Genndy Tartakovsky Takes An Unusual Approach To Crafting Primal's Score

Genndy Tartakovsky has made a name for himself in the realm of animated projects. The director recently finished the second season of "Primal" with an emotionally charged finale with an unexpected twist. The show, centered around a caveman and a dinosaur navigating a cruel prehistory world, is well known for its stunning animation and lack of dialogue. Spear and Fang, the series' protagonists, only communicate through primal screams and roars. The show relies almost entirely on visuals with lush environments and incredibly violent action.

"Primal" isn't all visuals, though. While there may not be any dialogue in the series, there are still incredibly detailed sound effects and audio designs that make the show feel much more immersive. Moreover, the musical score composed by Tyler Bates plays an essential role in the pacing and structure of the show. According to Bates, Tartakovsky has an unusual level of involvement in creating the score. Tartakovsky's commitment to the show on almost every production level is a testament to his passion for "Primal" and why it stands tall as one of the best animated shows.

Primal beatboxing

In an interview with Bleeding Cool, Tyler Bates spoke about his work and creative process when making the score for "Primal." Interestingly enough, Bate's conception of the score starts with Tartakovsky's initial storyboards and, believe it or not, narration and beatboxing from the "Primal" creator himself:

"The music in 'Primal' is conceptualized to support the emotional arcs and the action in the show, which begins with Genndy's writing and illustrations, but, perhaps most importantly, relies on Genndy's narration and literal live beatboxed performance of the sound design and score in spotting sessions. He is always very clear about where he feels music will most effectively complement the storytelling and where sound design alone will best serve the picture."

Tartakovsky's vocals, the blueprint for what would become Tyler Bates' score for the series, is the epitome of the term "passion project." The creator, who also made shows such as "Dexter's Laboratory" and "Samurai Jack," very clearly has a singular vision he sets out to create whenever taking on a new series. However, while the vision may be singular, that doesn't mean that Tartakovsky is against collaborating, as evident by the score for "Primal."

A creatively freeing process

Tyler Bates would elaborate on the collaboration process between him and Genndy Tartakovsky in the same interview, speaking on how freeing it is to work with Tartakovsky on the series:

"Genndy is a brilliant writer and illustrator, so music is rarely designed to create emotion that isn't already on screen. One very unique aspect of working with Genndy is that there are never temp music tracks laid into any show – music is created entirely based on our conversations when spotting each episode of Primal. It feels great as a composer to create with the subjective freedom and possibilities this process provides."

Tartakovsky not only has an essential understanding of animation and storytelling but of the need for collaboration in other aspects of production. Directors and writers aren't often known to beatbox musical cues to help composers score their projects. As always, Tartakovsky is an exception, showing that "Primal" is a unique show because of how much work is put into every aspect of the series.

While the series' second season may have ended with what seems like a definitive conclusion, Tartakovsky has expressed excitement over where a potential third season could go. Whatever the case, Tartakovsky will surely put as much passion into his next project as he did "Primal."