Monsters University Soundtrack To Feature Randy Newman and Swedish House Mafia

Pixar Monsters UniveristyDisney•Pixar’s “Monsters University” Hits Campus with Music from Randy Newman and Axwell & Sebastian Ingrosso of Swedish House Mafia


Disney•Pixar’s “Monsters University” rocks theaters this summer featuring music from award-winning composer Randy Newman and Axwell & Sebastian Ingrosso of Swedish House Mafia. Filmmakers also tapped the Atlanta-based hard rock band Mastodon to serenade one the film’s new monsters. Directed by Dan Scanlon and produced by Kori Rae, “Monsters University” hits theaters June 21, 2013. In front of thee feature length hit is the short film “The Blue Umbrella,” which features music by composer Jon Brion and vocals by Sarah Jaffe.

“We wanted to capture the college feel in ‘Monsters University,’” said Scanlon, “and music is a big part of that. The score and the inclusion of other great musicians like Axwell & Sebastian Ingrosso [of Swedish House Mafia] and Mastodon help us convey a fun, freewheeling college atmosphere.”

Oscar®- Grammy®- and Emmy®-winning composer/songwriter Newman is back, marking his seventh Disney•Pixar film. The 20-time Oscar nominee’s wins include “If I Didn’t Have You” for “Monsters, Inc.” and “We Belong Together” for “Toy Story 3.” The recently inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member created a full Alma Mater titled “Monsters University,” establishing a recurring collegiate theme. “We recruited the team at Pixar Canada to record the Alma Mater,” said Scanlon. “We needed a giant crowd of crazy monster students to be singing it and the Canada team was great for this—the end result is sort of perfectly ‘off.’ Actually, the first time we recorded it, it was really good. I had to say, ‘Guys, these are college students at a sporting event, let’s mess it up a little bit.’”

To make an even stronger collegiate sound to the score, Newman called on the renowned international drum corps, The Blue Devils. The composer also incorporated concert band music to definitively create the feeling of being in college. Newman states, “There’s a little bit of Brahms’ ‘Academic Festival Overture’ when Mike is riding the pig. I like to think Brahms would be extremely flattered by his inclusion in the score.”

The score—recorded with a 112-piece orchestra—features a few character themes, including an accordion tune to help illustrate the less-than-cool status of the Oozma Kappa fraternity; a laidback shuffle to introduce Sulley; and the aspiring Scare student Mike Wazowski is often accompanied by a clarinet that, Newman notes, changes as Mike’s character arc evolves.

A fraternity party is the perfect place to show off some monster moves, and for Mike and Sulley, filmmakers wanted to make sure they boogied down to the right jams. Axwell & Sebastian Ingrosso of Swedish House Mafia created the perfect party song, fit for any monster moves called “Roar.” The song features the classic Swedish Hose Mafia upbeat electronica sound that will not only make monsters dance, but will make the audience get up and dance too. “We wanted to keep it funny, funky and at the same time a bit cool with a hint of monsters in it,” said Axwell.

Director Scanlon thought the song was perfect as well. “It’s really a fun song. I remember watching the animator work on this scene. As he played back the song, the artist at the next desk—who wasn’t even working on the movie—couldn’t help moving his feet. Obviously, that guy had been hearing that song for days, but yet the second he heard it, he just had to move his feet.”

What would a sweet little monster listen to in their free time? Well, just because they’re sweet doesn’t mean they aren’t a monster! Filmmakers made sure to remember this when choosing music for the little monster. “There is a great moment in ‘Monsters University’ when we thought it would be funny if the tunes were some of the most intense heavy metal imaginable. Mastodon (the band) was the obvious choice. They show off an unexpected monstrous side for one of our great new characters.”

They chose an existing song from the band called “Island.”

Accompanying “Monsters University” in theaters is Disney Pixar’s short film “The Blue Umbrella,” which is set to open in front of the feature length film. The short, emotion-filled film is directed by Saschka Unseld and produced by Marc Greenberg. Scoring the short is composer Jon Brion, whose credits include “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “Punch Drunk Love.” His work on “The Blue Umbrella” beautifully supports and evokes the emotional ranges in the film. Brion teamed up with singer/songwriter Sarah Jaffe (“The Body Wins,” “Suburban Nature”) to complete the score.

The director, Unseld, was listening to Jaffe’s music when he began work on the short. “There’s such an intimacy to her sound that touches you right at the core,” Unseld said. “I always thought hers would be the perfect voice to make people care deeply about a love story between two umbrellas.”

Jaffe also had a few compliments of her own for the director. “You can see how Saschka sees things,” said Jaffe. “Everything has this life of its own. Objects in our everyday life are characters too. It’s really beautiful.”

It really is beautiful that Disney Pixar didn’t stop short with only releasing “Monsters University,” they went beyond and released a short to make audiences stop and think emotionally for a few moments.

The “Monsters University” soundtrack, set for release from Walt Disney Records on June 18, 2013, is available for pre-order at http://smarturl.it/musAmazona1. On June 4, the label will release the “Roar” digital single, plus remixes by Style of Eye and Yogi. The album’s track listing follows.

  1. Main Title – Score
  2. Young Michael – Score
  3. First Day at MU – Score
  4. Dean Hardscrabble – Score
  5. Sulley – Score
  6. Scare Pig – Score
  7. Wasted Potential – Score
  8. Oozma Kappa – Score
  9. Stinging Glow Urchin – Score
  10. Field Trip – Score
  11. Rise and Shine – Score
  12. The Library – Score
  13. Roar – Performed by Axwell & Sebastian Ingrosso of Swedish House Mafia
  14. The Scare Games – Score
  15. Did You Do This? – Score
  16. Human World – Score
  17. The Big Scare – Score
  18. Goodbyes – Score
  19. Mike and Sulley – Score
  20. Monsters University
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