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Interview: Erik Blicker & Glenn Schloss of Flavorlab

On Composing the Themes for The View and Robin Roberts’ Disney+ Series

Erik Blicker & Glenn Schloss are the founders of Flavorlab, an award-winning audio production company that composes, records, mixes and masters music and sound for the biggest brands in the world.

Flavorlab’s recent project, Turning the Tables with Robin Roberts for Disney+, allows viewers to get personal with Robin Roberts and some of Hollywood’s groundbreaking women as they bear witness to their incredible journeys on their path to purpose. Each episode is a profound conversation filled with emotion and inspiration, featuring never-before-heard stories of how these groundbreakers came face-to-face with their vulnerability, authenticity, and intuition. Flavorlab’s Score team (composers Erik Blicker and Glenn Schloss) contributed original music to the series and their Sound team (mixing engineers Eric Stern and Ryan Hobler) mixed four episodes.

Flavorlab’s past projects include the original score, editing, and mix for the NBA Official 2020 Season Restart Announcement, the mix for documentary Do Not Split, the original score for HBO’s documentary Wildcard: Death of a Radio Loudmouth, and the original score, music licensing, and mix for KSV’s American Forest Foundation. Flavorlab also composed the theme song for ABC’s Emmy Award-winning iconic talk show The View, Polo Ralph Lauren recruited them to mix their recent Olympics spot, and HBO’s Emmy Award-winning series VICE utilizes their exclusive Producer’s Toolbox and licensing services for their show music.


Jason: Would you like to start by telling us about the origins of your love for music and sound?

Erik Blicker: My father took me to the library when I was eight years old, and we picked out a Beatles record, where he showed me how to put it on and record it to cassette tape reel-to-reel. I could only pick four songs off the record, so I had to move the needle around, pick those four songs and record it. That set my passion ablaze for both music and recording. I just followed a career path of doing what I love to do, which is making and pursuing music, audio recording, and engineering.

Glenn Schloss: I grew up in a super musical family. My older brother introduced me to the music of Jimi Hendrix, Steely Dan, Earth, Wind and Fire. I was listening to all this great stuff. My dad was into Latin jazz, so music was always blasting in my house. I went to Boston University, but I spent a lot of time down the block at the Berklee School of Music. I learned my way around the studio, doing studio work as a drummer. Then I finally moved back to New York and met Erik, and we locked into a groove. A week after meeting him, I was asked to work on a show with VH1, so I brought him on board and here we are.

Jason: Tell us a more interesting story or most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career.

Erik Blicker: We started Flavorlab at a time when the internet was just getting going, in 1997, but we were always at the forefront of that technology. We had one of the first music company websites in New York; It wasn’t an incredible website, but we were one of the few ones to have one. We were getting calls from all over the world to do different sorts of projects; we get calls from Nokia to create ringtones for their phones, and we get calls for doing post-production or scoring Discovery Channel shows. Furthermore, we’re constantly working with new technology. Right now we’re spending a lot of time with ATMOS and playing around with spatial audio with music and post-production. Since our company does all three of those things, we do original scoring and composition; we do music catalogue and licensing, and then we have an audio post-production business, which is Flavorlab Sound.

Glenn Schloss: As far as interesting gigs, we have had a lot of fun and a wonderful relationship with PBS and PBS Kids. We worked with an incredible creative director, Matthew Kennedy, and he allowed us to put together this amazing PBS Kids band. We wrote 10 to 15 interstitials using their pneumonic, and we got this killer band together. We had Ben Stivers on the keyboard, who’s played with Lyle Lovett. Our idea was to play instruments that were not necessarily traditional. We had this great back and forth with Matthew and coming up with all these different styles, stylistically for PBS Kids. So that was one of the highlights for me, working on a fun project.

Jason: Can you tell us how the collaboration with Disney+ and specifically the Robin Roberts show came your way?

Glenn Schloss: Kadine Anckle, the lead producer, brought us on onboard for Turning the Tables. She thought of us when they needed a music package. Kadena and I had a conversation initially about it, she was super excited, to bring this project to life and I quickly got Eric on board where we started talking about what her vision was for the project and for the theme song because the music was super important. They were figuring out shots for the opening, and they were going to film everything, and the music was going to be a part of that. We were giving birth to the music while they were shooting the opening out in LA, and Kadena had this wonderful vision of connectedness of iconic women of spirituality. We talked about possibly an ARIA for the open, and she wanted it to be in phases, so each show would be a continuation of the theme; it wasn’t just going to be one branded theme. That was interesting because generally, a theme song is one hook, and you’re in, and you’re out. But she wanted this to continue to tell a story throughout each opening of each episode. So that was really cool to get to write this massive composition and then have moments of it from each piece as a continuation.

Erik Blicker: It was such an incredible project because it was creative and musical and connectedness. Kadine Anckle is a remarkable executive producer because she was super creative and positive and always pushed things forward positively, which made it fun. You could tell she brings that to her whole creative team — openness for everybody to bring in their own creative ideas. When she said that she wanted to have a spiritual connectedness, like an anthem, iconic theme song, that would be the theme for the show that would bring you into the conversations the women were having. When she brought us in, she was bringing it to what it was going to be, with her shots and everything, and we understood that. It was cool getting brought on like that. We had a lot of discussions about musical creativity, and it was super fun.

Jason: What’s your approach to when you have to do a very dialogue-heavy series such as this one?

Erik Blicker: Well, for this, along with the theme songs of television shows we’ve done before, like, we did the theme song for The View on ABC that aired from 2014 to 2017. And those talk-show musical things, there’s a lot of leading in and out of the conversations and moving things forward. So as far as it being dialogue-heavy, it’s really setting up the feeling of what the producers want the viewers to feel and engage with, and then leaving them in and out of conversations. It’s the type of show that’s a lot different from scoring a film. We scored a film for HBO called Wildcard: The Downfall of a Radio Loudmouth. And that was scored differently than these types of shows, one’s more like a talk show type kind of thing where you’re setting up the environment, creating the environment, and then the feeling of what they want. And there was a lot of talk about what that feeling was.

Glenn Schloss: I would just add the other theme song for Gideon’s show for Turning the Tables. The underscore was really inspired and drawn out of the elements from that theme. The underscore is very sparse, where we took certain elements from that theme. Once we had done the heavy lifting with the theme, we took moments of that for the editorial team. We had some sprinkled moments throughout, as opposed to a feature film where it’s driving quite a bit of underscore between scenes.

Jason: And you collaborated with a vocalist on this. What was it about this voice where you guys said, that’s it, that’s what we need?

Glenn Schloss: We had a lot of fun with the vocalists. This woman, Mai-Elka Prado, who ended up getting the gig was up against major competition between all of these other heavyweight singers. We wanted everybody to get a fair shake at getting this project. So Erik was transcribing the keys for each of the demos that we were recording and finding the right keys for each of the singers. They all sang in different keys. So there was a lot of meticulous work behind allowing them to all show their best voice. There were three or four front runners in Mai-Elka Prado who ended up getting the gig.

Glenn Schloss: She was incredible and when you heard her voice. It was this wonderful explosion of her voice, being the right fit for this particular opening. We didn’t see it until we finally got to see the open. We wrote the music prior to seeing the actual open, so it was exciting to get to see it, and then to see each voice. There was a particular tonality to her voice that set up the beginning of the show. It was ironically through a little video that she had made singing in Central Park that she had sent to codeine. We thought it was super cool. It really worked out great.

Jason: What do you guys look for when deciding on a project? You must get offered tons of work, but what do you look for personally — what speaks to you?

Erik Blicker: First and foremost is the connection with the people that you’re working with. We’ve been doing this for a while. So I think a lot of the folks that we work with, we have a rapport with. We’ve done a lot of wonderful projects in the past, and now we’re working with the director, Jeff Schwartz, and we look forward to every year getting his call because he’s just such a joy and positive person creative collaborator to work with. The beauty of this job is that we get to do so many types of things. We just did a really cool music song to drive a campaign for Nickelodeon last week. It might be a feature film, or it might be the 30-second promo and might be a commercial, could be a custom library for a new reality show. I mean, that is the beauty of the job is that we really enjoy getting our teeth into lots of different things, whether it’s long-form or short form, but I think the people that you’re working with, that you vibe with, that you want to be inspired by, I think that’s the most important thing. We’ve been super lucky to work with some of the most talented and cool, open-minded creative folks in this business.

Jason: What are some of the more interesting or exciting projects you are you’re working on now?

Eric Blicker: The Nickelodeon International project was a lot of fun, so we’re excited about that. It was a real authentic pop-driven track that is going to be highlighting Season Two of the show coming up.

Glenn Schloss: Erik talked a little about the project with Jeff Schwartz, which was about an incarceration program, I should say, a de-incarceration program for folks in New York City in Rikers Island that is an alternative to being incarcerated. There’s this wonderful program that allows folks to get a second chance, a second opportunity with mental illness. So we were super proud to share it to shed a light on this organization. It was a remarkable documentary.

Erik Blicker: Right now we’re working with CBS Sports, and we wrote a lot of tracks for the NFL, highlight music for the NFL and CBS, and also for PGA Golf on CBS. We did the music for ESPN 10-15 years ago, and they still use it like crazy. What we’re working on now is a lot of highlights music for sports, which is fun.

To learn more about Erik and Glenn’s work visit https://www.flavorlab.com

Written by Jason Sheppard

Entertainment reporter living at the end of very cold Canada. Proud owner of a diploma in journalism and just about every CD by John Williams ever released. Favorite directors are Spielberg, Scorsese, Kubrick, Tarantino, Fellini, Lynch and Fincher. Twin Peaks, Sopranos and Six Feet Under are the greatest TV dramas ever crafted and I love 90s sitcoms such as Spin City, Sports Night, Newsradio, Seinfeld and even that one with Deadpool working in the pizza place. Click linkies below to follow me.

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