DeVoe Yates interview: ‘Dickinson’ music supervisor

Thank music supervisor DeVoe Yates for the enviable soundtrack that provides “Dickinson” with its anachronistic flourishes and likely has many viewers opening Shazam during the Apple TV+ series. Yates, who started his career working as a music supervisor on David Gordon Green projects like “Prince Avalanche” and “Eastbound and Down,” has worked with showrunner Alena Smith on “Dickinson” since the beginning. (Green himself directed two episodes in Season 1.)

“We knew what the sound was,” Yates tells Gold Derby about how he thought about the music selections going into Season 2. “Alena had talked to me at the end of Season 1 about what Season 2 was about — which gave me a lot of time to focus on the themes.”

During his interview with Gold Derby (watch the exclusive video above), Yates reveals some stories behind the most memorable song selections in Season 2, including the choice to use an original song, “Split the Lark” performed by series star Ella Hunt, during episode 6.

‘That was Alena’s idea. I went to [composers] Ian Hultquist and [Drum & Lace] and presented that to them; I sent them a couple of reference ideas. They took it and ran with it,” Yates explains. “Ella came in and sang it and her voice was insane. She’s done musicals before, but being there in the recording booth with her was crazy. I didn’t have to do anything, she just came in there and killed it.”

Episode 6 ends with a Teenage Head song called “Picture My Face.” The 1978 track is a bit of an anomaly for “Dickinson,” which usually employs current pop artists to enhance its scenes.

“We try and mix it up a little bit so it’s not always exactly what you’d expect,” Yates explains of the pick. “You want people, hopefully, they can experience that song for the first time in that scene, at that moment. So when you think about that song from that point on, you think about that moment and scene and what it means to you.”

“In college, I saw ‘Reservoir Dogs’ and I walked out and all of those songs, I was familiar with. But when I walked out, from that point on — ‘Stuck in the Middle With You,’ you always think about that scene obviously,” Yates adds. “That’s the hope, I think: that you’re presenting music to people for the first time in some ways. Sharing artists and music with people and also elevating that moment … but also when you walk away and listen to the soundtrack, you think about the material.”

“Dickinson” Season 2 is now streaming on Apple TV+ and stars Hailee Steinfeld as the iconic Emily Dickinson.

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UPLOADED May 16, 2021 5:59 pm