StarDog and TurboCat

A loyal dog and a vigilante cat embark on a space age voyage to find their way home…

Client: Ben Smith (director) for Red Star 3D

Music composed and produced by Heather Fenoughty

from the official site:

Launched into space by his scientist owner in 1969, loyal dog Buddy crash lands in the present-day in a small town where pets are ruthlessly rounded up by animal-hating cop Peck. Desperate to be reunited with his owner, Buddy recruits genius millionaire cat Felix to help him on a madcap adventure across town. But when they encounter rabbit Cassidy and her misfit organisation of animal rights activists G.U.A.R.D., Buddy and Felix are forced to confront Peck and become the heroes they need to be! 

Starring Luke Evans, Nick Frost, Gemma Arterton and Bill Nighy, it’s a hilarious animated adventure about friendship, heroism and belief in the human capacity for good that introduces the whole family to the greatest heroes ever unleashed: STARDOG AND TURBOCAT!

The Soundtrack Album

The soundtrack album of the score to StarDog and TurboCat was released digitally to coincide with UK cinema release – click on the image to listen to the soundtrack on your preferred platform.

The track “These Animals Are Heroes; Reunited with David” (full album track no. 42) was selected for one of Spotify’s editorial playlists and received nearly 20,000 streams in its first week.

selected tracks from the album:

The StarDog Sketchbook

Here are some of my early sketches from May and June 2019.

In sketches 1 to 3, I was throwing stuff at the wall to see what stuck. The tone was ok, but none of it was as memorable as we wanted.

Sketch 5 was a preliminary idea for TurboCat (‘TC’), some of which made it into his final theme.

We settled on a catchy (one of the requisites in my original brief) theme in 8.1, explored further in sketches 9 to 12.2. I honestly thought we’d nailed StarDog’s theme for a good few weeks till we got to 12.2 and realised it sounded a bit ‘sad’. Along with being overly serious, it didn’t suit StarDog’s character at all.

Back to the drawing board… in sketch 23 I played more with a tonal shift to something more exciting, optimistic and action-adventure (rather than the cosy fun of some of the earlier sketches).

We had it – the bones of StarDog’s theme, explored and fleshed out in sketch 25.

Sketch 28r3 was another fleshing-out and throwing-stuff-at-the-wall-session.

We thought about retro-engineering the sketch 25 theme to create two more themes – Buddy before he becomes StarDog, and TurboCat (aka Felix).

By doing this, we have two very different styles of music for the two characters that come together to make the finished ‘StarDog and TurboCat’ theme that we hear later when they (finally!) decide to work together.

At the start of Sketch 28r3, I combined some of sketch 5’s (TurboCat’s theme) instrumentation with StarDog’s theme.

At 0.47 I blended further into material from sketch 5… and begin to develop a new melodic theme for TurboCat based on a small motif from the second phrase of StarDog’s theme (again, just throwing stuff at the wall, but this stuff started to stick).

At 1.16 I simplified StarDog’s theme to create Buddy’s theme – loyal, brave, innocent, intimate and sincere.

At 2.12… Ben and I had talked about making TurboCat’s themes sound as if TurboCat himself had created his own theme tune with stuff he’d built himself in his own Cat Cave (he’s quite handy at repurposing old technology he’s found in other people’s trash). I tried some 8-bit type tunes, then went off on one: the rest of the track is me trying out random ideas again.

Then at 3.32 I applied a combination of the more synthy and poppy type instrumentation (together with a classic 4-chord progression) to the main theme. (I thought this little section would work well over the end credits… but alas it wasn’t quite as heroic as the film needed at that point!)

In the sketch 30 variations, I used TurboCat’s theme I’d written in sketch 28r3 at 2.12 and pushed it to be loads more obnoxious. The final sketch 30 variation made it into the film nearly wholesale on TurboCat’s first appearance.