Este Haim and Chris Stracey interview: ‘Maid’ composers
“When I got the call — or the ask at least — to compose for ‘Maid,’ I’m self-aware enough to know where my strengths and weaknesses are, and I knew that I needed a collaborator to help me on this composing journey,” says Este Haim about the opportunity to create the score for the Netflix limited series. This was her first composing gig for film or TV, so she reached out to her friend Tobias Jesso Jr., a Canadian recording artist, who connected her with another musician and first-time TV composer, Australian Chris Stracey. “If Tobias loved Stray, I knew I was going to love Stray.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Haim and Stracey above.
Inspired by Stephanie Land‘s memoir “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive,” the series tells the story of a young woman, Alex (Margaret Qualley), stuck in a cycle of domestic abuse and poverty as she struggles to make ends meet for herself and her young daughter. “I happened to relate to it on a personal level, on a deep level,” Haim reveals. “The emotional stuff that she was going through was triggering for me at times. So yeah, we try to bring the emotion, I guess is what I’m trying to say. But we also didn’t want to add heaviness to it either.”
Stracey adds, “Through the depression and the anxiety and the whole world coming down on you, Alex also has a real determination.” That’s reflected in, “for instance, the driving theme,” which is one of the “moments of musical momentum that kind of propel it forward” to reflect Alex’s resilience. Also, “with Alex there’s a lot of guitar — baritone guitar, but then when she goes into the shelter, that turns into acoustic guitar that has like a real softness and tenderness because we played it with a paintbrush … Having those familiar instruments of guitar, then juxtaposed with those microtonal, pitch-bendy things when things are getting a little uncomfortable, a little anxious, I think that really helped us.”