Transcenders go indie for 'Gossip Girl'
From peas to cats to hawks, the members of L.A.-based production team Transcenders have made a career of musically morphing.
Now, Mike Fratantuno, Brian Lapin and Terence Yoshiaki, who were original members of the Black Eyed Peas, are finding success as the band behind Lincoln Hawk, the fictional group led by Rufus Humphrey, father of Dam and Jenny, on the CW’s “Gossip Girl.” Lincoln Hawk’s heyday was the early ’90s, so that means the band’s songs — including its hit “Everytime” — had to comfortably fit in with radio playlists from 15 years ago.
Transcenders powwowed with show creator-executive producer Josh Schwartz, executive producer Stephanie Savage, music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas and other execs to determine the musical touchstones for Lincoln Hawk.
“We were throwing out names from the ’90s and saying yea or nay,” Fratantuno says. “Some of the bands we batted around were Goo Goo Dolls, Dinosaur Jr. (and) the Replacements. We wanted that pop indie sound.” Rufus’ vocals are supplied by Tim Bader.
“The Transcenders nailed the sound of a rock confection from the very early ’90s,” Patsavas says. “Josh and Stephanie loved that (they) were incredibly accomplished composers and songwriters-performers in their own right. They were simply perfect for the gig and created a unique sensibility for ‘Gossip Girl.’ ”
Creating fake hits for Lincoln Hawk is only part of Transcenders’ “Gossip Girl” duties. They wrote the show’s title song and have also created themes for many of the main characters they often reference when composing each episode’s 25 minutes or so of underscore.
“By the time we get the show, the (source songs) are 90% locked, so we’re working with the actual song,” Fratantuno says. “If we’re ending a piece of the score and we know we’re going to a source piece, we’re going to match the key and, sometimes, even match the tempo. We don’t want to jar the audience.”
Up next for Transcenders, who have provided music for such films as “Garfield” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” is contributing songs to Chris Columbus’ new film, “I Love You, Beth Cooper,” and, Fratantuno adds, “hopefully, if all goes well, a ‘Gossip Girl’ score CD.”