Kristopher Carter, Lolita Ritmanis, and Michael McCuistion are the Emmy Winning composers behind DC Animation’s greatest hits.
What is it that makes Warner Bros. Animation so prestigious?
The short answer? The list is long.
If you had to pick one with little debate? The music.
Warner Bros. Studios is a historical institution for the animated picture. Since the Looney Tunes of the thirties, through its continually groundbreaking work with DC, a point of pride for the institution has been high quality musical scores for animated shorts, TV shows, and movies.
Our newest episode of the Above and Batman Beyond podcast features an interview with WB’s Dynamic Music Partners. Kristopher Carter, Lolita Ritmanis, and Michael McCuistion are the Emmy Winning composers behind DC Animation’s greatest hits: Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Justice League, numerous animated features, and now, Young Justice.
The first half of YJ Season 3 is now on the DC Universe app, and the second half of the new season drops this summer. Subtitled Outsiders, YJ S3 is available only on the DC Universe app. So, make sure to sign up for Outsiders and other DCU exclusives. Honestly, YJ is worth the monthly price of admission alone, not to mention all of the other DC content available to subscribers.
Our newest DMP pod was the second time I had the honor of speaking with these masterful composers. The first interview, we focused mostly on the music of Batman Beyond, as well as its BTAS predecessor (Check out episodes 5 and 15 of ABB for those talks) . Now, we shifted to the freshest of fresh DC/WB Animation: Young Justice: Outsiders.
From the beginning of the series, we talked about it being a lot more about the sneaking around. This is a covert ops unit.
Today’s piece covers a quote from Kristopher Carter first, but stay tuned here at C506 for more interview excerpts with the other two Dynamic Music Partners: Lolita Ritmanis and Michael McCuistion. Carter composed the unforgettable Batman Beyond animated series main theme, as well as the acclaimed animated feature from Beyond, Return of the Joker.
From my podcast interview with the Dynamic Music Partners (Skip to 21:50):
Benjamin David: You talked about how [the music of Batman Beyond] was full of adrenaline, and industrial futurism, and metal, and so on. What are the keywords, or key feelings, you guys go for on Young Justice?
Kristopher Carter: From the beginning of the series, we talked about it being a lot more about the sneaking around. This is a covert ops unit. So, [the showrunners, Brandon Vietti and Greg Weisman] both wanted the music to feel a little more stealthy, a little more secretive; less about the orchestra.
…when we were focusing on the covert ops, it’s a lot more electronic, a lot more ambient; lots of percussion, and drums, and maybe some other cultures, ethnic elements thrown in.
Because, at the time, we wanted to have a clear separation: The orchestra is for the Justice League. Whenever they come into the story, that’s when we would bring in the French horns, and the strings, and like, “The Justice League!” But, then, when we were focusing on the covert ops, it’s a lot more electronic, a lot more ambient; lots of percussion, and drums, and maybe some other cultures, ethnic elements thrown in. But, definitely not as much about the traditional orchestral theme, because we reserve that just for the Justice League.
But, as we have come back now, Young Justice has always had a passage of time. Every episode is time stamped. You get a sense of what’s happening when. When we went from Season 1 to Season 2, there was a definite jump in time, and our heroes are older.
…the whole sound of the show has expanded and matured as our heroes have as well.
Season 3 is the same thing. More time has passed. Some of our heroes have grown up, and some have joined the Justice League. And, they’ve taken more of an actual leadership role over the group, and it’s not just “the team.” So, in that sense, we’ve expanded the sound out. Now, we actually bring in some strings, and some horns, and more traditional orchestral elements, even with our covert ops team. So, the whole sound of the show has expanded and matured as our heroes have as well.
Again, stay tuned here at C506 for more from this podcast interview with Kristopher Carter and the Dynamic Music Partners. More fascinating musical insight to come from Lolita Ritmanis, Michael McCuistion, and even more from Carter as well!
The second half of Young Justice: Outsiders drops this summer, only on the DC Universe app. Sign up for YJ, Batman Beyond, BTAS, and endless DC Animation, much of which features the composers we spoke with today.
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