Adidas goes Mit Out Sound

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A father and daughter duking it out in the boxing ring doesn't sound like the most heartwarming spot sequence, so in adidas' "Laila," the soundtrack, designed by Ren Klyce of Sausalito-based Mit Out Sound, was vital in tempering the mood of the scene. With electronic chords that modulate over a syncopated beat, the music gets louder as the effects-facilitated fight between a young Muhammad Ali and his boxer daughter Laila becomes more competitive, turning into a warm rhythmic guitar track.

"Originally, the direction was more angled to sound only, with a verite/documentary feel," Klyce says of the detailed sound brief given to him by TBWA/180 creatives and director Lance Acord. "This worked well in the animatics, but once the spots were compressed in time, the void that the original sound embraced, and its impact were diminished and the need for immediate emotion was required, hence music. What I tried to do was to explore the various emotional ranges that the spots could possess. For "Laila," I produced three distinct sonic directions for the creatives-one track speaking more toward boxing, with a feeling of competition and edge. The second track emphasized the history and nostalgia of the film, and the third emphasized the relationship, love and bond between father and daughter. In the end, we went with number three."

No stranger to designing sound for adidas-he designed the sound for "Slugs" and his work on "Legs" won a gold Clio in 2003-Klyce's resume demonstrates several long-standing partnerships. He met director David Fincher at the age of 19, and the two started a working relationship that led to Klyce's sound design credits in features Seven, The Game, Fight Club (for which he received an Academy Award nomination) and Panic Room. He has also worked repeatedly with TBWA/180 and director Spike Jones, on projects such as Being John Malkovich and Ikea's "Lamp."

But Klyce's relationship with sound goes back much further. "On my seventh birthday, I was given a tape recorder from my parents and a stack of tapes from Henry [Jacobs, Klyce's godfather and a music and audio producer]. Inspired by the idea of telling stories, weekly piano lessons and a microphone, I would spend my afternoons recording sounds, making us skits and recording sounds around the house." Now he records in his ironically-named studio Mit Out Sound with colleague and executive producer Misa Kageyama, and just having completed the second wave of Adidas spots, looks forward to starting work on another feature, this time with director Marc Forster of Monster's Ball.

"I try to keep a sense of balance with my work, so as to stay fresh and keep things fun. Commercials are always a great way to 'keep in shape' with editing, and features are a great way to commit to something over time."

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