A Piece of DIY Sound Design Advice

Hey y’all, Joe Hardtke here. I sound design the show.

We're still getting listeners writing in asking about the music from a certain segment from our Labor Day show, which I've lovingly dubbed our "Work Megamix." It was original to the show and incredibly fun to make. Sadly, for the many lovely listeners clamoring for it, we can't just hand out the MP3 version. While we pay an annual fee to songwriters for broadcast use, we do not have the rights to distribute these things as songs.

That said, I can tell you the songs we sampled and how to recreate it, if you’re into that sort of fun. Consider it a TTBOOK DIY sound design recipe!

All the songs were comfortably close to C or G major, which I thought was interesting. We like our work songs optimistic, apparently. Dolly needed a bump up. Her recording was in D (despite what the sheet music told me).

  1. The funky bed and handclaps for the piece was from “Car Wash” by Rose Royce.
  2. Johnny Cash pops up at :45 from “Oney.”
  3. “Work and work and work” is also sampled from “Car Wash.”
  4. Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard For The Money” appears at 1:18.
  5. At this point, two coal hammers begin to bang away. The left hammer is from Merle Haggard’s “Working Man Blues,” the right from Lee Dorsey’s “Working In A Coal Mine,” the chorus of which chimes in at 1:30 and 1:35.
  6. Then a piano arrives, sampled and pitched up from Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5.”
  7. At 1:55, Sam Cooke begins to grunt in the left channel. It’s taken from his song “Chain Gang,” which is sampled again at 2:24.
  8. Michael Jackson joins in at 2:08 from his track “Workin’ Day and Night.”
  9. At 2:32, an additional dance beat appears, taken from Britney Spears’s “Work B***h.”
  10. There’s Dolly again at 2:40.
  11. Bachman-Turner Overdrive is “Takin’ Care of Business” at 2:52.
  12. At 3:14, we’re in the home stretch. Britney’s “Work B***h” returns in censored form. Sorry, Britney.
  13. Rihanna and Drake join the fun at 3:33 and 3:42, respectively. (“Work, work, work, work, work…”)
  14. And there’s only one way to end this party, bringing Dolly’s “9 to 5” back at 4:03. Again, pitched up a few semitones.

If you're looking for something a bit more low-impact, we also have a Spotify playlist filled with our inspiration for this one. 

And to think, I get to do this every week! What a way to make a living.