Jason Snell and David Sparks released a new podcast this week called Free Agents. I composed and recorded the theme, as I have for many of Jason’s podcasts. You can find it, in full, on my Music page.
The name naturally inspired a James Bond-like feel, complete with surf guitar. (Trivia: Vic Flick played the guitar part for the original Bond theme, for which he was paid the princely sum of £6.)
I’d always thought the Bond theme was played in E minor, to take advantage of the guitar’s lowest string. Therefore, the Free Agents theme would be just as E-focused. (It turns out, “Bond” is in the key of F minor, demonstrating, once again, that horn players hold a lot of sway when it comes to comfortable keys.)
After I’d worked out the guitar riff, the theme largely wrote itself. Bass, drums, and percussion were key to this one.
For the drum part I created a Drummer track in Logic X and settled on Kyle, playing the Half-pipe preset (which I adjusted to Loud and middling-complex) on the SoCal drumset. I’m increasingly impressed with Logic’s Drummer track. If you listen closely, you’ll hear Kyle turn the beat around at bar 13. It’s a small thing, but it adds variety to something that’s mostly a repeated groove.
As I traipsed through the bass presets I stumbled on Click Bass, which is an arpeggiated bass synth. Its repeated notes and percussive sounds fit beautifully with Kyle’s playing. You can hear the effect at bar 25 when the drums, guitar, and pads drop out.
The conga and bongo loops that come in at bar 9 add an extra layer of complexity, and provide an interesting way to leave the theme.
And then there are the floating pad sounds that come in at bar 9. If you’ve listened to much of my other stuff, you know I have an affection for these ethereal pad sounds. You can blame this entirely on a youth spent listening to early ambient music.