cubase 5.

Q: How is this song choice going to bring out the best of what you, Joe and Katy can do?
A: “We Will Rock You” is such a great showcase for Katy Perry and Joe Perry. Katy brings something special to this song with her phrasing and ideas: She gives 150% on every performance, and I would say her interpretation of this anthem is amazing.

We transitioned from her vocals right into Joe’s solo guitar section. It was a perfect space for Joe to move in creatively. He put his signature on this song with a very distinct and personal sound.  I triggered all of the beats, layers and vocal hooks live on stage, plus played acoustic drums on top. This was not a Pro Tools computer rig playing pre-recorded tracks back live, so we could extend the mix as needed. If Joe turned to me and wanted another 8 or 16 bars, we just went. It was a no-restrictions live remix.

Q: What does it mean to you to be playing with these two high-profile artists? How would you characterize their talents?
A: Katy is such an amazing singer….powerful – very confident – very individual style. She has become a household name and international superstar. Joe Perry has developed his own voice on the instrument: You just need to hear two or three notes and you know it’s Joe. His work with Aerosmith is groundbreaking. It was a huge thrill and a big honor to support such great artists on stage.

Q: How is this experience differing from other shows/productions you’ve been involved in?
There were estimates that 1.2 billion people worldwide would tune in live via TV, satellite, web, etc…The scale of this production was insane. MTV pulls out all of the stops. It really doesn’t get any bigger than the VMAs.