Photek Q&A: ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ composer
Grammy-nominated producer Photek welcomed the challenge of composing the score for "How to Get Away with Murder." As he recalls during our recent webcam chat, his original idea — "to have different motifs for different storylines that all converge at the end of the episode" — was scrapped "in favor of serving the picture once we’d all seen what it actually looked like."
“The first idea was very conceptual,” he says, “and what we settled on was telling the story scene-by-scene. Over the next few episodes, after the show got picked up was, themes started to develop and become very obvious to us." He concludes, "I think there ended up being about five or six different genre types for the musical score, depending on what the scenario was.”
He details these various musical cues. “I think sometimes we play quite an obvious hand when needed, and sometimes we rely more on misdirection than anything else." As for the latter, "that’s something that I learned from Pete Nowalk, the show-runner. His way of storytelling will often flashback to something that supposedly happened previously, that turns out to be a lie later on."
Photek readily admits, "As the season went on, I was struggling more and more to keep up with the web of lies that they were weaving with the script." He details the process. "Sometimes I’d score a scene how you’d interpret it as a viewer watching it for the first time, as I often was, and then Pete would say to me, ‘No, no, we need to spin this in a different direction. You know what’s going to happen ultimately from this scene, but we actually want to misdirect people at this point.’”
Photek, who has reaped three Grammy nominations for his production work on tunes by Daft Punk, Moby and Bob Marley, is on the lookout for his first Emmy nomination.