The Legend of Korra composer Jeremy Zukerman recently chatted with Hypable about composing for television, an unexpected soundtrack, and the times when he just has to freak out.

What is your process of composing a piece of music for The Legend of Korra?

We start with what’s called a spotting session. Ben Wynn (lead sound designer for Korra and my business partner), Aran Tanchum (foley recordist for Korra), Bryan Konietzko (co-creator) and Mike DiMartino (co-creator) meet at Nickelodeon where we analyze the episode we’re about to begin working on. We talk about the music and sound design needs simultaneously which is fairly uncommon in the industry. It’s a good way to make sure there’s cohesion among the audio elements though. I leave with a good understanding of the music needs of the episode.

After the spotting session, I have two weeks to hand in a music preview. Of course I really only have about four solid days to compose as I’m finalizing the previous episode. That involves any revisions that have come from Bryan and Mike, prepping the music notation for recording sessions (thankfully I have a couple good people help me with that – it’s a ton of work), proofreading and tweaking the notation, recording strings, recording Hong Wang (Chinese multi-instrumentalist), editing recorded material, mixing and prepping the session which goes to the dub session (where all the audio elements are brought together – dialog, foley, sound design and music).

The actual process of composing might be very boring to watch! It’s a lot of me freaking out about how time is running out and then writing due to having no more time to freak out. I work at a computer and sometimes work with pencil and paper when it makes sense to do so. I’ve even recorded my voice to picture and used that as a map. I recently did that on a very orchestrally dense, fairly long action cue. First I recorded my voice, then I made an orchestral sketch on paper using the voice as a map. And finally I fleshed it out on the computer. There are many processes that work for me. It really depends on the type of cue and my mood…

What is your favorite part of that process?

I think it’s hearing the music come to life when we record the musicians. The simplest compositional idea will really spring to life and it’s really satisfying to record something that wasn’t mocked up in the demo because it can only be done by humans… Experiments or ideas that are realized. It’s especially nice when those ideas actually work. Ha!

Also, composing is a very solitary task and I really, really like the musicians on The Legend of Korra. Interacting with them breathes life into the process and gets me fired up.

What is the most challenging aspect of composing for The Legend of Korra?

Definitely sustaining the work flow. TV is brutal in its relentlessness. And Korra is very ambitious in every facet. It demands something way above and beyond and to not deliver isn’t an option to me personally. So there are many days where the energy and the inspiration isn’t there…but you still have to bring the A game.

Has working on The Legend of Korra been different from working on Avatar: The Last Airbender?

Very different. The nature of the anxiety has changed. It went from ‘how do I do this?’ to ‘how do I do this in time?’

I think I’m much better at what I do now. I feel more in control of the work and when I experiment it feels more specific and satisfying.

Also, The Legend of Korra tone is quite a bit more mature and with the live musicians (something I didn’t have for Avatar: The Last Airbender.) I feel like I can sometimes score Korra more like it’s a live action show, more minimal and subtle. Of course there are still plenty of grandiose epic moments.

Has working on Book 2 been different from working on Book 1?

Yeah, again I’ve learned a lot about working with the string sextet and Hong. In the beginning there was a lot more searching around in the dark (which can be really useful). And now with Book 2 there is a musical history and aesthetic in place. Still, Book 2 is very different than Book 1 in story and tone so it requires almost entirely new material. There are new instruments, themes, techniques, etc.

Is there anything special that viewers should listen for in the music of Book 2?

I wouldn’t want to color anyone’s experience. Viewers have made connections and noticed things I wasn’t even aware of as the composer! I’m excited to hear from them.

Do you have a favorite musical moment in the show so far?

Not one in particular. There is a recurring canonic idea based on gamelan that’s been fun to explore. I think episode 1×20 has some special musical moments. It’s also beautiful visually (no big surprise there, though it’s a stylistic departure).

Fans were really excited to see The Legend of Korra soundtrack released, and the response has been amazing. What has that been like for you?

I knew there was a fan base but I was not prepared for the reception. I’ve been flooded with email, tweets and Facebook messages from people who have had extremely profound experiences with the music. It’s incredible to me. I feel awful that I haven’t been able to respond to everyone but I am beyond grateful and touched.

Do you think we might get our hands on an Avatar: The Last Airbender soundtrack at some point?

There’s a decent chance of that happening. Especially because of the success of the Legend of Korra soundtrack. But it will be a TON of work and take a while to do. All that material was done on old computers and no longer supported software. And I would have to re-record some material, get some live musicians in, etc. If I’m going to do it, it has to be awesome… I think I may need to assemble a small team to put it all back together but I think it needs to be done.

If you could be a bender, what would you bend?

I thought I was an airbender… Isn’t making music airbending?

For more about Jeremy Zuckerman…

Jeremy Zuckerman grew up in New York and first worked in music as a CD shrink-wrapper. One half of the music and sound design team The Track Team, Jeremy plays many instruments, including guitar and something called a duduk. You can connect with Jeremy on Facebook and on Twitter as @JeremyZuckerman. For more information, check out his personal website at

The Legend of Korra: Original Music From Book One is available on Amazon and iTunes.

Come back for daily ‘Legend of Korra’ coverage and join in the conversation with hashtag #SeptBender!

New ‘Power Rangers’ movie costumes revealed

The suits for the ladies are... questionable.

12:30 pm EDT, May 5, 2016

Can we morph into a world where female super heroes don’t have to wear high heels? has exclusively revealed the first look at what the new Power Rangers costumes will look like when they hit the big screen next year. Check them out below.


The new suits are explained as “alien” according to costumer designer Andrew Menzies. “It’s tricky finding a new language for a superhero costume. Ours is an alien costume that grows on them, that’s not man-made. You can’t win everyone over, but we are trying to appeal to a more mature audience and gain new fans.”

Noticeably in the picture, both the Pink Ranger and the Yellow Ranger’s costumes feature full busts and even wedge heels. Haven’t we learned anything about last year’s Jurassic World protests!?

This photo comes after the previously released photo of Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa which also featured a brand new look.


What are your thoughts about the new Power Rangers suits? Should they have stuck a little closer to the original concept from the hit ’90s TV show?

Power Rangers hits theaters March 24, 2017. The cast includes Becky G as Yellow Ranger Trini, Ludi Lin as Black Ranger Zack, Dacre Montgomery as Red Ranger Jason, Naomi Scott as Pink Ranger Kimberly, and RJ Cyler as Blue Ranger Billy.

Veronica Roth’s upcoming science fiction novel is titled Carve the Mark, and hits store shelves on January 17, 2017.

An official website (complete with a countdown clock!) launched Thursday morning. It reveals the cover (above) and synopsis for Carve the Mark, which will apparently appeal to “fans of Star Wars and Divergent.”

The cover is interesting, as it appears to show cuts made in stone, with something like gold seeping out of the openings. “Honor has no place in survival,” the book’s tagline reads.

Here’s the full synopsis:

On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power — something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive — no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive—or to destroy one another.

Intriguing! I’m liking the sound of these currentgifts and their influence on this science fiction world.

Previous reports have described Carve the Mark as the first part in a duology, with part 2 getting a release in 2018.

This will be the first book published since Roth wrapped up the Divergent Series. Although Allegiant was released in 2013, a book with short stories about Four arrived the following summer.

You can pre-order Carve the Mark here. Do you think you’ll be reading it?

Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle may have only just crash-landed in a dumpster near you, but we’ve already got information on the second book!

According to his newly upgraded website (hey! us too!), the second book in Rick Riordan’s latest Greek mythology series will be released on May 2, 2017 and is titled The Dark Prophecy. That doesn’t sound ominous at all.

The synopsis reads, “Zeus has punished his son Apollo–god of the sun, music, archery, poetry, and more–by casting him down to earth in the form of a gawky, acne-covered 16-year-old mortal named Lester. The only way Apollo can reclaim his rightful place on Mount Olympus is by restoring several Oracles that have gone dark. What is affecting the Oracles, and how can Apollo/Lester do anything about them without his powers? After experiencing a series of dangerous–and frankly, humiliating–trials at Camp Half-Blood, Lester must now leave the relative safety of the demigod training ground and embark on a hair-raising journey across North America. Fortunately, what he lacks in godly graces he’s gaining in new friendships–with heroes who will be very familiar to fans of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus series. Come along for what promises to be a harrowing, hilarious, and haiku-filled ride.”

Riordan’s fancy new website has a cool feature where, as you scroll the page, the dotted yellow line is replaced by a solid red one, like you’re really seeing yourself exploring the world as you venture through his books. (Accurate.) The Hidden Oracle took place in New York City, but our map tells us Apollo will be venturing into the unknown for the second book. Or has that bit of information just not been set in stone yet? There was something about Indiana…and bananas.

The Trials of Apollo is already off to a fantastic start. Check back later for our review of The Hidden Oracle and other in-depth coverage.

What did you think of ‘The Hidden Oracle’?