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Meet the man behind the Pete theme song

News
09 March 2020
Alex Big Soul Mugenda...
pete, alex big soul mugenda, pete theme songs

We recently caught up with him and this is what he had to say:

Take us through the creative process of producing the Pete theme songs

It takes quite a task! To be creative in creating the moods for every scene needs an excellent and quick mind to be able to plan and deliver the projects in time/deadlines. Most important is that you should have instant inspirations every time a scene comes up! I have had to create additional track on-the-go that is I play and record live when a scene is playing on my screen in real-time.

Where do you get the inspiration from for your songs and what kind of emotions did you intend to evoke/convey with the songs you produced?

I get inspirations to create these songs in so many avenues. Most of the time I visit the shooting location where the actual shooting event is happening! For example, ‘the scene where “Jasiri” is being evicted from his father’s palace, by his brother “Mbura”, I had to be there to exploit their facial expressions, the energy that comes raw in the actual setting, seeing the crew’s reaction when the shooting goes on, hence gives me the drive for an emotional symphony that will affect the viewer. Since symphonies are not just music, but a movement of vibrations that enhances the viewer’s experience.

The other avenue is more personal, being away from my family creates a void, where the only therapy is to compose and sing to keep my heart at ease. For example, the soundtrack “Maridhia” meaning, the one who soothes my heart. On this one, I missed my wife and my kids, after being away for six months shooting Pete. My personal emotions got the best of me into this song – assuring my heart that I do love them so much and I want the world to know! It’s true that most musicians and artists take 70% of there real life into their creation. It only depends on the perspective of the composition!

Here's a sneak peek of the song:

Music is a universal language and even if sometimes we may not understand the lyrics, we enjoy the groove or vibrations. For Pete, apart from seeing love in a different perspective, I try to bring the real hidden emotions viewers tend to put away. For example, men do cry! For therapy reasons, it is equally important that we accept that love does still exists, and this program is not only there to entertain, but to build against vices the society has embraced for many years…and experience the healing effect of the music

Which songs have you specifically produced for Pete?

Literally every song, from the opening sequence “Pete Theme Song (Generation 1)” and “Pete Theme Song (Generation 2)” So many versions of “Pete melody”, Tension Symphonies, Sad Symphonies, The Bumpers, The Ending symphony (Credit score) and the AR Production Signature tune. The soundtracks are:

  1. “Chanda na Pete” and guitar version,
  2. “Natamani”
  3. “Mahabuba”
  4. “Vitobo”

  1. “Nijitete”
  2. “Mwambie”
  3. “Itaniuma sana”
  4. “Maridhia”
  5. “Nitakulinda” (featured Daudi Anguka, Selestine Nyagha (Nuru) and Eunice Rimba)

 

Apart from Pete, I have dealt with other projects in different productions and TV such as the coast-based award-winning comedy Nyanya Rukia.

My main inspiration is everything I see, dream, and experience, read, or when I watch films, movies, and documentaries. It could be something on social media, or and people I interact with daily. Knowing that all credits for my creativity and inspiration comes from above. My top inspiration is to be the best in the world just as Hans Zimmer. There are very few if not at all, symphony composers here in Africa. Hans Zimmer inspires me to be the first from Africa!

The writers, the shooting crew, the cast, and the amazing post-production, all these departments make one feel, that, “Hollywood” experience. It’s so fun, it’s like I have an extended family with every individual on the set.

Have you had to change your producer style to accommodate Pete?

Surprisingly I’ve never had to change how I produce or compose my art cause many who know my touch, can easily recognize my creation. I had been given a platform to be as creative as I can. The design of the sounds and music is freely created in my own will and touch. Everything in Pete is original. I only follow the specifications of the Channel; in terms of how loud the audio and music should be or feel. Everything else is just about the freedom and creativity needed to bring out the best in themselves. I am leaving my dream!  I’d encourage anyone out there to have the courage to pursue their dream(s), to trust in the process, and everything will pay off. Practice makes perfect.

What does a music producer do/and what’s your role in Pete?

A music producer has different classes, but for me am an all-round music producer. I create melodies and chords for both singing and instruments play and SFXs- Sound Effects (composer) then there is the part of recording the sounds (recording producer) where I record the singing/rapping artist/musician and live instruments e.g. Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Saxophone. The engineering part of the sound involves blending in some scientific work that goes along into the sound/music/SFX for it to be enjoyable to the listener.

In “Pete” I am the Music Scores-SFXs-Sound Engineer. It entails the creation/composition of symphonies and the performing of the songs. The overall sound mixes of the entire episode, dialogues, music scores, and SFXs/ambient sounds. An example is the sound effects that make you feel the energy when Safira’s eyes turn “green” the sound behind the action.

What’s your background? Who you are, your educational/musical background and work experience?  

I was born in the ’80s in Nairobi, in a family where both parents are affiliated to music, Alex Mugenda Njenga, named after my grandfather. Alias “Bigsoul” is a Music Producer, Musician, Instrumentalist, Recording and performing artist, Sound Engineer, and a Composer. I found myself in music as I grew up, making my own designed musical instruments, i.e. drum kick, guitar. At first, I didn’t know I’ll get into music professionally, but being around my family, where my parents had a major contribution towards that path shaped my career.

My dad took himself to school by playing guitar in Nairobi streets to pay for his tuition. My mother, who up-to-date composes and sings wedding songs at the coast, passionately encouraged me to follow my zeal in music.

Years later, I met my cousins who are also in the music scene; James Jozee (Gogo Simo band), Juma Tutu (Tutu Band) where I worked for a year touring the country, as a keyboardist and vocalist for the band, not forgetting my friends who also shaped my musical journey. I have been in the industry for 15 years professionally and have worked with different established artists, musicians as well as major companies here in Kenya and abroad.

Pete airs on Maisha Magic East every Monday to Wednesday at 8 pm.