Nathan Barr Q&A: ‘The Americans’ composer
“I watch the show as a fan,” admits “The Americans” composer Nathan Barr during our recent webcam chat (watch the exclusive video above). “I try to stay in the moment with whatever episode I’m scoring, and that helps me to remain a fan and not sort of second guess where it’s going.” The FX series stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as Elizabeth and Philip, Soviet spies posing as an American couple during the Cold War. The show has won two Emmys for Margo Martindale in Best Drama Guest Actress and recently contended for Best Drama Series, Best Drama Actor (Rhys), and Best Drama Actress (Russell).
Barr has been with the series since the beginning, and has changed his work to suit the narrative. “As Philip and Elizabeth’s story has moved forward, and they’ve struggled more and more to deal with family, and how to hold their family together… the score has been a big part of that journey, and helping inform that.” While the first season focused mainly on Philip and Elizabeth, as the show progressed, “I found the need to come up with sort of a larger family theme, which played to that story theme.”
Barr received an Emmy nomination in the show’s first season for Best Main Title Theme (2013). That same year, he was recognized in that category as well for his work on “Hemlock Grove.” With “The Americans” slowly approaching its finale, could he be in the running for his first win?