At first glance you might not think that the films Hidden Figures and The Boss Baby have a great deal in common. Both have been nominated for Oscars but that’s as far as it goes, right? Wrong. While the subject matter may be light years apart, there are multiple points beyond the Academy Award nominations, one of these being the use of Alfredo Pasquel. The exceptionally creative Pasquel has a number of titles in the music realm: composer, sound designer, recording engineer, and mix assistant. His talent and ability in the music world have most often been utilized in the creation of film scores. His work has been a part of the music of some of the most widely seen and lauded films of the past few years. Dunkirk, Despicable Me, Wonder Woman, It, and of course the aforementioned 2017 and 2018 Academy Award nominated films. The diversity of tone in both of these films and their sound are an appropriate display of the breadth of Pasquel’s work, which finds it place not in one genre but in assessing and capturing what is the ideal sound for each film. The music world is a fan of Alfredo’s work as well with the recent Jacob Collier release “In My Room” (which Pasquel work on) achieving two Grammy awards. This talented professional doesn’t delineate between mediums to work in but rather gravitates towards projects which allow him to be creative and work with other artists he respects. Inspection of his work on these films displays how his pursuit of challenge has created an ever expanding list of those who want to work with him.
Beyond the recognition the story of Hidden Figures received, it was also nominated in 2018 for two Grammys (Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media, Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media). Anyone who has seen the film can attest that the music found therein lifts the emotion to a higher level. As Score mix assistant, Pasquel was in charge of receiving all the recorded material and incorporating it into the mix sessions in the proper place as well as comping, editing, and timing the orchestra & choirs to achieve the maximum impact as written by the composers. The modern recording process allows different ensembles and soloists to record separately and even in different locations. These must then be assembled correctly and precisely. Alfredo was responsible for implementing the mix session template across all cues and making sure every musical element was routed and printed in the correct “stem” for the dubbing mixer to utilize in the most appropriate way during the final mix of the film. His work on this film saw him alongside such iconic names as Ben Wallfisch, Hans Zimmer, Mick Guzauski, and Pharrell Williams. This score has a soulful, gospel, R&B vibe but doesn’t discard the use of a full orchestra and featured soloist either. Alfredo recalls, “It was very eclectic and interesting to work on the music for this film. We assembled a Funk-Soul ensemble for Pharrell’s songs. It was a real treat to work with him. We had a full Gospel choir and a full orchestra. I also recorded vocal soloists to feature. It was a bit all over the place but that’s what made it so fun. Of course, we were all excited to be a part of a film that was telling the story of these unsung heroes of the NASA program. Being a part of Hidden Figures was a special moment for me.”
Animated films like The Boss Baby are some the most challenging and rewarding to create sound design and music scores for. They’re essentially an empty canvas waiting to be filled with sounds and music. Due to the nature of these films, everything must be added during post-production. The music for animated productions such as The Boss Baby is highly detailed, full of flourishes, runs, melody and counter-melody lines. In these films the music becomes a character itself, setting the emotional pace of the plot and enhancing the story in a very specific way. The challenges and demands upon a professional such as Pasquel are even greater on these types of projects than the live action ones which often receive much more attention. DreamWorks (the production company of The Boss Baby) all but owns the genre these days and they employ the very best to ensure that they keep this position. Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro created the score for The Boss Baby which sounds like a Hollywood film orchestra making a music record that encompasses jazz, pop, rock, and lush orchestra parts as well as progressive vocal experimentation (provided by Grammy-winner Jacob Collier and vocal producer Edie Boddicker’s choir). The talented solo artists which Pasquel captured for the score include Guthrie Govan (virtuoso guitar player), Tina Guo (cello), Ben Powell (violin), and drummer/percussionist Sheila E (widely known for her work with Prince, Herbie Hancock, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, and Lionel Richie). From day to day Alfredo would find himself working with the most accomplished rock musicians, classical musicians, vocal choirs, or groundbreaking young singers. It’s the energy of the talented individuals which surrounds and inspires him, and places him among them as a professional. He describes, “All the projects that I’ve worked in that are nominated for important awards have something in common: the most dedicated teams of people. Perfectly balanced and organized teams of creative and technical minds working to achieve musical and sonic perfection, multicultural teams of brilliant and ambitious minds all working in unison to create and enhance a great story. I work in a large amount of films per year and maybe that is one of the reasons I get involved in such acclaimed projects; the more you work, the more you increase the odds of achieving public recognition and of being close to such talented composers like Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro. The last 3 years of my life have been the best, career wise. I’ve had the opportunity of working with amazing people on really big projects that have been received very well by the public. I’m excited to see what’s next.”