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Godzilla’s Signature Roar is Built From an Epic List of Sources

Godzilla’s Signature Roar is Built From an Epic List of Sources

The latest version of Godzilla’s iconic roar is a mix of old-school ingenuity and cutting-edge technology and is a fan favorite. In the last 70 years, each version of Godzilla has employed a slightly different method to craft its iconic roar.

In the original 1954 film, the sound effects team tried, though unsuccessfully, to use animal noises for the famous roar. It was the Japanese composer Akira Ifukube who ingeniously suggested using a musical instrument to produce the iconic shriek we all recognize today.

The original Godzilla roar was crafted by using a double bass and a leather glove coated in pine-tar resin to generate friction. By rubbing it against the string of the double bass, they created that distinctive sound.

In 2014, on the franchise’s 60th anniversary, American filmmakers rebooted the Godzilla series in the U.S. Titled simply Godzilla, the movie was helmed by Gareth Edwards, showcasing a fresh design and backstory for the monarch of monsters.

Of course, the team behind this Hollywood Godzilla flick had to cook up a remix of the iconic roar fans were eagerly waiting for. In 2014, Godzilla sound designers Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl discussed with NPR’s All Things Considered the challenge of creating a new Godzilla roar by blending various animal and non-animal sounds.

Recording the Updated Godzilla Roar Scared Tour Groups at Universal Studios

Van der Ryn and Aadahl tested various sounds to recreate the Godzilla roar. They scraped drumheads, opened creaky doors, and used scientific microphones to capture inaudible noises. These sounds were remixed into audible frequencies and combined with existing ones. The specialized microphones “allowed us to do was exploit this vast universe of sounds that really people have never heard before,” Van der Ryn explained.

They captured the monstrous shriek emanating from the Rolling Stones tour speakers at the Warner Brothers studios backlot. This enabled them to seize the reverberations and reflections of the sound bouncing off the cityscape. As you might imagine, this stirred up a bit of commotion in the process.

“The neighbors started tweeting, like, ‘Godzilla’s at my apartment door!’ Aadahl recalled. “And we were getting phone calls from Universal Studios across town. Tour groups were asking, ‘What’s all that commotion going on down in the valley?’ “

“The sound that we were playing actually traveled over 3 miles,” Van der Ryn added. “100,000 watts of pure power.”