'It ended up being the soundtrack to Sara's womb' | Directors The Blaine Brothers on creating the score for Out Of Her Mind © Stolen Picture / BBC

'It ended up being the soundtrack to Sara's womb'

Directors The Blaine Brothers on creating the score for Out Of Her Mind

As the first season of Sara Pascoe’s BBC Two comedy Out Of Her Mind comes to an end next week, the show’s directors, The Blaine Brothers Ben and Chris, below, talk about how they put together the idiosyncratic soundtrack for the series.  Listen to the tracks they are talking about on this Spotify playlist.


Blaine Brothers

It was clear from the off that the incredible multi-layered multicoloured universe Sara was writing needed a very special soundtrack. Fittingly for a TV show that operates simultaneously in at least two different realities, we ended up bringing together two brilliant and wonderfully different composers.

In our heads, the soundtrack is split between songs and score.

The songs were written in Hong Kong by Emmy The Great, who had worked with Sara before on her theatrical adaptation of Pride And Prejudice. For the score we turned to Graham Reynolds, a Texas-based composer we’d met smashing a piano at the SXSW festival, who is perhaps best known for his work with Richard Linklater on films such as A Scanner Darkly and Before Midnight. 

Of course, the boundaries between what was a song and what was score do get kinda blurry, and not just because none of us shared a time zone...

OUT OF HER MIND TITLE THEME

‘A mariachi band walk through from the next carriage playing an upbeat tempo (i.e. like Lizzo’s Boys). SARA glares at the band furiously but can’t stop her toes tapping and her booty wiggling along…’

…is how Sara described it in the script. It’s a glorious, curious, impossible idea but one that you desperately want to make somehow real.  So it was utterly thrilling when Graham threw most of his budget at hiring real life Mariachi players.

It’s a long way from Lizzo but perfectly captures the energy and mood Sara wrote. It’s a joyful celebration but glints with a seam of the melancholy that runs through the comedy of the show.

PERSONAL ZUMBA

Two realities, two composers, two Zumba teachers. This is Emmy’s sublime Depeche Mode infused music for Craig, the ex who broke Sara’s heart before finding both Zumba and God.

‘See the way I move my crotch, count it on your Apple Watch’ might be the best individual lyric Emmy has written for the show.

It’s a sexy fitness machine anthem to self-love featuring guest vocals from Zachery Stephenson, once the lead singer of Special Needs, a band we will always hold dear to our hearts.

ANGRY THEME

Graham loves to improvise on unusual percussive instruments, here beating oil drums with mallets. This seemed perfect for Craig’s rival Zumba teacher, Vanessa, who is unhinged heartbroken rage in lycra.

There’s a lot of mad energy in the show, a lot of chaos and fury, and Vanessa’s Zumba class felt like the source. So we asked Graham for two variations of this theme, one pure Zumba cheese and then a version reimagined as jazz percussion so the energy of that Zumba class could haunt the rest of the series.

WOMB SONG

We wanted to capture the opening of Episode 3 [in which Sara talks/sings about ovulation] in a single shot but didn’t yet have this track, which left a puzzle. We’d start the take with music in the same tempo, so Sara could dance to the right rhythm. But we needed her dialogue clean, so after a couple of bars she had to dance in silence, breaking into song when it felt right in her head. Then Emmy had to compose the song Sara had imagined she was dancing to, hitting the vocal wherever Sara had put it.

The result is this gorgeous piece of Giorgio Moroder style groove that fits that scene like a glove and ended up running across the whole episode as the soundtrack of Sara’s womb.

MAGIC EYE THEME

Though it’s never named as such in dialogue, in the script the unreal non-space where Sara shares her thoughts directly with the audience was called the Magic Eye. It’s one of Sara’s theatrical innovations that has no easy parallel in other TV shows and it was clear that it needed its own theme.

Again we asked Graham to give us variations, to find a melody he could replay in different moods across the series.

This theme opens the first episode as manic circus show, but comes back as the mournful introspective piano that underscores her sadness, as kitsch string swelling romance and even as a floor-filling piece of wedding funk. 

BABY SHOWER PLAYLIST

The script for Episode 3 also called for a nightmarish playlist for a baby shower featuring ‘children’s nursery rhymes to a disco beat’

Emmy’s first offer for this was the astonishingly filthy Lick My Butt, which perfectly captures all the discomfort Sara summons by setting a baby shower in a seedy nightclub. Same is true of the brutal Prodigy-esque Adult Baby, the menacing Horrible Nursery Rhyme and the tripped out Baby Do A Poo Poo.

However, she finds a whole other gear in the tracks It’s 4pm! and It’s Going To Hurt which both present the cold light of day of early motherhood in a way it’s hard to find an equal for in pop music. Toweringly good.

SCAT BASS

This is the music Graham wrote to accompany Lewis’ scat poem in Episode 4. It’s technical and introverted and takes itself deliciously seriously. 

IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU

Emmy’s last song for the show feels like a classic, feels like you knew it already. In the show, Sara had written this beautiful moment of catharsis where she witnesses her family being happy in the way she always wanted.  Again, we decided to get the moment in a single highly choreographed shot, which lit up the moment we put this track beneath it.

One of the beautiful things about Sara’s writing is how all the characters are the main character in their own show all the time - this sequence was all about letting them each getting to share the spotlight and the lyric here is one of the simplest big hearted expressions of love you can imagine.

• The final episode of Out Of Her Mind is on BBC Two at 10pm next Tuesday, but all episodes are already available on iPlayer.

• The Blaine Brothers’ website is here, and Twitter feed here.

Published: 20 Nov 2020

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