Remixing Sound Bytes: John Boswell

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Remixing Sound Bytes: John Boswell

ohn Boswell is the creative mind behind the Melodysheep and Symphony of Science videos. By remixing sound bytes, he’s able to create videos and music out of classic movie clips and phrases.

It takes patience and finesse to get the ‘singing’ to sound just right.

W: Where does the name Melodysheep come from?

JB: Melodysheep was actually lifted from a character on Family Guy – one of those screen names you use randomly but sticks with you forever.  Sorry, no epic origin story there!

W: How did you get your start?

JB: My humble beginnings were with the metal band I played with in high school, where I learned to play keyboard and incorporate turntabling.  I became very interested in music theory and production during that time, an interest that I carried with me through college.  I continued creating songs throughout that time and was completely unknown until I began posting videos on YouTube.

W: Do you focus more on music or video production?

JB: Music production has been my main focus throughout the years; I typically borrow visuals from existing content to create my video mashups.  However, recently I have been getting into video production, which is just as creatively exciting and rewarding as music.

W: How did you get your start creating these types of videos?

JB: I was first inspired by the work the Gregory Brothers were doing in 2009.  I decided to make my own attempt at autotune remixing, since I had the software and the know how.  It’s an incredibly fun process and I was hooked from the start.  After starting with comedic material, I moved on to something more interesting, and ended up creating “A Glorious Dawn,” which gained some popularity on YouTube.  That initial attention encouraged me to explore the concept further, and thus Symphony of Science was created.

W: How is Symphony of Science connected to Melodysheep?

JB: Symphony of Science is considered a subset project of Melodysheep, which is my YouTube channel.

W: How do you come up with your ideas for your videos?

JB: Ideas for my videos can come from all sorts of places.  Usually, I watch a documentary and become inspired by a certain idea or concept, then explore the possibility of a song by pulling out sound bytes and gauging how compelling it will be.

W: How do you find the video clips you use?

JB: Almost all my sources come from YouTube directly.  There is a vast amount of resources available there – enough content to keep me running for a long time.  YouTube is a beautiful place!

W: What editing tools do you use?

JB: I am currently using Ableton Live 9 for instrumentals, Melodyne for tuning and time syncing the vocals, and Adobe Premiere to put together the video.

W: How do you create the remixes for your videos? Do you do all the music production?

JB: All the music production and video editing is done by me directly.  I enjoy having complete control over every step of the process, despite the drawbacks in the time it takes to create each video.  I start with pulling out vocal samples, then creating an instrumental track in the style I want to convey, adding in the vocal samples as I go, then finish the process with the editing of the video around the completed song.

W: What is your script/lyric writing process?

JB: There is no set process for organizing the lyrics for each piece.  It’s mostly an experimental process.  I typically have an idea of what clips I’d like to highlight as a refrain for a song, but it doesn’t always work out the way it’s envisioned.

W: What challenges do you face when creating your videos?

JB: The biggest challenge behind each video is getting the spoken word vocals to sound convincingly natural after pitch correction and tempo syncing.  It takes patience and finesse to get the ‘singing’ to sound just right.

W: Do you ever do your own film work?

JB: Although I have experience in filming for the past 5 years or so, I have recently been exploring it much more deeply and have begun to incorporate my own images into Symphony of Science videos.

To see more of John’s videos, visit:



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