What is it about cars and music? We're not talking about what's coming out of your car's stereo system, we're talking about the link between song lyrics and personal transportation. Ever since the automobile came into prominence, it has been an inspiration for songwriters and musicians. There have been songs about buying and selling, owning and driving, tailgating and racing cars, trucks, buses and bikes. Lately, however, it seems some musicians are turning the tables on the relationship between cars and music.
Take budding Los Angeles musician/filmmaker Julian Smith for instance. He recently took a Jeep Cherokee and turned it into a musical instrument. Using the doors, switches, motors and engine Julian and his “band” made a music video called "Techno Jeep". The group made the video using the Jeep's actual sounds to perform the unique composition. Smith and the band rehearsed for two weeks before they began shooting the video, which has become a YouTube phenomenon. Julian says it took the group, “7 hours of filming to get a solid take.”
Smith and his band aren't alone, however, in making music with a car. In fact, there are enough performers using their cars as instruments to give this style of music a name. It's known as “Bootboxing,” a play on “Beatboxing,” which is the use of voices and the human body to simulate a whole range of percussion sounds. Toyota has even used Australian musician Snob Scrilla to produce a viral ad for their Yaris using bootboxing. The Yaris ad features four performers approaching a Yaris on display at a shopping center. As passersby look on, the group takes position and performs a quick number before disappearing as quickly as they appeared.
A different take on the relationship between music and cars is seen in a recent Honda ad in the UK
The Japanese carmaker also famously used their Honda Civic to “play” The William Tell Overture by driving over a series of grooves cut into a road in Lancaster, California. Someone on the team had the bright idea that they could take ordinary rumble strips and tune them to produce unique tones. By cutting grooves of varying lengths and depths, a car driving over them could actually play a song. The result is the Civic Musical Road, which produces a snippet of The William Tell Overture when any vehicle drives over it. And no, it doesn't just work with Hondas.
The relationship between music and cars is a long and fascinating one. Whether it's the songs coming out of our cars' stereos, lyrics about loving and loathing our rides or using our cars to produce rhythm and melody, cars and music just seem to go together.