“Knife Sharpening Class” by ChefSteps

Video courtesy of ChefSteps featuring “ChefSteps Knife Sharpening Class” 

In this advertisement for ChefSteps‘ Knife Class, I was given the task of creating music from the sounds of the process of knife sharpening. This was one of those projects where experimentation was key, but time was of the essence to complete it. I began by taking all of the components you see on screen, the knives, sharpening stones of varying grit, water spray bottles, honing rod, and cutting boards, and began hitting them together in front of my KSM-32 microphone.

I noticed right away that the sounds created from the actual sharpening process were harsh and brutally high pitched, so I knew I had an ear piercing mix process ahead even if the musical experimentation process worked out. Luckily, I found several uses for the materials that helped make more musical sense: The handle of the knife on the cutting board could turn into a bass drum, tapping two knives together created a more mellow and controlled rhythm, and tapping the honing rod created a rounder tone on the cutting board. I then created a beat based on the tempo on screen, and placed these newly recorded sounds in sync with the original footage so the sound of the action on screen matched the sound of the music. I also used a simple synth chord to create a warmness and emotional anchor within the music.