The best thing that can happen to a sound designer is to work on one of your favourite shows. I’m an unashamed Scandiphile and watch all the Nordic Noir TV series that come to the UK and, by far and away, my favourite of them is The Bridge.
So, when in email conversation with one of the composers for The Bridge (Uno Helmersson) the notion of making some sounds for the fourth series of the show, I leap at it.
The Bridge is dark and brooding, full of murders and Scandinavian cool: right up my street. Uno and Patrik (Andren), the two composers I ended up working with directly (Johan Soderqvist also writes music for the show), quickly established that they wanted sounds that they had not heard before. Noises, sequences and synths that were as experimental as I wanted them to be.
A perfect brief!
Zebra2 was the synth of choice, it’s modulation matrix possibilities a vast breeding ground for oddness and experimentation. For me, the main task was to produce patches that felt unlike anything I’d created before; either for previous bespoke projects or commercial releases. This is simultaneously both daunting and refreshing. I could do anything. The only qualifier was that it was original. Not as easy as it sounds!
Fortunately, Uno and Patrik loved what I was doing, no matter how weird it got. A series of Skype chats and emails quickly established what was working best. One of the things that came out was using odd time signatures. The guys liked to have sequences running in a number of different time sigs to establish a kind of rhythmic unease; no two bars would sound the same, but the same patches would be running – a cool effect.
Without question, this was one of the best projects I’ve worked on. I’m aiming to do more work with Scandinavian and Nordic composers in the near future (I already have some lined up!).
Of course, my customers can now enjoy many of the sounds used on The Bridge, as well as a ton of sounds created during the programming sessions that never made it into the series. These sounds became Zebra Nordsund, one of my most popular commercial soundsets.