Every time Alex Kane saves the day on NBC’s The Player, he’s doing it with the backing of a dramatic underscore composed by Dominic Lewis. Strike Back Examiner spoke to Dominic last week to discuss how he creates the music that’s made The Player not just a great watch, but also a great listen.
The score went through some evolution before it became the sound that we know today. “There was a big push from the studio and from the guys involved at Sony,” he told us. “They really wanted to keep it new and I kept hearing the phrase, it needs to be Vegas 1970. Originally we had a talk and they wanted to have a retro effect of Vegas. Kind of Sinatra filled, big bands, screaming trumpets but mixed with the new Vegas.
“Eventually the Sinatra thing went out the window; it was part of a whole exploring thing that I did but it wasn’t really working,” Dominic continued. “In the end we went down the pretty hardcore EDM route. In the pilot, I think there were some violins and stuff. Then we decided let’s just keep this electronic and driving and cool, because the show is so high octane an adrenaline rush. The music needs to match that, and what a better way to do it than club music?”
Composing for The Player has been a pleasant departure for Dominic, who has worked in animation and is also the artist of record on Amazon Studios’ upcoming alternate-history drama The Man in the High Castle (from Strike Back producer Frank Spotnitz). Part of that includes having to mesh the music with the big sounds of the series – gun battles, helicopters, and all the adventure.
“In terms of sonically, you have to do more in figuring out what’s going to come through,” he said of how he fits the two together. “Especially on most people’s TV’s, they have very poor sound and you need to figure out what’s going to help this action sequence. Not just musically and story-wise but sonically, how am I going to get through all this stuff in order to heighten the scene?
“So with the helicopter [in “L.A. Takedown”], it was a lot of really aggressive electronic sounds,” Dominic explained, “which is why the choice to go down this electronic route was such a good one – because there’s so many explosions and sound effect noises going on that it was kind of the only way we could go to make it work really.”
While there are no current plans for the music from The Player to be released as an album, audiences can enjoy it every week as it continues to help bring to life every episode. Next time you’re watching one of the show’s fantastic action sequences, listen closely and you’ll hear something special underneath it, too.
The Player airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.