PHOTO BY CORINNE MERRELL wider range to play around with on stage. I mean, we do it very dynamically, but still they’re all huddled under the table. They’re thinking about something a little more action-based. It was the real sort of breakthrough moment for me. It’s like, okay, so what if Creatures of the Late Afternoon is the soundtrack to the next show and the next show is an action film? Once that came into play, then I was like, alright, I need a real banger of an opener for the opening credits. So I worked on the “Here Now” track, and I’m imagining when you’re sitting in the theater and you hear this beat come on, and I want to see the letters come into play ... Romeo ... Echo ... it’s spelling out the title of the show and the album. And so I wanted it to launch off that way. And then once that happened, it started to tell me what would happen next in the plot. I had the characters and I had a loose storyline mapped out, but in typical action movie trope fashion, I said, okay, well, we need the final third act denouement showdown battle track, you know “Rise of the Tardigrades.” And we need the moment, the crisis moment, where the protagonist is not sure whether they can do it. We need the training moment, but we need the moment where all the creatures rally together to go up against this common foe. And so it told me what tracks needed to happen, at what point, in this show that’s not even out yet. Jonny: That was the feeling we got. Listening to this could easily be a soundtrack. The way you present it, that makes total sense now. Kid Koala: I’m glad you picked up on it. I didn’t want it to be overly explicit that way, like you had to listen to it with that ear open to narrative or anything. Because some of the songs are just me being my own music supervisor — I want to write a song here that, if I were to license the song, it would be a doo-wop style love song. You know what I mean? Jonny: Like the song about your parents? Kid Koala: Exactly. So it’s one of those things where there’s two characters, there’s always a love story, an element of that. That song [“When U You Say Love”] I’d written for my parents originally, but then I was like, I think it could work in terms of playing that part of the meeting and the date montage sequence in the show. And so that’s where it landed, right there, kind of at the heart of the the record and of the show. So while I was working on even the storyboards, it’s like, oh, we have this motorcycle chase sequence. So it really came down to we just need a short queue to make all this happen. That track “Highs, Lows & Highways” is just car chase music eventually, but for now, it exists as an album thing. The answer is, I wasn’t explicitly just scoring this story because the story was still forming while I was making the music, and it was informing how the music was going to go, which would then inform what the story might need next in terms of pacing and energy. And so that’s really how it came together. Jonny: That’s got to be good to have so many references to create something, to know that this could be a puppet show, this is going to be a game, this is an album, this is my music. To have all these things kind of guiding you as you go through it must have been helpful. Kid Koala: Exactly. In a way, it kind of provided the framework of — it has to work on these multiple levels and I just wanted it to still be a fun listen. I was picking my kids up from school. We were listening to it back and forth, I don't know how many months. I remember the day it released I said, we’re going to listen to this one last time and then you’re never going to hear this again. (laughing) They know all the words to “Robo Hotel,” every little thing. They could just recite it now. But I was there mainly checking mixes and stuff like that and just seeing how it was flowing as a record to cruise to even. Having that framework of these characters I had in my mind, how they would interact, what would happen in the course of a story, even if it was a prototype version of it at first, was just exactly what you said it was, like a good muse-like guidance process. Krysti: I feel like you’re an artist who, it’s not only about telling your own story, it’s about inviting the listener, the reader, the person into your world and having them interact with your art. And to see it come to fruition with a game. When I was sitting there cutting the pieces out, I was like, man, this is so cathartic. This is so healing. And the fact that I knew you created it in the pandemic, such a globally traumatic event, and everything else going on. George Floyd. Me Too. Et cetera. And then JULIANNA'S BAND PHOTO BY MIKAEL THEIMER

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