Watch the Sound with Mark Ronson – behind the scenes look at the electronic music industry
GRAMMY®-winning producer and artist Mark Ronson explores music’s intersection with artistry and technology. This docuseries dives deep into the tools and techniques that revolutionized music, like Auto-Tune, sampling, and reverb. Mark and a who’s who of hitmakers&mash;including Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Questlove, King Princess, Adrock and Mike D from the Beastie Boys, and Charli XCX—revisit the moments of genius and happy accidents that shaped modern music as we know it.
“Watch the Sound with Mark Ronson,” a new six-part docuseries that examines sound creation and the revolutionary technology that has shaped music as we know it over the years. At the end of each episode, Ronson will create and unveil a unique piece of original music using groundbreaking technology and techniques that have been discussed in each of the six episodes – sampling, reverb, auto-tune, synth, drum machines, and distortion.
Each episode follows Ronson as he uncovers the untold stories behind music creation, and the lengths producers and creators are willing to go to find the perfect sound. He explores music’s intersection with artistry and technology in candid conversations with music legends and icons, including Paul McCartney, Questlove, King Princess, Dave Grohl, Ad-Rock and Mike D from the Beastie Boys, Charli XCX and more, where he discovers the ways in which these unique tools have influenced their work.
While DJ/Producer Mark Ronson has had a solid career in music so far, working with many of the top names in the industry, watching this series makes it known that he’s a music fan as much as any of the viewers watching. His production career kicked off when he secured the gig of producing the debut release from Amy Winehouse, and it skyrocketed forward ever since, working with the likes of Adele, Lady Gaga, Robbie Williams, Miley Cyrus, and his Uptown Funk Grammy Award collaboration with Bruno Mars. Yet with all this behind him, researching and interviewing for this project must have been a dream come true for this music man. This series is for true die-hard music fans who want to know the secrets behind creating some of the biggest hits in history. Well documented with interviews from musicians, historians, and creators, this is not to be missed.
Musicians have been sampling other musicians since technology allowed for this, but it really became prominent during the rise of hip hop in the 1980s.
The use of reverb adds a whole different element to recordings, and Ronson admits that this was when his career really started.
Many shunned the use of this technique when it first appeared, stating that it was used by those who couldn’t sing. Cher proved this wrong back in 1998, and today that robotic sound is bigger than ever.
While synthesizers became uber popular in the 1980s, there were pioneers like Delia Derbyshire and Wendy Carlos perfecting this format well before then. However, there was one song in particular that popularized synths in music forever.
As with auto-tune, drum purists were taken aback that a machine could replace an actual drummer. Despite this, the Roland TR-808 and Lindrum machines became widely accepted, used by the likes of Duran Duran and Kraftwerk. Today, the Ableton software program offers similar sounds, but there’s nothing that can beat the sounds of this Phil Collins classic.
This technique of cranking the dials to the no-go red zone on the recording dial is generally unwelcome for any professional, however it’s been used forever by some musicians, and more times than not was a result of an error. Primarily known within the punk, metal, and grunge scene, it can also be found on some softer sounding tunes. Sonic Youth, Bikini Kill, and of course Social Distortion come to mind, but one of the early musicians to distort was Link Wray.
Executive Produced by Academy Award-winning producer Morgan Neville (“20 Feet from Stardom”) and hosted by Mark Ronson, an internationally renowned DJ and Oscar, Golden Globe and seven-time Grammy award-winning artist and producer. Produced by Tremolo Productions, with Ronson, Neville, Mark Monroe, Jason Zeldes and Kim Rozenfeld serving as Executive Producers.
The first episode is streaming at Hot Docs April 29 to May 9, 2021. Tickets here. Watch all episodes exclusively on Apple TV+, premiering July 30.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.