How the ‘world’s biggest amp’ made its way into Godzilla vs Kong

Godzilla vs Kong? Try 14-foot amp vs 6-foot bass drum. Check out the biggest instruments in the world that feature in the blockbuster score.

Dutch composer Tom Holkenborg (aka Junkie XL), is well versed in big film scores – you can hear his work in Mad Max: Fury Road, Alita: Battle Angel and Terminator: Dark Fate.

Most recently, he scored the blockbuster film Godzilla vs Kong. Set in a Monsterverse, featuring the largest creatures mankind could imagine, the soundtrack needed to be equally as gigantic.

And Tom Holkenborg is no stranger to really, really big instruments.

You may recognise Junkie XL for the enormous drum he created. It’s the only drum that can wholly encapsulate the terrifying boom of King Kong.

tom holkenborg drum

Holkenborg originally wanted an eight-foot drum but was told it was impossible. Eventually, he settled on a drum five foot in diameter and six feet deep. It took months to build the instrument. Once completed, Holkenborg struggled to even fit it through the door to his studio.

Still on the hunt to complete Kong’s sound, Holkenborg went to The NAMM Show in Anaheim where he came across an incredible sight: Ampeg’s 14-foot bass amplifier, the biggest amp in the world.

“I went up to the salesperson and asked ‘Is this thing for rent or for sale?’ He said, ‘No, no, no absolutely not. Because it takes 10 people and a crane to put it in here.” Holkenborg revealed in an interview with ComingSoon.net.

According to the Ampeg representative, there were only two that existed in the world, one in Anaheim, the other in a building complex in Calabasas — which happened to be only 10 miles from Holkenborg’s home studio.

Those were the magic words.

It didn’t take long for Holkenborg to wrangle his Fender Jazz Bass, his favourite pedals and begin sampling the amp.

“The low end coming from that amp was absolutely ridiculous… we recorded it with a bunch of different microphones – I played every note on the bass [with] various articulations.”

And here, Holkenborg found the sound of Kong.

Holkenborg was looking for a monster theme that encapsulated the 60 years of Godzilla history: it needs to be big, ridiculous, brassy, nasty — and it needed to put a smile on your face. The low-end grumble of the amp and the gigantic boom of his six-foot drum was the perfect combination to marry into the monstrous score.

Check out the Godzilla vs Kong trailer here.