For me one of the things that made Nickelodeon Stand out during the 90s was the awesome theme music. It was rockish adventurous creepy and quirky all mice into one. Or have either one for that matter. Dan Vitco had a nab for playing into the sound department for most of the early 90s nick programming such as Make the Grade, Nick Arcade, and Clarissa Explains it All. The latter of which he did all of the combined music supplies all by himself. This interview you’ll hear more from Dan as he explains what it was like to be in Nickelodeon during those years and just how what it did for him in the long run. To learn more about Dan and his work you can look at his website
1. What are some of your earliest memories of writing music and playing an instrument?
I started piano lessons at age 5. I didn’t seriously start writing music until my early 20s.
2. The first Nickelodeon show you worked on was Make the Grade. Were you nervous at all to go from big time musicians to being in a hit children’s network?
3. On Total Panic,which your website claims to be the first full on TV package, how did the music work out better for you this time as opposed to Make the Grade?
I wasn’t involved with the the theme music for ‘Make The Grade’. I played (recorded) audience cheers from a keyboard live as the show was being taped, since there was no live audience. I also provided sound effects.
4. In 1990 when alot of the shows were starting to be produced at the newly opened Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando,FL do you wish you would’ve been employed there full time?
I considered moving to Orlando at the time. There was too much I had going on in NJ back then, so I never made the move. Looking back, I’m glad I stayed in NJ!
5. What was your first impression of it when you got there based on your brief appearances?
During one visit to Orlando (wrapping up music production for Nick Arcade), I visited the production studios. It was impressive!
6. I think Clarissa Explains it All seems to be one of your proudest achievements. The guitar riff is what makes the show so noticeable. How different did you want to score the music this time for the overall theme of the show?
Actually, I did all of the music except for the theme. The guitar riff seemed to fit right from the beginning (as Sam climbs through the window), so we stuck with that.
7. Have you ever been slimed?
8. How great was all the staff who worked at Nick? I always hear positive stories.
It was mainly Chris Gifford & Nondas Voll (over the phone) for Clarissa Explains it All. For all the other shows, I always worked with my good friend Mark Schultz, with whom I still do projects. He’s an amazing producer, writer and engineer. He has his own studio now in NJ: http://www.mysuitespot.com
9. How do you feel knowing that all of 90s Nickelodeon you were a part of made such a positive impact on fans and is still loved today?
It’s great to hear that people loved those shows and still ask for them!
10. Do you think the years spent for Nickelodeon was a learning process in terms of what you do now in a beneficial way?
Absolutely. There were many things about music production for TV & the music business that have been extremely helpful for me.
11. What do you think made Nick Studios so great and special?
Everything was fun & kind of wacky at the same time.
12. Would you like to see it be re-opened?
Dan thank you for the opportunity for me to learn more about your background. It was a pleasure and i’ll let you know how everything goes with the project!