Howdytoons Presents “Dinosaurs & Monsters,” the 4th Album in its Award-Winning “Dinostory” Series
Worldwide fans of the popular “dinosaur rock” albums and animated videos produced by Howdytoons can look forward to the September 30 release of Dinosaurs & Monsters, the fourth album in the brand’s award-winning “Dinostory” series, which is closing in on a billion YouTube streams.
The wizard mastermind behind Howdytoons is Toronto-based musician Mike Whitla, who cites influences as colorful and varied as Iron Maiden, Mastodon, Pink Floyd, jazz legend Thelonious Monk, and classical Carnatic ragas of South India.
Howdytoons, famous in the kids’ world for its heavy metal-inspired dinosaur songs, digs even deeper into the genre with Dinosaurs & Monsters, unearthing tunes about super-fantastic creatures, both real and imagined. There is still a healthy serving of music for dino-crazed fans, but the album also includes songs about Pterosaurs (“I’m a Pterodactyl”), synapsids (“Dimetrodon,” listen to the song to find out what a synapsid is), and Pliosaurs (“Kronosaurus”), plus an eponymous number about a legendary Scandinavian sea monster, The Kraken. Even when telling a great tale, Howdytoons keeps thing scientifically accurate, packing statistics and facts into every song.
Offering something a cut above inconsequential, autotuned kids’ music, Howdytoons songs fire the imagination with amusing complexities that require the full attention of the listener, regardless of age. The stellar musicianship of Dinosaurs & Monsters is commanded by the searing guitar riffs and blazing vocals of Mike Whitla and Jimmy Reid and bombastic drumming, provided by Marco Minnemann (The Aristocrats, Joe Satriani, Alex Lifeson, and more). Compositionally, the music is an exotic mixed bag that combines elements of not only rock, reggae, ska, and metal, but also South Indian classical (Carnatic) music, courtesy of Mike Whitla, who became fluent in this musical language while studying at Toronto’s York University. Whitla’s Carnatic guru, the acclaimed virtuoso Trichy Sankaran, is featured playing mridangam on two of the album’s Carnatic-influenced songs.
Dinosaurs & Monsters marks the Howdytoons recording debut of Mike Whitla’s son, Jake Django, with his supersonic banger, “The Kraken,” co-written with guitarist Dov Beck-Levine. The Howdytoons team is also thrilled that “The Kraken” heralds the initial element of a rip-roaring new music and video series, “Mythologica.”
There are now four YouTube channels under the Howdytoons brand, featuring work in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Across the brand on YouTube, Howdytoons has scored more than a billion views (with 10 million more added each month) and currently has more than a million subscribers. YouTube has honored Howdytoons with “Silver Play” buttons, denoting more than 100,000 subscribers, for its Howdytoons, Howdytoons Extras, and Howdytoons en Español channels.
As a solo artist, Mike Whitla has been honored with numerous awards for his kids’ music, including Parents’ Choice, NAPPA, Indie Music, Academics’ Choice, Creative Child, Tilliwig Toy, Mr. Dad, and more. He was a finalist in the Great American Songwriting Competition, a semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Competition, and was nominated as “Best Children’s Entertainer” at the SiriusXM Indie Awards.
Howdytoons makes rocking good songs about dinosaurs, sharks, and other prehistoric animals, inspired by metal, prog, funk, and classic rock, and loved by audiences of all ages. With over 50 music videos on its four YouTube channels, Howdytoons has created numerous online viral sensations, including the original “Baby Shark” and “The Fart Song,” as well as the popular “Dinostory” and “Prehistorica” series, which have received hundreds of millions of views.
The seed for Howdytoons’ success germinated with the release of Mike Whitla’s 2011 recording, Dinostory: The Ultimate Dinosaur Rock Opera. By that time, Mike had already accrued over 10 years’ experience creating music for kids through Rainbow Songs, a popular Toronto-based early childhood music education program he founded, and he had produced seven other award-winning children’s music albums. Dinostory: The Ultimate Dinosaur Rock Opera grew out of the need for a comprehensive collection of super-engaging songs about dinosaurs.
Universal dinosaur consciousness received a cyclopean shot in the arm when a selection of Dinostory’s prehistoric-themed songs were animated and released on YouTube. The gist of this epic tale recounts how, as an egg, Terri the Triceratops was separated from her siblings, had to hatch on her own, and searched for a community that she could call home. The first video, “The Egg,” was released in 2012. Shortly thereafter, Whitla’s YouTube channel was rebranded as Howdytoons, with Terri becoming the mascot of the production company.
Over the next 10 years, a second series of songs followed Terri’s adventures as she grew up. These videos acquired millions of views and became so popular worldwide that Spanish and Portuguese translations were released, to great success.
Throughout Terri’s journey, Howdytoons dealt with an array of complex social issues such as belonging, loneliness, and loss. Mike Whitla believes that, rather than shying away from complicated or difficult issues, kids’ content should boldly address complex emotional topics to help children and families deal with challenges in a caring and truthful way.
Although the “Dinostory” series has remained the most popular Howdytoons content, other projects soon swung into production. “Prehistorica” was launched in 2017, with episodes and songs co-written with guitar virtuoso James Reid. This series features songs about remarkable prehistoric animals, like the woolly mammoths and megalodons that arose after dinosaurs became extinct. On the horizon is a new series called “Mythologica,” featuring “The Kraken,” written by Mike Whita’s son, Jake Django, for the album Dinosaurs & Monsters.
Engaging music has always been the center of Howdytoons’ appeal, so no one was surprised when the demand arose for Howdytoons’ content to be released on audio-only streaming services. Since 2019, the brand has received tens of millions of streams across numerous platforms and has been featured on Spotify’s editorial Hard Rock playlist with two different tracks, an amazing record for songs that were originally conceived for kids!
Dinosaurs & Monsters will be available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, YouTube Music, YouTube (video), and other streaming services.
Album Details: Dinosaurs & Monsters
Release Date: September 30, 2022
Digital download only
For all ages, and especially for ages 5 – 12
Run time: 30 minutes