James Levine Q&A: ‘Bloodline’ composer

“The main focus was to create a sense of paranoia and unease,” reveals composer James Levine as we chat via webcam (watch above) about his score for “Bloodline.” This Netflix drama series about a prominent Florida family with buried secrets recently returned for its second season. Detective John Rayburn (Kyle Chandler) is desperate to cover up the truth behind the untimely demise of his brother Danny (Ben Mendelsohn). “The characters, as well as the viewers, can never be safe,” he explains, “because as soon as they get comfortable, there’s a gnawing that’s like, ‘Oh shoot, I’m hiding this secret.’”

Levine, an Emmy nominee for the third season of “American Horror Story,” had previously worked with “Bloodline” creators Glenn Kessler, Todd A. Kessler, and Daniel Zelman on “Damages.” “For multiple reasons, I wasn’t able to do the first season,” he reveals. “I think they wanted me to come in and maybe be a bit darker, and maybe a bit more adventurous with things that they were looking for going into the second season. I think they wanted to change the tone a bit, and make things a bit more suspenseful, and drive things a bit harder.”

To create tension in the music, “I didn’t want to focus on the literal.” Instead, “everything was coming from the place of, what’s happening behind the eyes of this specific character? What’s motivating them? What memory do they have? What is their endgame?”

He readily concedes this was challenging. “A lot of that is done with space,” he says, “and actually not scoring things where you feel like it should be scored, and scoring the opposite,” as well as, “challenging myself to see a scene from various perspectives.”

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UPLOADED Jun 18, 2016 12:39 pm