What's in Gozilla's roar?

What's in Godzilla's roar?

gozillas roar

Probably the most famous beast along with King Kong is Godzilla. The sheer scale and power is unrivaled along with his/her roar!

First take a look at all of them from back in the day to present day.

Now here is the transcript from NPR interview with the men and women who helped make the magic.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript



Hear that?


VIGELAND: Sixty years ago, in pitch black theaters that sound creeped out Japanese moviegoers as the opening credits rolled and people first heard the approach of Godzilla.


ETHAN VAN DER RYAN: I think that Godzilla roar actually probably tops the King Kong roar in terms of iconicness.

ERIK AADAHL: It leaves a big footprint.

VIGELAND: Yeah, pun intended there. That was Ethan van der Ryan and Erik Aadahl. They are the sound designers for the new Godzilla movie, which is out right now.


VIGELAND: Ethan and Erik stopped by our studios to talk about how they crafted the latest roar, but I asked first what went into that original Godzilla roar from 1954. Here's Erik.

AADAHL: In the 1954 original, the sound effects team tried unsuccessfully using animal sounds to create the roar of Godzilla. And actually it was Akira Ifukube, the music composer, who had the idea to use a musical instrument to create that classic shriek that we all know. And it was actually a double bass using a leather glove coated with pine-tar rosin to create friction. And they'd rub it against the string of the double bass to create that ehhh sound.

VIGELAND: Well, over the years there have been a lot of Godzilla movies. And it turns out that they all have very different versions of that roar. Let's listen to a couple of those. Here is "Godzilla Raids Again." This is from 1955.


VIGELAND: And there is "Godzilla's Revenge" from 1969.


VIGELAND: That definitely sounds like 1969 there, doesn't it?

RYAN: Yeah, love it.

VIGELAND: And here's "Godzilla" from 1998.


VIGELAND: All right. So you get the assignment to craft the new roar. Let's hear it first.


VIGELAND: What is that?

AADAHL: You know, it's funny. Gareth Edwards, the director, asked us that same question. You know, we spent - we started on the roar almost three years ago and it took about six months to get to that point. And Gareth asked us straight up, OK, what is that? And we actually decided not to tell him until a little over a month ago when we had finished the film because it's kind of like a magic trick.

If you show, OK, the card is right here in the sleeve and I'm going to pull it out and that's the trick, it kind of defused it. It ruins it. And I think more so than any other sound effect we've designed, we have a certain protectiveness over that sound. You know, it's when you're giving voice to something, you're giving it its soul. And if we tell everybody exactly how we did it, people will think of that when they hear the roar. And we want them to think about Godzilla.

VIGELAND: Oh, come on, Ethan. Nobody's listening. Just whisper it in my ear.

RYAN: We actually were sworn to take it to our graves with us so - no lie - by Thomas Tull, the head of Legendary. So...

AADAHL: But we can talk about it. You know, our process is very much experimentation so we played a lot with anything that created friction. So we started with things like rusty car doors and, you know, the palm of our hand rubbing against a drum tom surface.

RYAN: One of the things we did on Godzilla, which was unique for us, is that we recorded with a scientific microphone, which is able to record sounds outside the realm of human hearing. And then we brought them back into the studio and pitched them down into the realm of human hearing. And what that allowed us to do was exploit this vast universe of sounds that really people have never heard before.

VIGELAND: So this is a dog whistle, that's what you're saying.


RYAN: Maybe. Possibly. You know, I've tried putting my dog into almost every movie I've done somewhere. That was one of the failed experiments.

VIGELAND: Did you end up doing any of this, like, out where someone could figure out what you're doing?

RYAN: Well, actually it's an interesting story because we set up actually the Rolling Stones tour speaker array on the back lot of Warner Brothers where we were doing the work so that we could play back all these sounds that we had created and then re-record them, capturing all the reflections off the cityscape.


VIGELAND: Did any of the neighbors call 911?



AADAHL: Well, the neighbors started tweeting like, Godzilla's at my apartment door. And we were getting phone calls from Universal Studios across town, 'cause tour groups were asking, what's all that commotion going on down in the valley?

RYAN: So, yeah, the sound that we were playing actually traveled over three miles.

VIGELAND: Three miles?

RYAN: Yeah.

VIGELAND: Well, I guess that's what happens when you use Rolling Stones speakers.

RYAN: That's it, 100,000 watts of pure power.

VIGELAND: Wow. That's Erik Aadahl and Ethan van der Ryan. They designed the sound for the new Godzilla movie which is out now in theaters. Erik and Ethan, thanks so much.

AADAHL: Thank you.

RYAN: Yeah.


VIGELAND: Oh, maybe he just wants a treat.

Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.