The Daily is a hit podcast from The New York Times, hosted by Michael Barbaro. Every weekday, over 1.7 million people download the show. It launched in February 2017, and in honor of its two-year anniversary, we’re publishing a bonus episode about the show’s theme song, which was composed by Jim Brunberg and Ben Landsverk of Wonderly. It was originally published on the New York Times website, in 2018.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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whether its on tv or on the radio or on a pod cast faces a lot of pressure, often before anything else. It's the theme that tells you something about the personality of a show and its point of view, and while the content of every episode changes, the theme has to stay the same while still setting the stage appropriately for what's to come, and ultimately it becomes an indelible part of the show itself. So in the team from your times was getting the Ellie Podcast started. They were thinking about all these challenges. Here's Michael Barbara! There are some really unique needs on a show like this. You have to listen. Every morning, is to announce the world to you and as to make you feel like you're excited to get through the next twenty minutes. and it needs energy been up too much energy cuz. A lot of people are consuming this in the morning and you don't want to like throw too much at them, but you do put them back to sleep because they just woke up. So it is really complicated and tricky odd.
math that I do believe they got quite right when he says they, Michael referring to Jim Run Burg and Ben lands. Work of the composing do a wonderfully coming up Ben and Jim breakdown. How the dailies theme is, it was created, they got the audio math right, but it wasn't a street returning, let's start from the beginning, Omar borrow and on the managing editor and host of the daily from the New York Times the deal he is a five day a week show about twenty minutes long, you try to make sense of the world in one or two segments that approach news in a narrative or explanatory way we needed music, it was going to hold up and complement the editorial content of the show LISA Tobin, who is the executive producer, for all of your times. Audio has had a long standing relationship with a group of musicians, Jim Bromberg and Ben Landsberg of Wonder Lake. This is Jim Brunberg,
I'm Ben Landsberg and we are wonderly and we were quite surprised. An honored when we got the call when they call It was right after the new year and we were about to kind of take a break. Jim was about to go out of town, knows about start working on a different project, so we we just said here's our Soundcloud page. We said well look at our library and see if any of the Thai. The music that we already have are what you're looking for- and I did I played as many of them as I could and I would kind to keep a log of which ones I like and that's where things started, We were surprised when we got back. They said. Yes, we love this one. Song that they chose it's sort of a punk, russian rock and roll song. Now You think I would necessarily associate with news at the crazy, scrawny, guitar little Elvis Stella Oregon kind of almost like like a circus, feel some targets,
It's the last thing in the world that we thought the New York Times would like. We were kind of shocked, because that is so. We started this process of trying to tweak it, make it into something that would Substitute all of their needs, we would stay, phone call and then they go off and come back and we would have a marathon conversation about how it made us feel and what worked it went through Maybe a dozen permutations from being this thing with a lot of attitude to sort of getting smoothed out along all the edges. We kept going fourth and getting iterations, but we all felt it wasn't quite right. it was to melancholy, it was too slow. It was a little too moody all of the work we had done. It was completely
stop the window, which is fine, it's a normal thing when you're making music. So we asked him what he wanted here. We sort of got personal with it I was in love with the theme music for Westworld the, really popular HBO drama. The sound is sort of like Michael sing, too. this piece of music I had never heard, Westworld the thing that really got us going wasn't listening to Westworld. It was listening to Michael Barbaro sing the theme from Westworld. That's what all the sudden made sense Suddenly something clicked it was like. Oh that's! What we're going for strident romantic, but a very rational overtone I ran over the piano been picked up his viola, and we just true that
im out there. That is now still the melody of the piece. The all of strings on this are villas that whale sound effect is and the fact that you can get by just lightly running your finger up and down during while you're Boeing it so it catches all of the natural harmonics on the string, the guitars state in a similar type of dissonant discomfort. I have this analog delay, pedal that I use just turning the knob slowly down until it grinds to a halt and see
and if we really spiky stuff. Sometimes we exist in this extremely polarized time. When we are asked to write, a piece of music that supports the emotional landscape of the news going to have elements that are jarring so there's sweeping melody and there's some ugliness supporting it from time to time, then we recorded the drums wanted a big open. You know some big. Its and then a drop down. Where Michael would talk so there's all sorts of room to talk about the day's top story there's a double bass that I play The direction we been going with this place is that we don't want it to ever land and give you that
comfortable feeling of authority, because it's not the news authority, it's the news contemplation! So I'm member before you did the base parts like okay, whenever possible, don't play the tonic right by inverted. the chords. So if it's a c minor chord, don't play a c note play me for any flat or a jeep so that it's never going to really land. The bass part by itself, It might not even sound like the song, because it's sort of a constant series of inversions kind of at the last minute, We got some direction from Andy males who is one of the M producers, and he sent us this beautiful piece of a cliff Martinez music from the score to that series, those are population and some are tragic, but oh, very, very simple and kind of contemplative like let us try something like that:
I describe it, is a siren, says: pulsating, sound, that's kind going up and down when you think about why a siren made sense for this show it's because as we launch the daily on February. First, We had just had an excruciatingly, partisan, angry presidential election. The country was deeply ribbon and a couple weeks into this new presidency the country was convulsing from a series of changes challenge. is to our health care system, to our immigration system and its a little bit that siren like police car going by and just kind of throttling you and making you think about what is going on here and the whole point of the show was as to disentangle and to explain extraordinarily consequential. An incredibly differ, what to understand moment in our history and
that siren to me is both the audio dna of the show and kind of a metaphor for the show itself, as opposed to having a conclusion. The unresolved aspects of it still are bubbling under the surface, that's kind of how we feel after we hear the way Michael sums up and discusses the news. It's not resolve so LOL Wurlitzer. The upward data keeps asking a question all the way to the end, and that's the last thing you hear and now here's the theme to the daily by wonderly in it's entirety, The
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Transcript generated on 2022-03-27.