Dario Calequi of Pickle Music: I’m forever fascinated by how sound tells the same story but in a thousand different ways
20 de julio de 2022

Dario Calequi is the sound designer, composer and mixing engineer at Pickle Music who was recently honored at the 2022 Cannes Lions Festival together with We Believers for the award-winning work they did for Burger King and Corona beer.

About the Non Artificial campaign for Burger King, Calequi noted that it was an odd sort of project since it started as a classic idea backed by piano music, then spun off into something a little “wilder, with a rough tough sound, something that is, as we sometimes say, down to earth, that you hear on the streets, that you hear among ordinary folks and has its own personality,” he said.

As for the changes made, Calequi said it is normal in the filming process to begin to have doubts about the idea and to change it. But in the end, the team always agreed that the sound chosen was “on the right track.”

“Sometimes one tires and enters into a kind of ‘negative hour.’ Everything seems bad and sounds ugly. For that reason it’s sometimes good to rest your ears awhile. Afterwards we obviously kept working and we produced several rounds of both music and of sound design, for which we tried out several approaches. I believe something very spontaneous was the result and I was constantly fascinated by how sound can tell the same story in a thousand different ways. I enjoyed this project so much,” he said.

About working for Burger King, which was also honored this year at Cannes as Creative Brand of the Year, Calequi said it taught him to be “ready for anything.”

“It’s a very versatile brand with all kinds of projects and for markets at every level. One day it’s a spot with only full sound design and another day it’s a song with thousands of singers. Each project is different and that keeps you on the alert and always learning,” he said.

Every case, brand and campaign in the industry is different. In that sense, Calequi said his experience with Corona’s Native Sportscaster campaign was different from the one before, since this time the creative team had a clear idea about what it wanted with regard to the sound.

“It took a lot of mixing work to achieve that folk sound typical of the setting and also much work on sound design, since there were many elements and the idea was that everything should have its time and place. Live recordings were mixed with studio recordings and it all had to sound organic as if it were coming from the same place and time. And the music had to come together with the sound design as if they were both one and the same. It was all worked out scene by scene. All these projects take hours and hours of trying things out, of adding, subtracting , changing, and even putting things back the way they had started, until we all felt that each scene, each sound, each dialogue, each bit of music strengthened the idea and helped tell the story,” the sound master said.

For Calequi, all is born of a good idea, though he sometimes believes that even if you have one, it’s hard to carry it out. “I believe that just as important as a good shoot or a good script or a good idea is good sound or good sound design or good music. This makes it all take on another dimension and strengthens the basic idea. When I say good I’m not saying it has to sound hi-fi, but that someone took the trouble to think what was the best sound needed to strengthen the basic idea. I believe that afterwards when it is seen and heard, that makes all the difference.”

Finally, among the changes he observes in the industry, he said that following Covid 19 a new era has begun – for example the online sessions shared by people in different parts of the world.

“The arrival of Dolby Atmos surround sound technology is something that is now totally installed. We’ll see what happens, whether it’s here to stay or ends up being something a little eccentric. I believe we look for more and more quality in audio and the good ideas of sound design because we’re used to hearing it in the series we watch. I believe that people today pay a lot more attention to all that than in years gone by,” Calequi said.