Recently, I got to speak with composer and Grammy-Award-winning songwriter Alex Geringas, who has had the distinct pleasure of creating many songs and musical numbers for the Disney Universe.
Alex is the co-writer of the song, with Michael Goode on the song “My Kind of Monster” for the Disney Channel Original movie “Under Wraps 2”, alongside the film’s director Alex Zamm. The song is full of energy and celebrates letting your freak flag fly. It was performed by cast members Malachi Barton, Christian J Simon and Sophia Hammons. The movie centres around three friends Amy, Gilbert, and Marshal who band together once again to keep their beloved mummy friend Harold and his love, Rose, safe from the wrath of an evil mummy. Alex’s song My Kind of Monster captures the festive feel of Halloween, and is a great companion for this family-friendly feature.
Alex’s music can also be heard at Disneyland. Along with Duddy Brown, he created the theme song for Disneyland’s firework show, “Wondrous Journeys,” entitled “It’s Wondrous.” The lyrics are enchanting, and the music is uplifting as it crescendos to a magical climax. The song explores “the magic that we call life,” which encapsulates the Disney vibe perfectly. Continuing his work in the Disney realm, Alex also co-wrote the theme song for “The Chicken Squad” on Disney Junior. Additionally, he wrote the lyrics and produced the Camp Minnie theme song for “Minnie’s Bow-Toons”.
Could you introduce us to you and let us know how you got involved in creating music for shows and music?
Sure. My name is Alex Geringas. I’m a songwriter and composer, and you might know me from the end title of Ice Age, where I did a song with Jesse J, or I did score the whole Trolls TV show universe. Or I did a song for Disney Plus for. It started with my parents, they’re classical musicians. And then, at a certain moment a friend came to me, because I have a background as an actor, he said to me, “Hey dude, you’re an actor, so you can write lyrics. Why don’t we just write a song together?” I was like, “Okay, let’s do it.” So we wrote a song. And at that time, I was living in Germany, and the German dream began. The song made it to EMI publishing. They sent it to Sony BMG, and then we had a single out there. And it was up to date, the biggest flop of my career, nobody bought it.
But a producer in Germany, he saw it and said, “You guys, you shouldn’t be an actor or something, because your voices are okay, only okay, but your writing is great, your producing is great. How about we form an act together and continue working together?” And then we started making a rap act in Germany. The first single we ever did was my first number-one hit. The second song I ever released was the first season’s Big Brother in Germany’s theme song. Up to today, I had 16 number-one hits in Germany. Then people wanted me to write in America, and I wrote a song about my ex-girlfriend, Kelly Clarkson it. It was Dark Side. It got me a Grammy, and now I’m here.
How do you come up with the overall sound of the music for a show or film?
Film and TV is always about collaboration. I’m always talking at first with the director and the producers, and try to see what their vision is. And then we start actually together building a palette, which is based on their taste. And sometimes you can add your own taste, sometimes you should better stay out of it. So it’s about collaboration. It’s the most fun of it.
What’s the difference when you’re creating music for live-action and animation?
It’s actually very different, because in life action, you better try to stay out of the dialogue and let the great actors who you see speak for themselves. And sometimes animated characters, especially when you do 2D, which is a very low-resolution form of animation, they need just more help. You just need to help every movement, help every word. So you do definitely a lot of more music for animation than for live-action.
That’s cool. And you’ve worked on so many different projects for Disney over the years, I’m just looking through it. Like Under Wraps 2, the Muppet series I saw popped up when I was looking through it, Minnie’s Bow-Toons, and The Chicken Squad. Which has been your favorite Disney project to work on?
It’s hard to say because every project becomes your favorite project when you’re working on it, when you get attached to the executive producers. And the children in entertainment world is, from my experience, super sweet and kind. The most people, it’s so fun to work with them. For example, the Under Wraps 2 director, Alex Zamm, is a personal friend of mine since 10 years. Since we are here we’re collaborating together. He booked me for one movie after the other, and you build a relationship. And then it’s getting your favorite project at that time. But then the new one is coming, and you approach it like 500% you did the last time. So I think every project has the potential to become your favorite project.
You recently worked on a song called “Wondrous Journeys”, which is the music from one of the fireworks shows at Disneyland in California. How did you approach that and was it any different making that than a film or a series?
It was a big, big dream to do something for Disneyland. When you get the pitch on your table, it’s already an excitement which you can’t describe with words. It’s just incredible. And my studio partner, who is my co-writer on this one, Duddy Brown and I, we love to go on walks before we write. It’s like a little bit tuning your instrument. We take a walk, we discuss the pitch, we get the inspiration from the nature. And so yeah, we just talked about the wonder we call life. And then the first sentences were born in our heads, and then one came to the other. We just ran into the studio and recorded this song in two or three hours, the very first draft. From the beginning on it was also an exciting collaboration with the Walt Disney Imagineering team. The whole music team around Tricia Holloway is just simply fantastic. It was so great to experience all the different departments, and work altogether on such a big thing. It was really a great experience.
We were working close with my friend, Christopher Lennertz, who arranged the whole show, who also had the task to get all the wonderful Disney properties together, like Moana. He brewed it all together and included our song. We didn’t know where it led, from the beginning on, but in the end it turned out to be such a wondrous journey.
Have you been able to Disneyland and to watch the fireworks show?
Yes, I took my whole family. My wife has an identical twin sister, she was never in Disneyland before, and we took her and her husband. We had such a great time.
It’s different, obviously, because when you do it for shows, seeing people’s reaction maybe at the cinema, I know whenever I go to the parks and I see the fireworks shows, there’s such a different excitement over it, the tears are flowing and everyone’s happy. It must be so different seeing the reactions to people.
When you’re in Disneyland and you see how the people love what you’re doing, that’s like pure goosebumps, right from the beginning. But I also must say I had once when, records were still a thing, I just saw how a young girl of 13 bought my record. I was just standing beside her, and she couldn’t know that I was a writer on this record. And she just said to her, mom, “Mom, I love this song so much. Can you buy it for me please?” This gave me super goosebumps. It’s always a wonder, that people actually love what you’re doing and what you’re creating here at home or in my studio. It’s the best job of the world.
Are there any future projects that you’re working on that you can tell us about?
Yeah. Through the strikes a lot of projects fell behind. I’m working on a bigger live action project, which I can’t disclose yet, which is going to be fun, which features a lot of music from different genres. What I always love to do in my professional life is when I score a movie I love also to write the songs for it, so I can put the themes of the songs in the score and turn it around again. It’s really so much fun. I get to do this in this movie, and I’m super excited about it. I’m also excited about my first Warner Brothers and DC show, Batwheels, because one of my all time heroes, Batman, is in there. And that’s a super fun show, which you can see right now on Max and Cartoon Network.
You can’t actually see, but I’ve actually got the big Batmobile and the Batwing, they’re all behind me. I’m a huge bat fan at well.
When I grew up in Germany, unfortunately, I was bullied for my body weight or for whatnot, and I always wished that my older brother, Batman, would come to help. And now I get to help him, at least musically. Now that I’m doing now a show with him in the show, it’s for me a big dream. We also have the first Black Robin, which I’m super proud of.
Are there any major franchises that Disney own that you would like to have a crack at in the future?
I would love to be a part, one of my biggest dreams was always to write a big Disney musical. For Minnie’s Bow-Toons my friend, Mike Himelstein, and I, we got to write a three-minute Disney musical, and we love doing this. But if I can put that out there, to write something like a Moana musical, where I get to work on all the songs, produce all the songs, that would be just one of my biggest life dreams. A hundred percent.
You can watch “Under Wraps 2” and “Minnie’s Bow-Toons” on Disney+ now.
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.