The man who dares to change the sounds of Obama, Miley Cyrus & Kurt Cobain: the story behind Musicless Music Videos

Barack Obama in Musicless Music videos clip

Sound engineer Mario Wienerroither replaces the music of popular videos with new sounds, giving birth to Musicless Music videos, one of the most irresistible YouTube channels of the last years.

If video killed the radio star, then have you ever wondered what music feels like when the sound is silent and the unexpressed melodies and tunes are just left there for your own interpretation? They say music is what feelings sound like, but what happens when you remove the music and try to express that same emotion? Well, that’s exactly what one person is trying to do with his Musicless Music Videos.

You may or may not have heard of sound engineer Mario Wienerroither, who invests endless hours extracting music from iconic music videos for his original YouTube series, Musicless Music Videos and Silent Movies, Musicless Intros, Speechless Speeches.

Wienerroither removes the music from popular music videos and replaces the music by mixing in the everyday sounds of daily life that you would otherwise strangely hear in the video. As a sound enthusiast, Wienerroither would spend hours in his hometown of Vienna, Austria wandering around the streets of his city looking for the best environment to collect different sounds, ranging from footsteps to coughs and sneezes to the sounds of the typical indoor and outdoor public atmosphere.

Here is a little taste of some of his non-music videos. After watching this speechless speech of Barack Obama, you’ll be left speechless.

Wienerroither was an audio production student in the city of Salzburg, the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the setting for the musical The Sound of Music, before he moved to Vienna in 2006. It was here where he first discovered the concept of Musicless Music Videos after he inadvertently stumbled upon the £100,000 music video for I Want to Break Free by Queen with the sound on mute.

The visual content of the video showing the band members of Queen dressed in drag carrying out domestic tasks from vacuuming to cleaning the dishes, intrigued Wienerroither as to what the music video would feel like, if the music was replaced with the mundane sounds of those household activities. This is where he was inspired to recreate the video by isolating the songs vocal tracks from the instrumental music and carefully adding different layers of sounds effects.

Wienerroither got so much positive response and feedback for his Queen video, that his one-off musicless music video experiment turned into a monthly series on his YouTube channel. The average musicless music video takes the Austrian sound engineer about nine hours to complete, with three hours to record and accumulate the different sound effects, while another six or so for editing and mixing.

Wienerroither states that he makes 98 percent of all his sound effects from scratch for his videos, including all human sounds like grunts, gasps, laughs, sighs and sneezes, which have all become a collective trait of sounds that represent his musicless videos brand. While a very few sounds are used from licensed foley sound libraries, which consists of everyday sound effects that are used in film and television recordings to enhance the audio quality. These replicated sounds can vary from squeaky footsteps to doors opening and shattering glass.

While he’s not creating magic for his Musicless Music Videos YouTube series, Wienerroither has his own company called Digitalofen AudioBakery, where he works on Austrian TV commercials. One of his commercials is for an Austrian bank where the soundtrack for the creative sound advert is composed by using multiple musical instruments made out of credit cards played by several musicians over a recording session.

Apart from musicless music videos and TV commercials, he has also experimented with Silentless Movies, where as in this case, the silent movie has sound effects and even little pieces of dialogues added to the films from the pre-talkie/silent era (1920’s).

Wienerroither started the silentless movies series with a classic vampire film called Nosferatu. He explains that, since almost nobody watches silent movies anymore, he thought this would be a great way to make them attractive again for the younger audience in the digital age.

Originally, Wienerroither wanted to start the silentess movie series with a Charlie Chaplin film, which he had already reproduced and finished, but the owners of the film did not grant him authorization to broadcast it, as the silent film can only be presented with its symphonic score.

Wienerroither proclaims that he’s very much into detail and he could talk for hours about the mixing and mastering process alone: “how I treat the sounds is the key element that makes the musicless videos work”. And there’s plenty more of where that came from, cause as of August 2015 with over 35 videos comprising 33 million views in total and almost 90,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel, his online musicless fans can’t wait to see which artist will be the next victim of having their sound privileges taken away from their music videos.

Here is a small list of some of his classic musicless videos remixed and reimagined with sound effects that will either make you laugh and keep you entertained or make you feel extremely awkward and uncomfortable. Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

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Farshad Qasim

Contributor at sounDesign
Freelance creative designer and a digital media enthusiast from Dublin, Ireland. Farshad is a qualified professional with an MSc in Marketing Communications (2012) from MMU Business School in Manchester and a BSc in Business & Management (2011) from DIT Business School in Dublin. While having an artistic personality, he is highly passionate about creative advertising, digital marketing and graphic design as he aspires to incorporate his creative skills into his line of work to build an exciting yet challenging career in the creative and digital sectors.

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