Drum and Lace, Ian Hultquist interview: ‘Dickinson’ composers
For the second season of “Dickinson,” composers Drum and Lace and Ian Hultquist were given the opportunity to not just write score accompaniment for the Apple TV+ series but also what might be the key musical moment in the entire series thus far.
In episode 6, as Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) continues to grapple with her feelings on fame as well as her relationship with Sue (Ella Hunt), the famed poet imagines her muse taking the stage during an opera to sing a soaring rendition of the poem “Split the Lark.” Performed by Hunt, the resulting track has more than 200,000 streams on Spotify and countless more on YouTube.
“It took us a minute to find the right direction to take it in,” Hultquist says in a new interview with Gold Derby (watch the exclusive video above). “We had to blend coming out of the opera, ‘La Traviata,’ and it had to feel epic and huge and hit the right emotional moment for Emily’s character.”
“But then it also has to fit in with music supervision, so then we knew the Maggie Rogers track [‘Light On’] was coming up afterward, so how do we stay in a similar palette?” adds Drum and Lace, whose real name is Sofia Hultquist.
In writing what would become the standout track, Sofia says they were inspired by none other than Adele and her James Bond theme “Skyfall,” which won an Oscar for Best Original Song.
“The lyrical content was interesting because I don’t think Emily Dickinson wrote this thinking that somebody would be singing it,” she adds. “And you realize how poetry can lend itself to that. But you also want to respect the cadences of a poem. But then it’s hard to make it into a song. But we’re really happy with how it turned out and the fans seem to love it, so that’s a good response.”
Sofia and Ian have worked together on “Dickinson” since its first season and the composers, who are married in real life, will be back again for Season 3, which is currently in the process of coming together. While they are loathed to reveal too much about what comes next for Emily and her friends, they did allow that the circumstances of the series, especially as it heads into the Civil War, will only darken the mood going forward.
“Without saying anything, the story is going to continue in the direction it’s heading,” Ian says.
“There’s a bit of a time jump, so there are character arcs that need to be developed and they’re getting older,” adds Sofia. “It’s definitely going to be a fun season for us to score. … There’s going to be a lot of new territory for us to figure out.”