Rick and Morty Composer Talks About Bringing the Show to Life at Adult Swim Fest

Adult Swim Festival (Photo by artist)

The inaugural three-day Adult Swim Festival took place over the weekend at Row DTLA. A mixture of music, food, comedy, activations and merchandise were at your disposal as cartoon fans rejoiced in an action-packed Comic-Con style event. Each day offered unique lineups from T-Pain on Friday, Mastodon and Flying Lotus Saturday, and Sunday’s finale provided a diverse crowd of characters.

The Weekly was on hand to cover it all, from Dan Deacon starting a dance party in the afternoon to Code Orange’s cryptic metal screams. LA’s crowd was young, wild and rambunctious from the jump. Hip-hop veterans Run The Jewels closed out Sunday night with a vigorous pace of political ammo and conscious lyrics for a new generation.

Earlier in the night, the Rick and Morty Musical Ricksperience launched into the stratosphere, around the same time as the Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket was seen overhead.

The live ensemble featured the Hollywood Chamber Orchestra and special guests. They performed an entire episode (Season 3: “The Rickshank Rickdemption”) from Adult Swim’s popular cartoon show with people in attendance dressed proudly as the drunken scientist grandpa and the nerdy high school grandson duo.

Television and film composer Ryan Edler is the mastermind behind the show’s soundtrack. We had a chance to sit down with him before debuting his unique collective and discuss the intricacies of arranging the lineup, artists who love the cartoon, and what’s ahead for future seasons.

OC Weekly (Michael Silver): How long have you been involved with Rick and Morty and this project?

Ryan Edler: From the very beginning I worked on the pitch presentation to Adult Swim and literally every step of the way.

Did you see it blossoming into this big cult following and getting so much attention?

I did not (laughs), I knew it was really good and I loved it. It was one of the best pilots I’d ever seen but you don’t know if it’s going to be in the right time slot if people are going to find it and once they do if they’re going to talk about it and grow. It’s been insane!

I know the channel announced another 70 episodes to be ordered. How long will that process take?

I don’t know what their plan is for breaking that up into seasons, but I’m ready to work on all 70 in a row and we’ll see how they come in.

What’s the inspiration behind the musical soundtrack and the scoring of the television show?

For the sound of the show, which is all the score that is influenced by 70’s and 80’s Sci-Fi and adventure movies, big Hollywood scores. I listened to a lot of Jerry Goldsmith soundtracks, who did Alien, Planet of the Apes, and the original Star Trek series. Those were big influences and then for some of the songs that we do, a lot of influences are 90’s hip-hop.

I’ve noticed that a lot of the hip-hop community has embraced the show. Run The Jewels are obviously big fans, Logic made an appearance in an episode. How do you react to all of this?

It’s amazing man. I didn’t work directly with Logic on the show but there are so many great musicians that are fans. I saw T-Pain tweeted about one of the song’s I wrote for the show the other day, its mind blowing.

So looking forward, do you envision working with specific artists?

I’d love to, absolutely. Hopefully now that we have 70 new episodes, we’ll get big opportunities like that. I’m down for whatever comes our way.

If people were not here to see it live, what is the concept behind the Rick and Morty Ricksperience?

We have a 30-set piece orchestra, performing an episode from the show with a live score. The show has never had live instruments like this before. To hear a whole orchestra perform it will be a truly unique experience. We will also do a couple songs from the show, the hits that people will love.

How much preparation went into this to pull it off live?

We’ve been working on this for three to four months. The idea is over a year old, doing some preliminary preparation to do at Comic Con last year but it didn’t really work out so we’ve had this idea that when Adult Swim was doing this festival, it was like ‘Oh, let’s do that!’

Michael Silver is a journalist and photographer based in Southern California. He covers music, sports, technology, and streetwear. Tips & pitches: michaelsilvermedia@gmail.com

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