In researching a story I planned to do about the general state of corruption I see in the music industry today, I've been engaged in ongoing conversions with someone I consider to be a musical genius. If you read "Rye Randa – Musician Extraordinaire" and subsequent articles I've written about him, you'll know the person I'm talking about and why I consider him to be genius.
Rye Randa, and those with whom he collaborates, continue to evolve artistically, ever taking music in new directions. He surrounds himself and his craft with people of similar musical brilliance; those that can understand the level of excellence required in writing and performing alongside him. I'll get to a couple of those other wizards a bit later on. Let me first set the scene for this interview by explaining how I got word of his latest venture.
As already mentioned, I was researching an article regarding corruption in the music industry, a story that I planned make public at some time in the very near future. Rye was recounting a personal experience about one of those people who'd displayed questionable ethics and broken some promises. It was a story that I would've been more than happy to include in the piece.
Rye informed me that one of his friends at Dateline was also considering investigating the person behind his complaint. Dateline is much bigger than me personally, and has endless resources at their disposal with which to do an in-depth investigation.
That doesn't mean I won't do the story, it just means I've put it on the back burner for the moment, and here's why. That story can simmer back there for a bit, and it might even work itself out, assuming the subject of that piece doesn't cook up some new excuse for not following through with an agreement.
By now, I'd been distracted by this new venture. In the midst of telling me what happened to him, Rye landed the following bit of news in my lap, causing me to refocus my efforts and spread much happier news instead. Here's a quote I found smack dab in the middle of the evidence he'd been sending for the "corruption in music" story:
"On a more positive note, I wanted to let you know about a new series that Jeff (Foxworth) and I are scoring. It's called The Wanted and premieres July 20th on NBC. We're still awaiting confirmation on the time slot, but 10pm was the last I heard. We've branded ourselves as a producer-writer team called "The Ontic" and will be launching TheOntic.com very soon. This is a really exciting venture for us and we hope it leads to many more projects to come… AND, if that weren't exciting enough, Michael Johns (American Idol Season 7 finalist) co-wrote and sang the theme song for us! It's called "The Great Divide" and will be available on iTunes in the very near future. We're also shooting a music video this week, which will be available on iTunes as well."
Now Rye very well knows that if he gives me a piece of news this huge, it has the exact same effect as switching on and personally jump-starting my question machine. I no longer take pity on anyone who is fully aware that I'll bombard them with questions when they share their news with me. However, he does still retain my unending respect and gratitude for his willingness to put up with the onslaught of questions from people like me.
I immediately went into research mode again, this time scouring the web for any information about NBC's series The Wanted, just so I'd have an idea of what type of program we were talking about, and what kind of questions to ask. The first mention of NBC's new series that I found on the internet was from a press release provided at National Terror Alert, a very heavy duty website. There may have been other sites that posted news of the series before this one, but this was as far I needed to look before finding out just how important the program will be into the very distant future.
The Wanted looks to be the epitome in reality TV, focusing on the very real threats of terrorists and what it takes to track them down in the modern age. The series follows a former Navy Seal, a former U.S. Intelligence official, and an Emmy award winning journalist as they zero in on war criminals worldwide. For more information on the series itself, you can find it at their website or watch for the trailer on NBC.
As you probably know by now, I'm here to cover the music part of the show. The following questions and answers are what flew back and forth so I could deliver the full story of scoring for the series, courtesy of Rye Randa, one half of The Ontic, a.newly formed writer-producer team
After watching the trailer for The Wanted on Direct TV via a link provided by Jeff Foxworth, the other half of The Ontic, I was a bit confused to find another song being featured at the end of that particular trailer. I asked Rye if the theme song for the series was still "The Great Divide" or if it had been changed to Midnight Youth's "The Calvary". Here's what he responded.
"The Great Divide" should be available on iTunes any day now. It is still the main theme song for the show and will be used in most if not all NBC trailers. "The Cavalry" is a fantastic song by our friends Midnight Youth, which was used in the Direct TV trailer, and possible future promo, but not as the theme.
Can you tell me more about scoring for the series and how it differs from scoring films?
Well, as you would imagine, a series can be quite a bit more work than a film, just in the sense that there is a larger demand for material. Each episode is like a movie of its own, requiring the same amount of content in a much shorter time frame.
Where did you come up with the name "The Ontic"?
In short, the word "Ontic" means "pertaining to that which is real" or "having the status of real and ultimate existence". However its meaning is a bit complex, and is open to many possible interpretations. That's why we like it so much! Since it's a word you don't hear very often, we hope people will be intrigued enough to look it up and come up with their own interpretation of how the word applies to us and to our music. Kinda fun right?
(Writer's note: He was right in assuming not knowing what the term "The Ontic" stood for would make people go and look it up. I did, before he could even respond. (Sneaky devil) The actual definition can be both as complicated as you choose to make it, and simple enough to be subject to individual interpretation. I like his description the best so far. I even found a website that offered "The Ontic Principle". Interesting stuff!
Did being nominated for "Best Original Soundtrack" at the X-Games have anything to do with you landing the scoring job for the series?
As you may already know, The Wanted is co-executive produced by our very good friend Charlie Ebersol, who also produced Don't Look Down and Ithuteng. Charlie, along with his brothers Willie and Harmony, have always expressed their belief in us and the work we do. So we hope this is just the beginning of a long and prosperous relationship.
When told the original video shoot for the video didn't happen that week, I asked what would it take to get the three artists to sit down in front of a video camera (preferably switched to the on position), record one of their jam sessions, and call it a video?
In fact, we just received word that they will be cutting a "Music Video" with footage from the show to use for promo.
Please tell me the video trailer they're doing for this will include the entire song. Is it being created to air on video channels like VH1 and MTV? Did they also tell you when we'll be able to see it?
My understanding is they will use it as a promo piece to advertise the show, but it will not be a typical "music video" that you'd see on VH1 or MTV. My guess is that it will be a 60 second promo spot.
How long in advance do you receive the episodes for scoring?
Well, in this case we did not receive any completed episodes before our work began. Due to the real-time nature of this show, the filming process has continued up until the very last minute (even for Episode 1). So although some of the music was scored to picture, much of it was created during the editing/ shooting process, before picture was locked. For particular scenes we would be given various musical references and ideas that would help point us in the right direction.
What additional duties does being Music Editors for the show add to what you already do?
As Music Editors, we're responsible for making sure all the musical transitions are smooth from scene to scene. We create what are called music "stems" that are broken down into various groups such as drums, strings, guitars etc. These separate groupings allow us to get very intricate with the edits and create the most seamless transitions.
Is the music being recorded in your studios or on the set?
At our studio.
What can you tell me about Ear Candy Music?
Earcandy is a music publishing company and library, and is the executive music producer for the The Wanted. The company is run by Harmony Lucas (Charlie and Willie's brother). Harmony is also the music supervisor for the show. He's not only a great friend of ours, but he plays an intricate role in making sure all musical needs are being met on time, and provides a channel of communication between us and the producers.
Since tracking down terrorists is the subject matter of "The Wanted", it has the potential to be an unending series. How many episodes are you aware of so far?
At this time six episodes are in production with the potential for more. Of course, an "unending" show would be very nice.(He smiles.)
Did the Ebersol brothers share with you their inspiration for the series?
I think the goal is to be of service to the world-community while creating compelling and informative television in the process.
How does the subject of the series inspire or affect the songwriting for the series?
Once you see the show you'll understand why there's no lack of inspiration. The subject matter is very serious.
Do you have the capacity to score for more than one series or movie at a time?
This project has been very demanding, and has taken a majority of our time for the last eight months. However, we have taken on other projects as well. The bottom line is that we're very passionate and love what we do, so we don't mind working around the clock when necessary.
That passion and love for their craft is highly evident in every piece of music I've heard from these artists. "The Great Divide" theme song has smash hit written all over it! It fully captures the intensity, excitement and drama of what is certain to be NBC's new hit series The Wanted. The song is made of soul pounding classic rock in its most raw and exquisitely powerful form!
Jeff Foxworth and Rye Randa are the artists-writer-producers that make up the newly formed entity called "The Ontic". Collectively, they bring highly acclaimed experience in scoring to everything they create. These are the same guys, who along with Michael Johns (latest release story here), co-wrote and performed on the score for the Shaun White documentary soundtrack Don't Look Down – The Height Of Competition.
That brilliant soundtrack was nominated for "Best Original Music Score" at X-Dance 2009 for their excellence in artistry. Add to that bit of genius Michael Johns co-writing and laying down incredible vocals for the new single "The Great Divide", and you've got a smash hit on your hands! Look for NBC's new series The Wanted and trailer video coming out soon. The series airs on NBC beginning July 20th at 10PM!
I could apply many of the principles and definitions I found when I looked up the term "The Ontic" to this newly formed entity they've so named and created. At a website called Larval Subjects, the writer gives what he or she considers is "The Ontic Priciple". But before actually giving their thought on the subject, explains the simplicity of the principle in this way.
"This thought, though it will no doubt sound disappointing, almost banal, once I formulate it as a principle, was one of those moments where you feel as if you’ve been struck by lightning, blinded, or hit in the gut with a sudden philosophical idea where everything feels as if it’s being drawn together. Or perhaps again, it was the flash of a fundamental commitment, a drawing of the line, that you were trying to articulate all along."
Here's the theory that writer came up with:
The Ontic Principle: There is no difference that does not make a difference.
That principle, though simply put, is truly profound if you think about it long enough. Although I could apply that principle to the writing-producing team of the same name, I still prefer Rye's explanation of "The Ontic" as an entity. You'll recall he said the word "Ontic" means "pertaining to that which is real" or "having the status of real and ultimate existence".
My take on the description is even simpler than his. With the word "it" meaning any entity, and the word "is" defined as existing, I would define "The Ontic" in its most basic form as "It is". Or perhaps in this case, since it is the two talents combined who properly formed "The Ontic", it might be more appropriate to say "They are", although the ultimate entity in the end, is one.
You see? I told you the definition can be as complicated as you choose to make it, or as simple as I choose to use the thought process. In either case, I'm thankful "The Ontic" is real, ultimately exists, and by applying higher standards of principles to the projects they champion and to which they lend their talents, they choose to make a difference in the world. It is the difference between excellence in artistry and the "it'll do" mentality of other artists too often seen today.
Their new single The Ontic (featuring Michael Johns) -"The Great Divide – (theme from The Wanted)" can be heard and downloaded now at Amazon.com, and will be coming soon to iTunes. Do yourself a favor and go have a listen. I bought mine a couple of days ago and quite honestly, can't stop playing it!
Now back to researching the other story.
Cheers and best wishes to those men who do have that kind of courage, and to "The Ontic" for making a difference in our lives.