Kris Bowers interview: ‘Bridgerton’ composer
It has been quite the year for Kris Bowers. The Emmy-winning composer earned his first Oscar nomination for his short film “A Concerto Is a Conversation,” and he is the brain behind the music of the hugely popular Netflix period drama “Bridgerton.” In an exclusive chat with Gold Derby (watch the video above), Bowers reflects on the success of the last year, his attempts to process that success creating the music for one of television’s most buzzed about shows.
Bowers admits that he initially struggled to come up with the right sound for “Bridgerton.” Early attempts veered between traditional classical music and remixed hip-hop tracks, but neither worked for the series. Bowers says it was when he heard some Ravel piano pieces as well as some of the reimagined pop songs obtained by music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas that he began to find what he calls the “groove” of the sound he was going for. “To think of it with that as an option really opened up my mind as far as how I could approach it harmonically or melodically, or even how I would orchestrate any of that kind of stuff,” he explains.
Bowers experienced an even more difficult challenge thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. Because of restrictions, musicians had to play their parts in isolation, often recording their tracks at home and sending them to Bowers and his engineer for final assembly. As a result, what sounds like a fifty piece orchestra is really only a group of twelve to fifteen musicians. The result, Bowers says, feels more special. “The music sounds incredible because of the way they’re playing it and the emotion they’re putting into it,” he argues. “I’m incredibly thankful because without musicians, we could have had a score could have been the exact same music, but it wouldn’t have felt the same. It wouldn’t have had this heart to it.”
Bowers admits that even though he is thankful for the success he’s enjoyed in the past year, he hasn’t really been able to take it all in. “I haven’t really had a moment to kind of sit and process it. I’m hoping to sometime soon,” he says. Despite the stress of awards season and his hectic work schedule, Bowers says he welcomes the challenge. “I’ve always felt like anytime I feel complacent or I’m not pushing myself or I feel like I’m doing the same things, that feels more frustrating than anything else for me,” he explains.