The other day I heard Spike Lee talking on the radio about the process of curating the right music for the superb soundtrack to his latest ‘joint’, BlackKklansman. He was talking passionately about lost Prince songs, the Edwin Hawkins Singer’s version of ‘Oh Happy Day’ and how ‘Ball of Confusion’ by The Temptations so effectively captured that essence at the heart of his film. The lyrics, the energy, the FEELING that music can add to the sense of a ‘thing’. And the interviewer speculated that Quentin Tarantino would ‘probably be ‘biting his fist’ when he heard it.
And who knew combining B-movie kung-fu, 60s Western soundtracks, cult surf songs and classic soul would give birth to a new type of postmodern cinema cool? Quentin Tarantino sustains his ‘brand’ through a variety of genres – from Westerns to WW2 to heist thrillers – in a number of ways but especially through the music he curates for his films. No matter the period, genre or narrative, his music choices ensure he is always on-brand Tarantino.
Of course, using music to inject substance in to film is nothing new – but it wasn’t until 1985 when BBH and Marvin Gaye’s ‘I Heard it through The Grapevine’ helped increase sales of Levi 501s by 800% in advertising. At the height of 80s capitalism and shiny new stuff, the 60s were cool again, and so were Levi’s. TV advertising never looked back, if you’ll excuse the pun.
As designers and marketeers, it doesn’t always occur to us to think in terms of sound when we are problem solving, but as brands have become increasingly more about telling stories through digital and time-based media, the importance of music should not be underestimated. Maybe it’s time for us to not just think about how a brand should look and feel – but also how it should sound.
Dunk Design are obsessed with music have a load of playlists ready to get in to your ears, and they are all on Spotify. The latest is available now