Nathan Barr Interview: ‘The Americans’ composer
“It’s very emotional,” admits composer Nathan Barr about scoring the final episodes of “The Americans.” The FX series about two Russian spies (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell) posing as American couple Philip and Elizabeth Jennings while the Cold War is coming to an end with its current sixth season. The veteran tunesmith had a tough time “saying goodbye to these people — fictional or not — who I’ve spent a lot of time with over the past six years. It’s very sad to see it end.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Barr above.
For the final season, Barr’s main objective was “maintaining the thread that we’ve created from the beginning. I don’t think we needed to do anything too differently, even though things are changing rapidly in these characters as we wrap up for this amazing finale.” Although he and creator Joseph Weisberg “had talked about changing the sound from season to season a little bit,” for the finale they wanted to “get to the essence of what ‘The Americans’ is, what that sound is, who these characters are, where they’re headed,” and to “let the music help that journey.”
Barr received an Emmy nomination in the show’s first season for Best Main Title Theme (2013). The same year he was also recognized in that category for “Hemlock Grove.” His music can also be heard in such shows as “True Blood,” “The Son,” and “Sneaky Pete,” as well as the films “Cabin Fever” (2002), “Hostel” (2005), “The Last Exorcism” (2010), “The Big Wedding” (2013) and “Flatliners” (2017).
“The Americans” has won two Emmys for Margo Martindale (Best Drama Guest Actress, 2015 and 2016). It also contended for Best Drama Series in 2016, while Rhys and Russell have competed for Best Drama Actor and Actress in 2016 and 2017.