Tiffany Anders (‘PEN15’ music supervisor) on song choice: ‘The dirtier the better’ to ‘innocence’ with ’emotional heft’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

“The first musical influence that I had when I was about six or seven was the Go-Go’s,” says Tiffany Anders, the music supervisor for Hulu’s comedy series “PEN15” starring Anna Konkle and Maya Erskine. “I put on shows in the backyard of songs that I loved like ‘We Got the Beat’ and I had a dance routine worked out. I made everyone in the apartment building watch me perform and I made my friends join me.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.

When asked which song best describes the relationship between Anna and Maya, Anders points to a song she chose for an episode in Season 1, “You Gotta Be,” by Des’ree. “I feel like that is the backbone song of their friendship because they’re so there for each other, almost on an intuitive level that’s beyond their age. That song perfectly depicts that because it’s an adult song, but it’s saying all the things that are important about their relationship and about friendships.”

Anders laughs when asked about one of the first songs selected for Season 2, “Slob My Knob” by Three 6 Mafia. The rap track is heard as Maya prepares for a pool party and practices kissing in front of the mirror. “Maya and Anna wanted a really dirty hip-hop song in that scene,” she explains. “We had some complications with that. Hip-hop can be very complicated in general, 90’s hip-hop in particular because there were all sorts of sampling issues. So I actually suggested that song and they loved it. My guidance from Maya and Anna was, ‘the dirtier the better.'”

Dramatic elements are ever present in the cringeworthy comedy, and Anders describes that as “a very fine line to walk” when setting the emotional tone for each scene. “It actually was a little hard for me to navigate on the first season,” she explains. “Now I feel like I’m more in a groove. You see how it evolves in this season. They’re going through so much heavy stuff with their families. When they do the play and they’re at the restaurant and Maya’s heart is being broken by Gabe. Using ‘One Fine Day’ (The Chiffons) is a sweet advice song and it’s got an innocence to it with a lot of emotional heft. Choosing things that have this naïve quality but actually carry a lot of emotional weight is something we all discussed together.”

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