Westworld Composer Ramin Djawadi on Creating the Series’ Distinctive Sound

And the subtext hidden in the tracks

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It started with the otherworldly opening credits and then was solidified shortly after by an explosive western shoot-out (accompanied with The Rolling Stone’s “Paint It, Black” on a player piano) – Ramin Djawadi made his masterful musical mark on Westworld.

Wired spoke to Djawadi about this unique sound and what the well-known tracks attribute to the characters in Westworld.

To better differentiate the Wild, Wild West and futuristic control deck, Djawadi would use the same songs in both worlds but change the instrumentals.

We wanted the control room to still feel Western, to be gritty and tough, like in the park, but, visually, they’re very different, and you can support the separation between the two worlds sonically.

By playing tunes we’re already familiar with on the player piano, the composer had a newfound freedom to create his own Westworld subtext.

It’s been an amazing tool to seamlessly blend the background score into source music, as a subtle way of reminding the audience that everything in there is programmed. Everything is on a time loop.

His musical commentary on authenticity is exceedingly revealing of the hosts and adds value to the major theme in season one.

That’s the twist. In the show, everything is so real, until you look closely. The music is a subtle layer of that.

A prime example of this exemplary blend of music and subtext is through Maeve’s journey of self-awareness and control. Her devastation when she uncovers the truth of her false world to Radiohead’s “Motion Picture Soundtrack” is equally heart-shattering for viewers when set to such a tune. When she regains her senses and takes control of her situation, the soundtrack fittingly shifts to Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black.”

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She’s making an active decision of breaking this time loop, and we actively picked a different song. It shows she’s heading away from the repetition.

Djawadi further describes the rewards and challenges of using a player piano with Wired, and the full first season soundtrack for Westworld is available now!

Have you been listening to the soundtrack? What are your favorites? Let us know in the comments!

3 responses to “Westworld Composer Ramin Djawadi on Creating the Series’ Distinctive Sound”

  1. I almost missed some of the plot points throughout the series because of the time I spent in my head going “I know this song, I KNOW I know this song…” then when the final Radiohead track was playing in the last episode I was so excited I clocked it straight away, at the same time realising what was about to happen in the scene, I might have squeaked a bit…

    The soundtrack has been one of the (many) peaks of Westworld, as was Ramin’s work with GoT. Many more awards heading his way I’m sure.

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  2. Emmy for Ramin!

    I’ve been listening to the soundtrack since it came out. My favorite track is Violent Delights! Shit hits the fan in that one <3

      Quote  Reply

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