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Music is an essential part of many cultures and in Pixar Coco's they knew they wanted to embedded into the film in every possible way! While in San Fransisco back in August we were able to sit down and talk about how the music from Mexico inspired them & how they were able to incorporate the music to further immerse you into the movie.
“COCO is about a kid who is a passion and desire for music. So, music was crucial to the storytelling in COCO” - Adrienne Molina
Despite his family’s baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt). Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael García Bernal), and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel's family history.
Creating The Music
While creating the music for Coco, they had to come at it in three different ways:
- Source Music: Creates the world where Miguel lives, fills it with music and inspires him along his journey.
- Score: Holds up the emotion of the film & plays the themes of the characters by exploring their environment.
- Original songs: They wanted to create unique songs to develop each characters individual performances.
Mexico has such a rich variety of music genre so they wanted to go beyond mariachi music. Songwriter and arranger Germaine Franco wanted to be as accurate as possible with the sounds and rhythms of Mexico.
Music consultant and musical artist Camilo Lara shared that they wanted to create a sound that you might hear in the plaza in Mexico.
“We wanted something that you didn’t buy in the record store, but something that is played throughout Mexico because of the different types of genres. We wanted to go beyond just Mariachi music”
During our interview, we had the pleasure of listening to Composer Michael Giacchino play some of the film’s music for us using the iconic Coco guitar.
We were also able to watch some clips that were recorded when the musicians were recording music, sounds, and instruments in Mexico for COCO. Some of these musicians are very famous in Mexico and others local musicians. Some of the artists didn’t even read music, but instead felt and understood sound...they wanted them to play to get a sense of realism in the music.
The movements that you see in the movie by the musicians were recorded to help animators create the actions used by the real-life musicians. Again they wanted to be as precise as possible when it came to the way these instruments were played.
You can see some of this in the video below!