Well, this is that weird world you live in now where we’re so connected. Where you can see some kid on YouTube, then the next minute you’re hanging out. To me that’s crazy.
It’s pretty crazy. But I rely a lot on that in my professional life as well. I have been putting together The Hunger Games soundtrack and probably half the artists on there, I sent them a DM. Or a selfie on Instagram on private, saying, ‘Can you email me?’ It really is easy to reduce the steps in talking to someone and people appreciate it if you talk to people one-on-one. And I do it with fans too, send them a DM. They appreciate it and it’s cool.
That soundtrack, curating that, with those people – I mean that must be a dream! Because the film itself is a great film, and then you can swoop in there and they’ve given you, I understand – pretty free reign…
Yeah the whole thing!
Where do you begin? Are you just drawing up lists of names and people and…
Well yeah, where I started with that was the director and I had a conversation, and he had this idea of this kind of Appalachian-folk vibe. And I kind of extended that… obviously I am not going to write music which is rooted in Appalachian folk! But I found some awesome 1920s spiritual standards, folk songs, like ‘Lonesome Traveller’, ‘Wayfaring Stranger’, ‘Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child’, all these kind of beautiful haunting, really intense songs that I thought were a good starting point for me. Then I wrote my song inspired by those. And then when I was going to other artists I sent references to what I was vibing, and I broke down the film from my perspective and what I felt it needed musically, and took it from there. So we built it from the ground up.
And as far as writing ‘Yellow Flicker Beat’, was that done on tour buses? In strange cities? When you were back in New Zealand? Because for your fans they just suddenly have this thing.. whereas for you..
Yeah it’s a whole process! Well the lyrics in the beginning of that were based on something I’d written about myself, and I hadn’t thought about them being in the world of The Hunger Games, and then Joel [Little] and I went into the studio and we knew we wanted the song to start with these haunting, cracked hums…. because straight away you feel you’re inside a head, which is what I wanted to do with Katniss. And I stumbled across this lyric and thought ‘That’s kind of interesting’… the idea of repurposing everything that is kind of flawed, or wrong with Katniss, and making her this princess, this warrior. And she’s a cool character to write for.
She’s a cool cat.
She’s a cool cat for sure.
Those hums work though, right? It’s like you’re in a brain.
Yeah, that’s the vibe!
And it goes off live. I saw a video someone had taken of it the other night, and it’s pretty haunting and it works pretty well.
People have been super into it live, it’s been a fun one for us.