Tough west coast music execs takes on a gang of professional musicians called L.A. Takedown led by the precise, enigmatic Aaron Olson.
And the heat is on.
The band L.A. Takedown is not only named after an obscure Michael Mann film, their music also evokes cinematic coked-up ‘80s Hollywood. It’s a dark place, driven by action, lit by neon colors and fraught with high stress scenarios.
Olson got the idea for L.A. Takedown while helping a friend score ‘80s-crime inspired short films. “He wanted a really specific kind of music, like Michael Mann movies, Miami Vice-like,” he tells BTRtoday. “When I forced myself to work within this genre of ‘80s crime film soundtracks I found that it ended up being a really good voice to translate my musical ideas.”
L.A. Takedown is purely instrumental. Olson only uses vocals as sound effects, approximating the feel of a perfect soundtrack to an epic nail-biting action flick.
The music videos for the track “Bad Night At Black’s Beach” shows a simple day at the park playing fetch with a bunch of pups. Once the scene’s set against the cold drama of the song, it feels like high wire tension. With the music, the dogs catching tennis balls seems adventurous and exciting—as if at any moment the cops are going to roll up and arrest all these fugitive pooches.
Their newest album II (which includes “Bad Night At Black’s Beach”) is structured to tell a story track by track. The intro song “The First Thing…” is a slow buildup with manicured guitar solos and dreamy synth and bells that perfectly carries you into the suspenseful and eerie second track, “Heatwave.” The body of the album takes you through a whirlwind of emotions, eventually ending on “The Last Thing…”—similar to the first track, but with robotic vocals added to the background.
With such a cinematic sound, it’s natural to wonder what the band’s vibe would be as a movie. Olson says that the movie of L.A. Takedown would be a very “weird” film with a plot that would make take a jolting hairpin turn. “It has this formula where it starts as one thing and becomes something else—like, maybe at first you’re thinking, ‘I don’t know what’s going on here’ and then a little while in you’re like, ‘oh shit.’”
He recommends watching Something Wild to experience this type of set-up. Olson explains that the film begins as an overly cheesy romantic comedy and then halfway through it turns into a brutal thriller. He also advises if you’re trying to understand their sound better, to skip watching the actual film L.A. Takedown and instead check out the remake, also by Michael Mann—a little movie called Heat.