star Kurt Hugo Schneider and
the films, which feature singer Sam Tsui and beatboxing cellist Kevin
Olusola, Schneider recreates “Feels So Close” by Calvin Harris and
Of Monsters and Men’s “Little Talks” by playing only
The videos are part of the “AHH Effect,” an all-digital campaign exploring the happiness and refreshment experienced while drinking an ice-cold Coke. A total of 61 websites (each extension adds an “H” to “AHH,” stretching to the maximum character limit for an URL) will house original experiences – including GIFs, games, videos and other bite-sized content – creating a journey of discovery for teens. More than 3.8 million people have visited an AHH.com URL, to date.
We spoke with the 24-year-old composer, music producer and director – whose YouTube channel has more than 3 million subscribers and more than 600 million views – to learn more about the project:
What was your initial reaction to this opportunity, and what were the greatest challenges you faced during the shoot?
KHS: I play a bunch of random instruments and
have always used cell phones and other everyday objects to create sounds. But
I’d never made music with Coke bottles, so I was really excited about this
project. The recording process
was challenging because liquid evaporates over a very short amount of time. You
couldn’t notice by looking at the liquid, but if you let it sit for 15 minutes,
the pitch would become slightly warped. So it took time to get the notes in
tune and also to get the right range of pitches. The original songs have bass, full-range
keyboards and a bunch of other instruments to get to all the highs and lows. But
for this project, we were limited to the “Coke instrument arsenal,” so getting
the full range was challenging. I used
little glasses to get the high notes and big bottles to get the low notes. It was a fun challenge to interpret
these songs in a uniquely
Any tips for amateur Coke bottle musicians out there who may want to recreate what you guys pulled off?
First, definitely get a digital tuner and use a dropper as you’re “tuning” the cups or bottles. Because if you’re pouring the liquid, it will not be precise enough and you’ll get the biggest headache trying to find the right pitch.
You’ve collaborated with Sam on several occasions. How did you hook up with Kevin?
I’ve known Kevin for a really long time. We were in school together (at Yale); we both spent really late nights in the music lab working on projects – well before I ever put anything on YouTube. He’s one of the most talented musicians I know, so I’ve been looking for the right collaboration to feature him on. I felt like the cello would work nicely with the Coke sounds.
When you approach cover song projects like this one, what are you looking to accomplish?
First and foremost, it’s a form of entertainment. Ultimately, I want to create something people think is cool and want to watch, enjoy and share with their friends. I also want to challenge myself creatively to keep things interesting.
Any funny memories from the shoot?
We had to build what we called a “Coke-aphone” – on set. In the films, it’s the instrument that looks like hanging chimes made of glass Coke bottles. It was actually built out of a cabinet in my apartment. I had to disassemble it to get it into my car and to the studio. It took five production assistants and us looking at it over a lunch break to figure out how to reassemble it. It was kind of embarrassing, but fortunately we got it to work.
We shot both videos in one day. I was really tired at the end of the day, but it’s always a good feeling leaving the shoot happy with what you captured. When we watched it back, we said “Awesome, now we can all get something to eat and go to sleep!”
“Little Talks” has been the most popular piece of “AHH Effect” content, to date, with the average viewer watching the film two times through. Eric Danetz, chief revenue officer for Alloy Digital, the media and creative partner for both videos, said the content resonates with teens and viewers of all ages because it’s both surprising and delightful.
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