Steve Krecklo, of ‘90s alt-rockers The Carnations, knew his passion was making music. However now he is making music for other people’s passions too. Krecklo composed the soundtrack for CBC’s new Saturday morning short cartoon, “Ollie, The Boy Who Became What He Ate”, debuting Feb 18 2017. The show was produced by The show is produced by Radical Sheep Productions and Mickey Rogers Media, with animation by Keyframe Animation. It is based on the work of Sheena Macrae.
Krecklo says Ollie is a picky eater who discovers the healthy foods turn him into a superhero. Adventures follow as he travels around the globe trying all kinds of different foods.
“Musically, score needs to highlight the sense of adventure throughout each episode, so I went for the big orchestral thing as a general style,” he says, “Then I had to figure out a way to theme each character in the show. For example, Ollie is a bit overconfident and fearless, so I play him with rock guitar and brass. his sister is a carefree and sweet, so she’ll generally get oboe, uke, and celeste."
“Most importantly, the job of the music is to support the story, the dialog, and the emotions of each episode. It needs to turn on a dime and never settles into cruise control or wallpaper. Sometimes I’ll spend an hour on 3 seconds of picture,” he says.
Krecklo credits ex-Starling and onetime Carnations drummer, Canadian Screen nominee Ian LeFeuvre for the opportunity to work on Ollie.
“He has made a name for himself in animation doing score for shows like Johnny Test and Dot, and so the opportunity came through him. The plan was to work together to start, with him teaching me the ins and outs of writing for animation, and then let me run with it. We made a pitch for Ollie and everyone liked it enough and here I am,” he says.
Krecklo started making music as a teenager in Bowmanville, east of Toronto. In 1995 he formed a band with his best pal, Thom D’Arcy, called Pseudonym.
“Our only goal was get into the Bandwarz battle-of-the-bands at the Eclipse/Moon Room in Oshawa. I tried to outgrow music when I went off to school, but I didn’t have to patience or work ethic for anything else,” he says.
After Pseudonym they formed The Carnations but they broke up in early 2000s. Krecklo has been a session guitarist for other acts, including JUNO winning rapper K-OS, sharing stages with Drake. He has written music for Property Brothers, Carnival Eats and Etalk.
“I’m extremely fortunate to have hit upon something that allows me to do music full-time, writing music for TV. Until only recently, music was not the sole source of income for me. It was more of a partially-paying passion with some fun perks like travel and free beer, even on the higher-profile sideman gigs like with K-OS.”
Krecklo says the Ollie project initially was quite a challenge but he grew into the work and has arranged his gig schedule and family life accordingly. Unfortunately just as he began work on the score his father passed away.
“It was tough to manage the feelings of loss while at the same time having this amazing opportunity in front of me. I think it having the show in a way helped me deal,” he says. “My dad was a player and writer, and gave me the foundation of my musical education. So this music is really just a continuation of his life passion.”
And a continuation of Krecklo’s own passion too.