Behind the Music: Kids Instruments

Four musicians who have performed with NZSO, a punk rock drummer (who teaches music) and one of NZ’s favourite children’s entertainers improvising with kid’s instruments:

The soundtrack is largely “rock” based, including genres such as funk, jazz, punk rock (in 7/8 time), hip hop, and things I’ve never heard before.

The band watch the film one scene at a time, so they score without knowing what's coming next.

From Left: Jeremy Mayall, Chris Lam Sam, Nick Tipping, Nick Granville, Jeremy Badger. Photo by Dan Inglis

Musicians watched one scene at a time, improvising without knowing what’s coming in the following scene.

Music Supervisor Jeremy Mayall conducting. Photo by Dan Inglis

Instruments included piano accordion, peruvian flute, turntables, banana shaker and the keytar.

Plotting the score

Plotting the score, musicians take cues from the projected film. Photo by Dan Inglis

Instruments were recorded simultaneously on 24 separate audio tracks (10 drum tracks, 1 percussion, 2 bass, 3 guitars, 8 keys/electronics).

Penny Black Movie Band

The band live scoring to the projected film with Adam Page (Sax).

The original score will be complimented with tracks from bands and artists that contacted us, which we’ll confirm very soon.

You can see more photos in our Behind the Soundtrack Facebook gallery.

~ Joe


Introducing the band ~ Joe

We’ve been talking about this soundtrack for 3 years now.

We’re featuring some talented bands and recording an original score next week.

Our musical reference ranges from 50’s french pop to 90’s post-hardcore, with a bit of improvisational jazz and the infamous 70’s cartoon-funk LAPWING soundtrack.

Example: LAPWING theme composed by Jeremy Mayall and Chris Lam Sam:

Our musical references have a rough edge, seeming unpolished or unfinished, so we came to the conclusion that the best way to capture this feeling is to get amazing musicians to improvise to a live projection of the film.

Music Supervisor Jeremy Mayall has casually assembled some of NZ’s best musical talents for this soundtrack-recording-improv session to collaboratively compose under the banner of SCORELOCKS COLLECTIVE:.

We’re not sure exactly what we’re going to get from this, but it’s pretty exciting…

Scorelocks Collective

JEREMY MAYALL – Music Supervisor / Composer

Jeremy Mayall is a Composer/Producer/Performer/Multi-instrumentalist from Hamilton, NZ.

Currently in the final stages of work towards a PhD in Music Composition, Jeremy is exploring the possibilities of cross-genre hybrid music composition. He has received a Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship for all postgraduate study, was awarded ‘Creative/Performing Arts Person of the Year’ for 2005 and 2011 at the University Blues Awards, and was the inaugural winner of the ‘Sir Edmund Hillary Medal’. Next year he moves to Dunedin to take up the Mozart Fellowship – a prestigious composer-in-residence position at Otago University.

At the age of 20 he wrote his first symphony – Symphony No.1 for orchestra and turntables(which has been performed by the APO, NZSO, WYO, DYO and NZSSSO), the first orchestral symphony to feature turntablism as a part of its composition. He regularly works as a film composer and sound designer, and has scored numerous films in a range of styles. Most of Jeremy’s recent film work has been in collaboration with The Scorelocks Collective.

As a performer/DJ/musician, Jeremy has toured throughout NZ, USA, and several Pacific Islands. He has performed with a number of jazz/funk/blues bands as well as being a featured performer with the Auckland Philharmonia and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. He also performs regularly with various New Zealand Chamber Musicians, including violist Adam Maha, soprano Julia Booth and world expert on Taonga Puoro Richard Nunns.

~ Via

The Band

Chris Lam Sam – Keys / Composer

Chris Lam Sam is an award-winning ‘collaborative’ film composer and accomplished children’s entertainer based in the Waikato. When he’s not on stage dressed in bright colours and entertaining young people, you will find him happily tucked away in the studio with friends attempting to write film cues.

His long-time friendship and musical collaboration with fellow composer, Jeremy Mayall, was eventually named ‘The Scorelocks Collective’ – a label under which the two large and hairy friends continue to write music together. These ‘Scorelocks’ (aka ‘Wizards of Music’) have written multiple scores for ‘indie’ films – both shorts and feature length. 

In 2008, Chris won the ‘What Now Children’s Music Video of the Year’ award as a member of children’s musical super-group,The Funky Monkeys. In 2012 he won the ‘LOOP Best Original Song’ award for ‘Oh Nicky’ at the V48 Hour Film Festival’s National Grand Final.

While he hasn’t won as many awards as his fellow Scorelock, Chris definitely has the most hair out of the two which, as all clever people agree, makes him far more talented and superior in rank.

Chris Lam Sam on IMDB

Nick Granville – Guitar / Composer

Wellington based professional jazz musician Nick Granville possesses a huge palette of diverse sounds and styles. He is capable of playing everything from jazz to rock/pop, funk, blues and much more and has performed around the world.

As the guitarist on the hit television programme ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Nick worked with Delta Goodrem, Ronan Keating, Paul Potts and Hayley Westenra. As the guitarist with the Wellington Jazz Orchestra he has worked with Patti Austin, Steve Smith, Kurt Elling, Eric Marienthal and Bob Shepherd. As a freelance musician he has worked with Bill Cunliffe, Diesel, Chris DeBurgh, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Frankie Stevens, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the Vector Wellington Orchestra, to name but a few.

Touring NZ regularly and performing approximately 150 gigs / concerts per year, Nick keeps a busy schedule. In addition to performing regularly with his own groups, he works extensively as a first call session musician; Nick can be heard daily on the television programmes ‘One News’ and ‘Breakfast’ and on the long running show ‘Fair Go’.

In 2012 Nick travelled to the USA to record at the legendary Capitol recording studios with the Wellington Jazz Orchestra. Capitol is where Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat ‘King’ Cole and many other legendary artists recorded and is quite possibly the most famous studio in the world. In addition to this recording he played concerts at the top Los Angeles jazz clubs Vitellos and Typhoon and at the Las Vegas jazz club The E String.

Nick has prominently led his own groups, and released the album ‘Wishful Thinking’ on ODE records in Dec 2008 to critical acclaim. His group Triptych Trio, co-founded with Ben Wilcock and Ian Parker, released their successful CD ‘Round the Bend’ in 2010. In 2013 Nick is due to release two CD’s: one called ‘Refractions’ and later called ‘Home’. ‘Refractions’ is a quartet CD featuring Auckland jazz greats Roger Manins, Oli Holland and Ron Samsom. ‘Home’ features Wellington’s best musicians including NZSO concert-master Donald Armstrong, drummer Lance Philip and Bassist Nick Tipping.

As a passionate educator Nick has taught at the New Zealand School of Music as the jazz guitar tutor, taught big band rhythm sections classes, sight-reading and fusion classes and developed the guitar curriculum. He has taught at Whitireia School of music, Goodtime Music Academy, The NZ High School Jazz Workshops, CPIT, the NZ Gypsy Jazz workshops, the Southern Jam and at jazz festivals including Tauranga, Nelson, Queenstown and more. In addition to all this Nick is regularly a guest speaker/tutor at workshops, festivals and music institutions around New Zealand.

Nick proudly endorses Elixir Strings, Cusack Pedals and Lollar pickups, and products from the good folks at Music-works.

~ Via

Nick Tipping – Bass / Composer

Active as a professional jazz / contemporary bass player, Nick Tipping has performed on stages and in clubs around his native Wellington, New Zealand, Italy, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Seoul. In 2004, after returning from two years of study at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Nick was invited to join the faculty at the Massey University Conservatorium, which later became the New Zealand School of Music. From 2007 to 2011 Nick was Head of Jazz at the New Zealand School of Music.
His performing experience encompasses the history of jazz, especially bop, fusion and contemporary jazz. Nick played bass on all 5 seasons of Dancing with the Stars, and has toured with the NZSO, and the Wellington Jazz Orchestra. Nick is a contributor to Radio New Zealand, having presented several programmes in the Pressing On, Critic’s Chair and The Art of Jazz series.
Nick is currently a PhD student at the NZSM, examining the Wellington jazz scene and its relationship to the jazz being made around the world. He teaches part-time at the University of Auckland, and is a regular performer in and around Wellington.

~ Via

Jeremy Badger – Drums / Composer

Percussion Ninja. Drummer of The Latest Fallout. I couldn’t find a bio, but here he is playing Miles Davis:

~ if Jazz isn’t your thing, try his Slipknot cover

Ben Mannell – Engineer/ Tech Guru

Ben is our go-to sound engineer in Hamilton. Recently recorded live Richard O’Brien show at Founders Theatre (for a video directed by our producer Fiona Jackson).

Hit him up at

Where is Penny Black? ~ Joe

We’ve been busy:


CONTRACTS: Dusty Barlow is the face of “Ubacat” Catfood.

ADR: Astra McLaren lays down some tracks

ADR: Soulful Astra McLaren lays down some tracks


EDITING: Brad Davison at the helm (keyboard)

ADR: Anton  Tennet

ADR: Anton Tennet recording pink flamingos outside his treehouse


TYPOGRAPHY: Producer Fiona Jackson tracing letters onto window.

DATA: Project is now 7Tb

DATA WRANGLING: Project is now 11 Terrabytes (Incl. 1 backup)


PREVIS: An example “pre-vis” shot where we will soon replace the sign.

Ubanu Billboard

GRAPHIC DESIGN: Thanks to our talented graphic designers Caspian Levers (who created this image to use in the film), Jeremy Woods and Craig Gilliver (Ubamart sign above) for helping us with UBANU advertising. Ubanu advertising appears on screens and signs throughout the film.

More news soon!

Listening out for music…

Although we have a talented composer on board for our original music, we’re also looking for a range of tracks of different styles and genres to feature in the film (or play in the background).

We’re looking for music that:

  • is considered “Experimental”
  • doesn’t have a lot of vocals (easier to edit with dialogue)
  • has anarchist, leftist political and/or anti-capitalist lyrics
  • Has a half-decent recording (we may have to master in 5.1 surround).

Although we are open to anything else as well!

If you’re interested in sharing your tracks with us. Please contact us with your mp3s or links to listen to music.

Thanks folks!

Who the funk is Lapwing? ~ Joe

Lapwing Strikes

Lapwing is a 1977 superhero television series, filmed in November 2012.

If you haven’t heard of him before, it’s because we just made him up for Penny Black Movie.


If you reference an existing superhero in your movie, you enter a world of pain with legal copyright, particularly in New Zealand where we don’t have a law exception for parody.

THE LAPWING STORYLINE is your classic environmental-scientist-inherits-super-senses-with-nuclear-fusion-gas-and-a-Lapwing-bird story. He takes on the bird-like persona in his quest to save the world from Curem Pharmaceutical. More info on the  Lapwing Page.

Lapwing and The Viking

Above: Lapwing (Sash Nixon) and The Viking (Jeremy Mayall)

Although we are making Lapwing as a standalone short film, Lapwing is part of Penny Black Movie as the idol of Penny Black’s little sister Alex (played by Toni Garson). Alex dresses and acts like Lapwing, she watches the show on television and quotes his catch phrases.

The Lapwing CAST was completely different to Penny Black, so it was cool to work with some old friends.

Lapwing Trio

Above: Aimee Newton as “Mousegirl”, Sash Nixon as “Lapwing”, Paul Mitchell as “Dr. Curem”, pic by Dan Inglis.

Thanks to all the folks who made it out to appear in the film and do stunts without safety gear.

Desiree helped us dress our featured characters in 70’s attire, check out this scary bunch:

Viking's GangAbove: Ross MacLeod, Adam Harvey, Phill Palmer, Toni Garson, Bailee Foulds as The Viking’s Gang, pic by Tanya Barlow


We wanted a RETRO TECHNICAL STYLE for the show and quickly came to the idea of using cheesy crash zooms, whip pans, POV shots, and long slow zooms.

Ben Woollen (our DOP) had the cool idea of shooting Lapwing on an analogue format like VHS or Beta. I had a strange conversation with Fiona, where she said “we can’t afford to shoot on VHS, we have to shoot on Red”, but my main concern was how low the quality would be compared to our super high res Penny Black, so Metro Film helped sort us out with a Cinema Zoom from the 70’s which really nailed the optical feel, and with the Red camera depth-of-field we achieved the soft ‘filmic’ look.

Moehau and Ben

Abovie: Moehau Hodges-Tai and Ben Woollen with Red Scarlet and Angenieux HR 25-250mm Zoom lens, pic by Dan Inglis

The shoot was entirely based in Hamilton, using locations such as a Carpet One Warehouse (Waikato North), University of Waikato and a few scenic spots. It was fun to shoot a superhero film in my old home town, although Hamilton doesn’t look like it needs a Superhero.

We’ll try to put out a Lapwing trailer online as soon as possible, which will hopefully be next month.

Check out the Lapwing facebook page for more behind the scenes photos and updates!

LAPWING is coming soon