My trick is to panic, says Four More Shots Please musician Mikey McCleary

Updated: Apr 20, 2020, 07:24 IST | Sonia Lulla | Mumbai

Growing adept at meeting the unreasonably short deadlines of Indian filmmakers, Four More Shots Please musician Mikey McCleary on following first instinct

Mikey McCleary
Mikey McCleary

Shaping the soundtrack of a web show that depends as much on its music as it does on its storyline and the cast's acting chops is no mean feat. But New Zealand musician Mikey McCleary has evidently hit the bull's eye with the musical palette of Four More Shots Please 2. McCleary, who has already moved on to work on the third edition, discusses how the city lent itself to the creation of the score for part two.

Even though this show is contemporary and modern, it banks heavily on its depiction of Mumbai. Does that affect the way you compose?
It does. South Bombay is a world in itself. There, people listen to international music. There were jazz clubs, and, in general, it has been influenced by Western music for several decades. I am comfortable with that [genre]. There are some traditional elements in the score. But, a major chunk of the music is international. Also, the characters are modern women, who, I suppose will be consumers of music from across the world. Since we had established the music in season one, composing for season two was simpler. In season three, there will be songs with a Bollywood flavour and, scores with Indian tonality.

Do you have a working method to arrive at the score for a show that heavily depends on the character of the city that it is set in?
I may not be among those who go for walks [around the city] in search of inspiration. What has particularly worked for Four More Shots Please is collaborations. These have made this an album that I am truly proud of. I am also grateful for the work ethic I've developed in India. Here, things need to be done in limited time, and hence, I have become instinctive. With the amount of work that must be put into a web series, that too in less time, the trick I have is to panic. [I constantly remind myself that] I don't have time, and I have a lot of work to do. That is exciting.

Four More Shots Please
Four More Shots Please

How is approaching a second edition different from working on an individual project?
The first season establishes the music of the world. One thing that works is the creation of bit-sized songs. I used to create a lot of jingles, so I enjoyed making them. These 30 to 45-second numbers that were used in season one warranted an extension [into fully fledged songs] for the second season. This brings about continuity, and gives the audience a sense of familiarity. The same process has been employed for season three as well.

Were these numbers originally created with the idea of extending them later, in case the opportunity arose?
No, they were created organically. I didn't think of them that way initially, but realised that the songs [could be applied] to other situations. I've worked with scores in a similar fashion too.

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