Monday, May 19, 2014

Music supervisor Season Kent talks soundtrack

The Huffington Post talked to The Fault In Our Stars music supervisor Season Kent about putting together the soundtrack. The Huffington Post compared the soundtrack to "The Breakfast Club" and calling it the "soundtrack of this generation." After listening to the soundtrack we are in awe. Check out what Season told HuffPost about each song.

"All Of The Stars" by Ed Sheeran

Kent: We knew his record was coming out and that he was busy, but Ed was so enthusiastic about the movie. He wanted to be a part of it. After hearing about it, he was like, "You know what? I think I have a song." He gave us this song, and we were floored. "All of the Stars" encompasses everything about the movie, and he hadn't even seen the movie yet. It kind of turned out really perfect for us. Once we heard that song, that was it. We knew it was our end-credits song. In fact, this was the only song that ever existed in the end titles. You need a moment [after the film finishes]. You need to breathe. This song comes in really quiet and it eases you in. It's really bittersweet and emotional, but it still feels uplifting. That was the biggest thing we wanted to make sure people felt walking out of the theater.

"Simple As This" by Jake Bugg

Kent: I had pulled together a bunch of songs and put them on a flash drive before my first meeting with Josh. My plan was to go to the meeting and see if I was on the same musical page as him for the movie. If I was, I would give him the flash drive with all the ideas I had; if I was completely off, I would not pull out that flash drive. Josh sat me down and, first off, was like, "By the way, fuck you for putting 'Song for Zula' by Phosphorescent in 'The Spectacular Now.' I love that movie. I love that song. I wanted to use that song in 'Fault.'" It was really funny. I was like, okay, we're going to be friends. We're going to get along. I already knew.
I got hired on the movie in May of 2013, and we didn't even start shooting until August of last year. But through the whole summer, I was just basically making mixes for Josh. Here's some fun, upbeat cool stuff. Here's some sad songs. Here's some duets. Here's the new stuff I'm listening to. I was just feeding him music, and he's such a music junkie to begin with. The Jake Bugg song was on that original mix. I think our editor pulled it from my mix and stuck it in that scene.
It's off his first record and it has never been licensed before. We're getting its first use. Which kind of makes it feel like an original song. I think I introduced Josh to Jake's music. What's great about Jake Bugg is that he's a young, emerging artist, but he has this old soul kind of sound, which worked well with our story.

"Let Me In" by Grouplove

Kent: There were certain scenes we knew needed original songs. We just hadn't found anything we liked. We also wanted new stuff. Some of the scenes just kind of needed to be scored with a song. This was one of those scenes.
The idea of Grouplove came up. We were all excited and all fans. The band came to Fox and we showed them the movie. Afterward, myself and music executive, Patrick Houlihan at Fox, sat down with the band and showed them this scene again. We said, "Look, there are certain things that it needs to hit on picture. She just found out she's going to Amsterdam, so the song can't hit you over the head. Once we see that reveal of Gus coming out of the limo, though, we need it to explode. It needs to be that 'Say Anything' moment." That was our pitch to them. They did such a great job. They actually wrote two songs for us and we had a hard time picking which one to use, because we liked them both.

"Tee Shirt" by Birdy

Kent: When Atlantic came onboard, Birdy was one of the first artists who we felt was perfect for our movie. She's 17 years old, she has an incredible, haunting sad voice. We had her see the movie, and then she immediately wrote a song. It was "Not About Angels" [a song that appears later on the soundtrack], and she sent it to us in a really rough demo form. We had the idea that since she worked with Dan Wilson before, we would have her and Dan do a writing session. We're big fans of his writing, he's written huge hits for the Dixie Chicks and Adele and his own stuff. The two of them got together for a few days and knocked out three songs. One of those songs was "Tee Shirt." The other song was "Best Shot" [which also appears on the album]. The third song is not on the soundtrack. Of the three she did with Dan Wilson, "Tee Shirt" was one of Josh's favorites. I think that one they're going to make the single. It's a different song for her. It's kind of upbeat, it's really sweet. I think the lyrics are really relatable with teenage love.

 "All I Want" by Kodaline

Kent: Our assistant editor, Greg Borkman, who is a friend of Josh's and worked on Josh's last movie, said he wanted to try "All I Want" in the movie. I think him and Josh, together, figured out the placement of that song and where it might work. It's a scene where, typically in a movie, you would expect the song to be something fun: They're egging a car! It's funny! But it's really emotional and bittersweet. It's the point in the movie where I just get warm and fuzzy inside. I can't explain it. I feel like I'm going to burst. Which is what I think that song does.

"Long Way Down" by Tom Odell

 Kent: Initially, we had score in that part. But we kind thought we should try a song. It felt like a moment. We thought we could have something really gentle and sparse there. It's kind of the start of these emotional songs, but we had to be really smart about it. It couldn't be too sad or too dark, because it's relatively early in the movie at this point. I'm a huge Tom Odell fan. I adore him. I think he's a great songwriter. I think his voice is right for this movie. It was kind of like an overall theme with the movie: We wanted something interesting and something really organic. This song has been one that I loved for a while. I pitched this song along with a bunch of others to Josh. When he saw the list, he immediately picked Tom Odell.

"Boom Clap" by Charli XCX

Kent: I was pushing this song more than anyone. I love it so much, and I love her. It was one of those scenes where we knew we needed a punch of energy; something fun and that's about living in the moment. We were getting original songs from the label, but I asked our A&R guy about Charli XCX. I had heard she was in the studio and wanted to know if there was anything I could check out. He sent me two tracks; one of them was "Boom Clap," but it was an early demo version. I pitched it to the filmmakers and they were like, "Yeah, maybe? It doesn't feel full enough yet and it doesn't feel energetic enough yet." I said it was a demo and that I wanted to finish it off and go from there.
Patrik Berger ended up producing the track. He did Robyn's "Dancing on My Own." The track comes back and its so awesome and catchy and fun. Everyone who I played it for was obsessed with it. I didn't have any other songs for the spot, because I just knew that this was a fucking hit. I just knew it! I brought the finished version to Josh, our editor, and everyone. I made all of them stand up and I said we're going to dance to this. They were like, "Season, you're crazy." I played it and I was doing my little shimmy dance, and they got onboard. They were like, "Great. We love it." They didn't really know the power of that song until the Friday that the stream was released and everyone wrote about it.

"While I'm Alive" by STRFKR

 Kent: It's a pop song, but it's a cool pop song. We knew that we weren't going to have a whole movie of sad songs. It wasn't going to work. This was on one of those early mixes I made. The most important part of the song for us is when Hazel's like, "I'm going with Gus"; there's this great transition in the song where you're like, "Oh, shit."

 "Oblivion" by Indians

Kent: We had a Bon Iver song in this spot for a really long time. We ended up replacing it: partially because we wanted an original song there, and partially because he denied our use. Which was hard at first, but then it just gave us a better opportunity to find something that really worked for the scene. The song kind of had to score the moment. There's that point where Gus walks around the corner and sees Hazel all dressed up and he says, "You look beautiful." You need to feel the butterflies inside that she's feeling. There's this little shimmer in the music track when she smiles that was really important. We just wanted it to feel as magical as possible. This was our moment. The thing about this movie is that it's about first love. It's about their disease and the loss of things, too, but it's about first love. We wanted everyone who hasn't experienced first love yet to understand what it feels like, and everyone who has been through their first love to remember it. This is one of my favorite songs on the soundtrack.

 "Strange Things Will Happen" by The Radio Dept.

Kent: Just as I came in with a flash drive of music when I met Josh, he did the exact same thing when he met with Fox to try and get the movie. This was a song that he had on his mix and he loved it. The song is just close to him and he really wanted it in the movie.

 "Bomfalleralla" by Afasi & Filthy

Kent: This was in the book. They wrote it in the script and we wanted it in the movie. It's amazing. At first, the label was like, "What? This has no flow." But we said it must go on the soundtrack. The book fans will freak out. (WE DID!)

 "Without Words" by Ray LaMontagne

Kent: This was a song that I have had for years. Maybe since 2008. It was a song that never made it on Ray's last record. I had it from his publisher and I pitch it all the time, but I was never able to place it. This is another scene that's a really heavy moment. We found out this devastating news, but it's still not the saddest point in the movie. The song really can't go there yet. What I love about this Ray song is that it's organic. It's a warm song that feels like it has undertones [of sadness].

 "Not About Angels" by Birdy

Kent: Birdy was so obsessed with the movie and book, which was exciting for us. We wanted her to be as excited as we were. The song is so smart, because there's this whole back and forth that Gus and Hazel have about believing in God and believing in angels, and that's what her song is about: it's not about angels, it's about us.
At the time, we had another song here, which was the Lykke Li song, "No One Ever Loves." That was written for the movie, and we loved it. But this scene is very internal. We needed something really delicate and really sparse. There was something about Birdy's song that just worked really beautifully to picture. We called Birdy and we were like, "Hey, besides 'Tee Shirt' and 'Best Shot,' we really want to use 'Not About Angels' too." She was so excited. I don't think we could have had a better song in that spot. It's such a gorgeous song. I'm so proud of her, because she did such a great job.

"No One Ever Loved" by Lykke Li

Kent: We loved this song, but sometimes you just have to listen to the film. You have to sit back and say, "What is the scene missing? What does the scene need?" There were things that the Birdy song did that this song didn't do. But we also loved it. We wanted it finished, and Lykke Li is an Atlantic artist, so we thought we would put it in the end titles. We still wanted it part of the movie, especially because she wrote it for us.

 "Wait" by M83

Kent: This song was on Josh's original playlist that he gave to Fox. It was also on my original playlist that I gave to him. It felt meant to be. This song, for Josh, is really close to him. He had a friend and mentor who passed away from cancer right before he started making this movie. At the time, when he was really sick, that was when the M83 record had come out. Josh told me that's it was the record he remembers during that time, especially "Wait."
For me, it was on that first playlist. It's just a special song. I love the song. It's so cinematic and beautiful. We both knew that we were going to use it in the movie, it was just a matter of where. Josh put it in the Amsterdam scene, and then when were trying to figure out what to use at the end -- where we needed something building -- Josh thought we could reprise M83. That was in there from the beginning and it never left. There's something about that song. It's so sad, but it's also uplifting too. It's so bigger than the world.

 "Best Shot" by Birdy and Jaymes Young

Kent: "Best Shot" was one of the Birdy-Dan Wilson collaborations, and Jaymes Young came on to sing it as a duet. I have so many other songs lying around right now that were written for the movie. We didn't have enough real estate for all of them. Who knows? Maybe one day we'll get to make an "Inspired By 'Fault'" or "More Songs from 'Fault'" album that includes all these demos I have. They are incredible.

Check out the entire Huffington Post interview to find out the exact scenes each song is placed.


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