Times are tough and the crime is hard and the streets, well, yes: the streets are hot. At least they are on Adult Swim’s newest cartoon, Hot Streets, which was created by former Rick and Morty and Robot Chicken writer Brian Wysol, and is absolutely not Chicago’s platinum-selling album from 1978.
Streets started its first season earlier this month, and pretty much immediately fit right in with Adult Swim’s peculiar legacy: it’s a short, surreal, seemingly drug-addled cartoon riffing on genre conventions and shot through with a heaping helping of stoned absurdity. One of its chief marketing points is the participation of Rick and Morty creator Justin Roiland, who co-produces the show and voices a dog named Chubbie Webbers, but don’t let the big name seduce you: this is Wysol’s show, from the concept to the scripts, and straight down to the music heard in every episode.
That’s where the video above comes in.
Wysol scores every episode of Hot Streets with the same old, 3.5” floppy disc-reading synthesizer he’s had since high school or whenever. (You know it’s from teen days because it has a Jawbox sticker on it.) In the video above you can catch a glimpse of the creative process behind the music from this self-taught musician who claims to have no idea how to play the piano, as he layers hand claps and bass notes over a drum beat to craft that distinctive Hot Streets sound. “I just tool around with my keyboard until I find melodies I like,” Wysol tells Paste.
When asked if he’d like to pursue a career in music outside of his TV shows, Wysol admits, “I’m not a skilled musician, so I don’t think anybody would hire me. A career in music would be amazing though. I’d love to record an experimental electronic album at some point in the future for fun.”
This proud fan of Devo, Bowie and the Pointer Sisters might not be especially confident in his keyboard skills, but if you’ve seen an episode of Hot Streets you’ve heard yet more proof of one of the truest maxims in music: the best music comes from people who have no idea what they’re doing. You can find out how Wysol does it in the behind-the-scenes video above.
Hot Streets airs on Adult Swim on Sundays at midnight.
Garrett Martin edits Paste’s comedy and games sections. He’s on Twitter @grmartin.