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WELCOME TO THE WAYNE! ORIGINAL SCORE BY: EGO PLUM

While we wait for the next (and final) batch of Harvey Beaks episodes to premiere, I’m excited to share the trailer for my brand new animated series at Nickelodeon: Welcome To the Wayne. I’ve been working on this steadily for about a year now and I’m excited to FINALLY be able to announce it. Welcome To The Wayne will premiere July 24th at 5:30PM. I won’t share any new music just yet but be sure to check back here once it’s on the air!

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“Drink Buttah” | The Music of Harvey Beaks

It’s always fun to write music for Technobear- one of the most charmingly inappropriate characters on Harvey Beaks. (Why is this teenage bear in a speedo hanging out with all these little kids, anyway?) Writing for him is an exercise in writing really bad techno/rave music. So here’s the latest track from Technobear’s secret mix tape entitled, Drink Buttah, which was quickly featured in the background of last week’s episode, “Terrybear.”

I imagine this song coming from the same “french duo” that wrote, “Roddy Bock Bock” back in 2015.

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“Sum of Many Parts” | The Music of Harvey Beaks

Little Little Bark is one of my favorite episodes from the second season of Harvey Beaks. I rate up there with The Finger, Day of No To-Do, and Alone.  I wrote and sang this little acoustic song for the opening which in retrospect seems to be about mental illness and obsession. Half the lyrics are in reverse.

Musically speaking, “Sum of Many Parts” is an homage to the Andy Partridge (From the band XTC) and has subtle similarities to the mood of “Another Satellite” from 1986’s Skylarking and the lyrical phrasing of “Statue of Liberty” from 1978’s White Music. Andy Partridge is one of our greatest living songwriters and someone who has had a tremendous influence on my music. He is graceful wordsmith and the perfect architect of chords & melodic phrases that can only come from a diet of proper musical influences: He shares a musical bloodline with Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Brian Wilson, Ray/Dave Davies, Jeff Lynne and others. His musical progeny include people like Damon Albarn (Blur), Thomas Walsh (Pugwash) and many others.  I consider myself a disciple of his and cannot help but model myself in his musical image, time and time again.

One day I’ll make a post (with examples) of all my proper influences for the music I write on Harvey Beaks. Many are rather specific!  -Ego

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“All Alone” | The Music of Harvey Beaks

I wrote this a few days after the passing of David Bowie. I had been really down that week; I didn’t realize how bad I would be affected by his passing. My friend David J (from Bauhaus) wrote a song about Bowie that very next day and sent it to me and I realized how many of us were sharing in the exact same collective sorrow. I didn’t seek to write about Bowie (it was quite literally about Harvey and used outer space as a metaphor for solitude) but Bowie’s death happened to coincide with the post-production schedule for the episode “Alone.” After I finished it, I first shared it with a friend who said that it felt like a eulogy and that’s when I realized that’s exactly what it was. It was for David, but it was for me as well. It was cathartic.

I knew from the moment I saw the storyboards for Alone that this was going to be a special episode, along the lines of “A Day of No To-Do.” Carl Greenblatt was able to touch on something really special and I hope everyone appreciates the beauty of this little cartoon. -E

All alone
Far from home
The winds take the last leaves every blown
When all you sought
Was all for naught
Float on brave and lonesome cosmonaut
Clouds spray and break the day
with thoroughgoing grace
hold still, oh daffodil
You’re floating into space
No planet circling
No sun to set or rise
Rise

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Western Showdown! | The Music of Harvey Beaks

The entire second half of Certified Babysitter is essentially one big action cue. If that wasn’t challenging enough, Carl Greenblatt asked that I make it feel like a Spaghetti Western, with Oriental musical elements, AND still sound like the world of Harvey Beaks! WTF CARL?

It’s on episodes like this that I remember one of the only helpful things Mark Mothersbaugh told me when I met him and asked for advice. He said to never look at one project as any less valuable than any other. in other words: Don’t create lesser quality music because something is a student film, has a smaller budget, or will be seen by less people. He said, regardless of whether it be Terminator 2 or a pornographic film, just do the best possible work you can do because (1) It will make you a better composer and (2) you never want to look back and be embarrassed by your contribution. You always want to know you wrote the best possible music given your resources at the time. Although you will have projects you will not be proud of, it should never be because of your music.

I treated Certified Babysitter no differently than I would treat a feature film. I can say that with sincerity because I scored my first multi-million dollar feature a few years ago and this little 11 minute cartoon required as much concentrated effort and thought as any cue I wrote for that film. Needless to say,  I’m really proud of how this turned out! Not just my contribution, but the wonderful writing and art as well.

One last thing: The greatest composers are the ones with a sound so inventive, that it practically becomes its own genre. Ennio Morricone is an Italian composer who essentially invented the sound of “Westerns.” Until I reach that level, I will pride myself with being able to imitate people like him. His sound is what I referenced most in this episode and if you care, please look him up and check out some of his film scores. Particularly, “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1966),” and, “A Fistful of Dollars (1964).”

-Ego

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“Easy’s Radio Music” | The Music of Harvey Beaks

The exterminator named Easy from “A Mighty Foo” is clearly one of the most disturbing characters to have ever appeared on Harvey Beaks (I wonder how many noticed this sociopath Anteater grabbing one of Mrs. Beaks’ garments from her closet and sniffing it?). When I first watched this episode, I mentioned to Carl Greenblatt that the scene reminded me of something from Stanley Kubrik’s A Clockwork Orange and I suggested that we score it in a similar manner.

Kubrik did something really brilliant where he would juxtapose very pleasant music with acts of ultraviolence. Particularly, the home-invasion sequence where Alex terrorizes a family while he sings Gene Kelly’s Singing in the Rain and the iconic scene where Alex puts his Droogs in their place on the Marina dock to Rossini’s beautiful waltz, The Thieving Magpie.

I wrote a wanna-be Rossini meets Strauss waltz for piano, vibraphone, upright bass, drums & accordion with the idea that it should sound like it’s coming out of Easy’s old radio and it would also need to follow the action on screen. Even simple radio music on a cartoon requires special care & attention and I’m glad I’m able to showcase a little musical cue like this because I’m particularly proud of it. Enjoy! -Ego

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“Love Me To Me” An Anime Love Song | The Music of Harvey Beaks

I love absurdity. I love to #commit to absurd ideas and see them through to the very end. I love that Nickelodeon allows me to do such things. This little ballad for Foo & Claire from the Harvey Beaks episode Buds Before Studs is a great example of this. I originally wrote some nice lyrics in English but then I decided to send them through the Google translation app and turn them in to Japanese. I then took those Japanese lyrics and ran them through the app again to turn them back into English. I may have done it one more time, but I don’t remember now. What resulted was a perfect nonsensical mess. I then asked my lovely assistant John Nobori to sing it. Finally, I delivered it to the studio and Voila! “Love Me to Me” ends up on television for millions of children to enjoy and collectively scratch their heads.

love me to me
love me to you
you do me love to you

beach in the sand
oyster and yam
making friendship to you

we never split
I hashtag commit
i’ll never forget to you

me and you in the jail of heartbeat
together for you and me

friendship like an oyster it hide
little love pearl live shiny inside

love me to me
love me to you
you do me love to you

love me to me to me!

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The Chance Parade | The Music of Harvey Beaks

There’s a cavalcade of dreamers,
confetti and streamers
Where floats are filled with broken rules
and the hopes and whispers of fools
The spectacle is there to see
to those lost in pleasant reverie
But perhaps you haven’t got the time
to be fanciful of mind?

A Day of No To-Do is my favorite episode of Harvey Beaks. I knew this when Carl first sat me down to watch the animatic. In this episode, Harvey learns the value of breaking from routines, taking risks, and doing the unexpected. This resonates with me in a big way because it’s something I’ve had to remind myself to do time and time again. As soon as I watched it I knew I wanted to do something I’d never done before on an episode, and that’s where I broke from my routine and proposed the song, The Chance Parade.

The Chance Parade is the single hardest thing I’ve had to write for this series.  The words & music had to come from the heart and I wanted it to be in my voice. This is about as vulnerable as one can get when it comes to making music.  I’m not the best singer, but I knew I could at least get point across vocally. Musically, I tried to stay in the style of the show but also introduce something that I hadn’t showcased yet: my love of pure & simple pop music as  done by Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne (Electric Light Orchestra) and Andy Partridge (XTC).

Once I finished the demo, I nervously let Carl hear it and thankfully he loved it! Listening back, I knew the song was wanting to go in a George Harrison-y direction, so I thought I would let it. I called Marc Mann; an amazing guitarist who had played alongside Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton and Jeff Lynne at the “Concert for George” at Royal Albert Hall (Marc was selected to play George Harrison’s parts by these guys!). So I knew I could not have picked a better person to play electric guitars and come up with the lead. In addition, I recruited my dear friend/mentor Steve Bartek (Oingo Boingo) who contributed the beautiful acoustic guitars.

If I had kept to my routine and “scoring day-planner,” this song would not have existed on this episode… I probably wouldn’t be working on Harvey Beaks if I had submitted what was “normal” or “expected” when I first auditioned… In fact, most of the best things in my life have happened when I’ve stepped outside my comfort zone; deviated from the norm and put myself at risk of failure. I think that’s why A Day of No To-Do means so much to me and why I take this cartoon so seriously. I see so much value in people discovering their own Chance Parades and I’m so proud to contribute to this important message. This little cartoon is more important than we know.

Now’s your chance to stop discerning,
stop concerning,
start unlearning
It doesn’t matter where you are
the Chance Parade isn’t far
The show begins when you let go
of everything you know.
(Guitar Solo)

Carry on, blue bird!
-Ego

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THE TRIUMPHANT RETURN OF HARVEY BEAKS!

Harvey Beaks is returning in a very BIG way this month. Starting Monday, June 6th, we will be premiering BRAND NEW EPISODES every weekday at 5:30 PM FOR AN ENTIRE MONTH. This includes the final episodes of season one AND the premiere of season 2! There’s the STEAMPUNKS hour-long special and it’s a musical! A MUSICAL!!! Also, the birth of Harvey’s little sister! Oh, there’s an episode called ALONE which I consider one of my favorites of the entire series. It’s a very exciting time for Harvey Beaks and I intend to make many updates throughout the month with behind-the-scenes videos, music, and more!

While Harvey was away the last few months, I discovered some amazing work by the talented musical fans of our show and listened to many cool mashups, remixes, and the occasional re-envisioning of my Harvey Beaks theme on YouTube. I LOVE THIS STUFF and would like to encourage more of this type of behavior. In fact, this inspired me so much that I DECIDED TO MAKE MY OWN MASHUP OF THE HARVEY BEAKS THEME. (It will probably get deleted by the powers-that-be so enjoy it while it’s here)

I was originally planning to mashup my theme with the pioneering industrial/noise of Throbbing Gristle, or Einstürzende Neubauten, but I completely sold out and decided to use a Katy Perry song instead.  After all, the only way to be subversive nowadays is to ride in a pop culture Trojan horse. One must subvert from within!

Behold: Harvey Beaks Theme vs Firework by Katy Perry!

Ego Plum

PS - I want to thank all the people that have been loyal to Harvey Beaks. This is ‘the little show that could’ and I’m grateful for everyone that has stuck by it. The best is yet to come!

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“Roddy Bock Bock” | The Music of Harvey Beaks
This is the horror of dance music through the eyes of Dade. (From the episode, “Nightclub Night”)

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STEAMPUNKS: “REJECT TOWN” | The Music of Harvey Beaks

Here’s a behind-the-scenes peek at the recording of my favorite song from the Harvey Beaks’ Steampunks Musical! Reject Town is a joyously dark anthem about the virtues of a little community built of trash and filth! This exclusive footage features members of the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra and the Seattle Opera performing the music LIVE in the studio with final animation played side-by-side. This also features extra-special footage of the multi-faceted and extremely talented voice of Dade (who shall remain nameless!).

As far as writing something like this, I’ll usually have a few starting points in my head; musical points of reference, if you will. In this case, I wanted a cross between, You’re a Good Man Albert Brown,” by THE DUKES OF STRATOSPHEAR (Andy Partridge/XTC’s alter-ego) and a little bit of House of Fun from the Camden Town Ska band, MADNESS. So that becomes the palette in my head from which I then move towards orchestral arrangements and other elements that make it sound like the world of Harvey Beaks. After recording with the orchestra, I also layered some trash-can percussion, pipes, and random clinky clangy things to round out the sound. This special took close to 60 musicians to execute. Not to mention our talented team of engineers, our copyist, orchestrator, conductor, assistants, and many others! We are really lucky to be able to do at this scale in this day & age of disposable entertainment. Harvey Beaks is a gem! -Ego

Be sure to watch STEAMPUNKS Part 1 on Thursday, June 23 at 4:30PM and Part 2 on Friday, June 24 at 4:30PM on Nickelodeon! Special thanks to my friend Aaron Cohen who edited this video together. 

The Harvey Beaks Orchestra, 2015

This last week, Team Harvey Beaks flew to Seattle, WA to record music for the current and upcoming season of our show. We recorded with 60 MUSICIANS! A full symphonic orchestra worth of world-class talent from Seattle’s Philharmonic and the Seattle Opera were assembled in the name of a little blue bird named Harvey! I am so proud to be writing music for the first Nickelodeon show to ever utilize an orchestra (not to mention the only cable animated series to record music at this scale). As far as music goes, we now ride side by side with the primetime network billion-dollar empires of The Simpsons and Family Guy.

One of the most exciting things we did was record the fully-orchestrated original songs for next season’s one-hour musical special: STEAMPUNKS! We even recorded with a smaller “Big Band” orchestra specifically for this. All I will say is just wait until you see Harvey do a lil’ soft-shoe!

God bless our producers and Nickelodeon for seeing the value in doing this. These are bold and wonderful risks being taken by a supportive network, contrary to what some may think. This is the real deal. Long Live Harvey Beaks!

-Ego Plum

Ego Plum (Composer) & C.H. Greenblatt (Harvey Beaks Creator)

Ego Plum (Composer), Robert Puff (Music Copyist), Steve Bartek (Orchestral Score Producer)

Ego Plum (Composer), with Reed Ruddy (Engineer) at Studio X.

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DAD BAND Montage | The Music of Harvey Beaks

One of my favorite subversive things to do as a composer on a television show  that reaches millions of children all around the world is to include stylistic musical homages to my favorite artists. I consider it a form of sonic philanthropy to pass along the wisdom of the ‘unsung’ artists that have so greatly influenced me. In the case of this weeks episode of Harvey Beaks titled “Dad Band,” I found an opportunity to create a tribute to to one of the greatest American pop/rock bands of the last 30 years: The Pixies.

Granted, i’m not allowed to lift any phrase from a Pixies song, so what I do instead is try and think like the Pixies would. From Kim Deal’s trademark “la la la” back up vocals and her driving bass lines, to Black Francis’ unconventional chord changes on his telecaster which are overlaid by an abrasive, yet simple melodic phrase by guitarist Joey Santiago. All these elements make up the language of the Pixies and that’s what I try to decipher and re-interpret when I write in the manner of any of my musical heroes.

I had the honor of playing banjo on stage with Black Francis on the Pixies song “Monkey Gone to Heaven” back in 2010. Now to see if I can get him to sing on an episode of Harvey Beaks! Hmm…

tl;dr- Listen to the Pixies.

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The “Comet Night” Orchestral Session | The Music of Harvey Beaks

Selling the absurd notion of a low-flying forest comet required treating those scenes with the utmost respect and sincerity. It’s not just a cartoon; the emotions are as real as can be. I thought back to some of the music that made me feel the gravitas of something ridiculous: like an ugly alien riding in the basket of a flying bicycle in E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and how effective John Williams’ score was. The music I wrote needed to convey an initial sense of mystery, uncertainty, hope, and triumph (in that order) and I’m glad we had the warmth of 40 humans performing at once to truly make these moments effective.  -Ego