Zach Cowie (‘Little America’ music supervisor): ‘We can all dance to the same music’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

“It’s a rare opportunity to work on something that can express your politics,” reveals the “Little America” music supervisor Zach Cowie. In our recent webchat (watch the exclusive video interview above), he continues, “I’m like ‘everyone’s welcome.’ Especially in the time we are living, to contribute to that message artistically. For the title sequences I had the idea for ‘The Rock’ episode to be an international song, but sampled in a big American hip hop track. To me that’s the essence of the show. Hip hop is made in America, but to make it you borrow things from all over the place.”

“Little America” is a new anthology comedy series from Apple TV+. Cowie explains, “There’s eight different episodes, all based off real stories, of people immigrating to America. Every episode you are dealing with a different country of origin and a different time period. It’s a dream job for a music supervisor. I basically got to work on eight movies with totally different sounds.”

Cowie says, “The episode called ‘The Son’ is about a guy from Syria that comes to America. He is gay which is illegal where he has come from. He is coming to America to find total freedom and he is taken to his first gay club. Before I was a music supervisor I’d been a DJ for 20 years, so house music is really big for me. A big thing in the house, disco, underground, loft, club, scene is total unity. So I close that episode with this 12-inch by Aly Us called ‘Follow Me.’ It’s an anthem of equality. If I could seal up the message of this entire series with one song it’s ‘Follow Me.’ We’re all in this together, we can all dance to the same music, we’re all the same.”

He reflects, “My first jobs were at record stores. My whole life, I’ve been learning music and consuming roles. In record stores I have to know enough about everything to be helpful. It’s not just what I’m into. If a customer comes in and likes this type of music, I have to have an answer. At a young age it made me start realizing that there’s something great to be had everywhere. Every kind of music and every time period. I got obsessed with studying and finding it. This led me to go to other countries to do that work as well. I’ve been collecting music from around the world since I was 19. And with DJing a big part is reading the room and figuring out what serves the situation. All those things together are the skill set for music supervision. The story, the script, the characters; I’m serving them. It’s way more of an empathetic decision than ‘welcome to my awesome playlist.’”

Cowie has received an Emmy nomination for his work on “Master of None.” For “Little America” he discloses, “The episode I have chosen for the Emmy submission is ‘The Cowboy.’ Particularly close to my heart is Nigerian music and I also love country music. It was a rare opportunity mix something like the Lijadu Sisters with Waylon Jennings. I’m pretty sure that hadn’t happened before. That’s musical side of the message we are trying get across on the show. It’s all the same stuff man. We’re all the same.”

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