Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Underground

Who watched Six Feet Under last night? I'm incredibly upset it's the last season (couldn't they have just gone for six?), but glad to have it back. This show is pure genius. And it doesn't hurt that it has fantastic music either. One of my favorite interviews I ever conducted was with the show's music supervisior Gary Calamar last summer, during season 4. You can read the entire interview here (page 6-7). The following is a snipit for your viewing pleasure:

Deep within the likes of reality TV and overdramatic, well dramas, lays a network that aims to create something different for the regular TV viewer. Sunday nights brought you into the New York sex lives of four women, or into a mob family’s dinner, or into the mind of the hilariously OCD Seinfeld creator, Larry David (to name a few). But there is one show that for the past four seasons has really captivated me on so many different levels. The show is based around a family owned funeral parlor and looks upon death and life in an honest light. The show has its own odd balls; creator Alan Ball was of course the director of American Beauty. From the cinematography to the acting, and right down the music, every little piece of this show fits together perfectly to create The Fisher family. In a recent episode, the family stood around watching the remains of their garage sale burn up in a bonfire. The character Claire (Lauren Amrbose) ran up to her room, pointed her stereo out the window, and put on Radiohead’s “Lucky.” It’s moments like those that really make me sit back in awe. The perfection of each song in every scene, and not to mention the great artists that are featured is the genius of Gary Calamar and Thomas Golubic of Super Music Vision. I had the pleasure of speaking to Calamar about his work on the show, as well as the influence TV and movies can have on artists struggling to be heard.

When you go about choosing a song, is it more what fits with the image on the screen or the emotions of the character, or a little bit of both?
Little bit of both, certainly Claire has a certain type of music that she’ll be listening to, opposed to Ruth, so we have a certain idea of the personality of the character and what they’ll be listening to. Then you look at the scene and engage the emotion of the scene, and find something that works for both parts.

The scene in “The Terror Starts at Home,” where they sing the Death Cab for a Cutie song, “Transatlanticism.” Was that your idea?
It was a collaborative effort; initially that song was pitched by a writer for a different episode. It was in the script for the first episode of the season, and everyone was optimistic that it would work, but it ended up not. We all knew we liked that song, but we didn’t know what we would do with it. I forget who exactly came up with it, I think it was a writer, but it worked perfectly in that scene with Claire and her friends.

How do you feel about movies and television being a new outlet for lesser known bands to get heard?
I think it’s great. I think it’s terrific. The radio station I work for is a public radio station, and it’s a very similar philosophy to what we put in the episodes. A lot of indie record labels, artists who are not even signed yet. There are a lot of people out there are music lovers and are hungry enough to go find what’s out there, music that is new and interesting. Generally we will find things before the major labels will. We’ll read up in music magazines, and I’m sure like you and your readers, you know that there is a lot of great music out there that never sees the light of day. We are happy we can expose that.

Did you have anything to do with the commercial that aired before this season began, featuring Nina Simones’ “Feelin Good”? That was such an amazing ad.
Not to toot my own horn, but yes it was my idea. I loved that song for many years, and I banked in the back of my mind. I thought it would be great for this season’s promo; we worked on many of HBO’s promos. We had a phone meeting with five or six of us, and discussed many of the concepts in the song, new beginning, etc. Our fellow producers said the song was okay, but wanted to know what else we had. We must have gone through 300 songs, a lot of them were good, but they kept wanting more, and no one was agreeing. We eventually went back my original pitch, and I have gotten so many emails about that song.


Last night's Six Feet Under featured: The Doves, Bebel Gilberto, Thievery Corporation, Wilco, and more.

Six Feet Under, Volume 2 comes out June 28,2005. Get the track listing and pre-order here. Chris has the exclusive (and fantastic) Arcade Fire track here.

3 Comments:

Chris said...

hey rachael, thanks for the link...man i missed it last night! :( i was watching the basketball game and completely forgot about it...how was it?

Rachael said...

sad, happy, funny, fucked up...you know, the usual. but i did find it intriguing, you sort of saw how everything is going to play out, but you know it won't happen the way you think it will be. it's bringing back a lot from the first season, at least that's what it felt like for me. they keep saying "everything must end" so that scares me a bit, but i don't know...we'll have to wait and see.

i think i think too much about this show, and i think i need to see this episode again. ;)

gushingmuchgrrl said...

Hands down, one of the best shows on television ever. PERIOD! I mean, Exclamation point!

There have actually been episodes over the years when my hubby and I could not even speak afterwards because it was so intense and we were both choking back tears and shock. For example, when Nate buried Lisa under the tree, when Michael was car jacked and the guy almost killed him. Oh man, just thinking about it gets me choked up.

I am single handedly trying to convince all my friends who have not seen this show to tune in, as I am convinced that they are missing out on what's got to be the best, most true to life drama I've ever seen.

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