‘Kin’ sound designer Joseph Fraioli talks about his transition to Hollywood and creating characters with sound

Sound designer Joseph Fraioli talks about his life changing experience working on The Baker Brothers' first feature film ‘Kin’.


                            ‘Kin’ sound designer Joseph Fraioli talks about his transition to Hollywood and creating characters with sound

Having worked on nearly 2,000 commercials, sound designer Joseph Fraioli was offered the opportunity of a lifetime when filmmakers Jonathan and Josh Baker asked him to be a part of their short film ‘Bag Man'.  Fraioli had worked with The Baker Brothers countless times on commercials and short films, but this one was different.  After critical acclaim at SXSW in 2015, Hollywood came knocking, and it wasn’t before long that the brothers made a deal with some of the biggest producers in Hollywood to make their first feature film.  As Farioli was such an instrumental (pun intended) part of the short film, the brothers decided to bring him on as the sound designer of ‘Kin’, which is of course based off of ‘Bag Man’.

Starring Jack Reynor, Zoe Kravitz, Dennis Quaid, James Franco and newcomer Myles Truitt, ‘Kin’ follows adopted brothers (Reynor and Truitt) who embark on a dangerous adventure running from a violent criminal who is out for blood, with their only protection being an otherworldly weapon that holds mysterious powers. The film blends tones and genres, combining the gritty reality of Detroit with a mysterious and futuristic twist.  It was imperative that the sound designer played into those themes, and Fraioli did just that.

“There were a lot of dualities in this film, it’s a theme that plays throughout. From a broad perspective, you have the real world of Detroit, we wanted that to be gritty, to really immerse audiences into this environment. And then we have the science fiction aspect and the characters in that world and the weapon that Eli finds,” he says.

Myles Truitt/KIN Facebook 
Myles Truitt/KIN Facebook 

As one could imagine, the task of being the sound designer on this complex film was not easy, but Fraioli was more than up for the job. Taking the science fiction element of the film to heart, he was able to experiment with the sound so it created a story as opposed to just setting a mood.

“With the sound design itself, in terms of the science fiction elements, I had these ideas as we were developing the sound of the film having the weapon be a character within the film. So, I really wanted to elevate that and see what I could do with the sound to do that. I did a lot of experimentation and it sort of came to this place where the weapon had a character and an identity and sort of behaved differently depending on who was using it and what they were using it for and have that told through sound. So there was a really fun sort aspect of the sound design."

Fraioli’s methods of creating the sound for this film are fascinating, using actual conversations in his daily life as the basis for some of the more complex sounds in the film. By doing this, he was able to create a whole new language, which is beyond impressive.

Joseph Fraioli in the mixing studio shot by director Jonathan Baker.
Joseph Fraioli in the mixing studio shot by director Jonathan Baker.

“For the alien vocalizations, I would basically record my wife and I talking, just long passages of dialogue and then I would use software to sort of scramble and process the dialogue into long incoherent phrases of garbling. Then I would go into these long phrases and cut together individual pho-noms and syllables to make it sound like you can almost tell what they are saying.”

After having one of the best professional experiences of his life, Fraioli plans to make the big move to Hollywood from New York to pursue working on feature films in this genre. And of course, much of this is thanks to The Baker Brothers, who brought him onto the project in the first place. “With all of the feedback I’m getting and people I’m talking to, it just feels so natural to me to move to Los Angeles. It’s such a great, creative environment and there are so many talented people. Even on this team, in particular, it was an amazing situation," he reveals.

Joseph Fraioli attends the premiere of Summit Entertainment and Lionsgate's 'KIN' at ArcLight Cinemas on August 29, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
Joseph Fraioli attends the premiere of Summit Entertainment and Lionsgate's 'KIN' at ArcLight Cinemas on August 29, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

Check out this behind-the-sound video on Fraioli's work on 'Kin' below and don't forget to get your tickets now for the nationwide release on August 31st!