June 30, 2022

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Music by ‘The Righteous Gemstone’

5 min read

Beyond the misdeeds and greed of the favorite televangelist family, featured on HBO’s “The Righteous Gemstones,” its music is one of the most recognizable elements of its co-creators’ rude, enlightened, and hilarious series.

Co-produced by Danny McBride, the creator-writer-actor of the other series – the unique musical tone of “The Righteous Gemstones” – including “Eastbound and Down” in 2009 and “Vice Principles” in 2016 – descends into long-standing friendships with college friends. McBride, composer Joseph Stephens and music supervisor Devo Yates.

Where the musical blend of “gemstones” is concerned, they are a truly fresh blend of new or rare sacred songs that are equally bound, closely tied to the secular southern-fried brand of rock, blues, country and soul, with nothing to say about its warmth and sacred Music and fine arrangements.

Orchestrator-composer Stephens often matches the hyperactive tone of the needle-drop synth-wave synth-wave of Yates, which he creates for his own character.

McBride says, “Music and scores are an important part of what we do because our shows tend to jump all over the place, to the tune.”

The score, then, is that viewers need to know that, ‘Yeah, you’re feeling the right thing here. You are allowed to laugh or get scared by it. ‘ Music makes listeners think about what we want them to think about. “

Yeats’s bold spiritual needle drops (such as Johnny Cash’s “Amen”) and Stephens’ most overdrive megaChurch-inspired scores, compositions or classics, such as “Some Broken Hearts Never Mend” by Wayland Holyfield, “The Rhythm” by “The Rhythm”. Sung by first-time vocalist McBride.

“It’s a perfect representation of what we’re doing together with something I didn’t know I could pull off,” he said. It can work there, especially in a different version than you get used to listening to, ”Yates said. . “

“When we started this series, we were all pretty green – lots of needle drops, a real Scorsese-Tarantino method, and according to the score, my songs need to fit into the palette of other tracks used,” says Stephens. “If Yeats sees that a song is too expensive for a license, we’ll take out a song of mine that we can differentiate and use in different ways.”

Regardless of what music Stephens, Yates and McBride have used or what new tracks they have created, everything has to help the jokes work – never feeling clear or ready for comics.

“Our music can feel cool and energetic, or sad and melancholy. It just can’t feel … like we’re doing a comedy.”

McBride, Yates and Stephens, who collaborated on the “Vice Principal,” actively sought something like Synth-Wave and Tangerine Dream. The co-creator had an idea about a military aspect of progress. “Danny had in mind the drum line for the vice principals, something more score-driven than ‘Eastbound,'” Stephens said. “Everything was synth-y, heavy, heavy and promotional with dark, heavy percussion.”

The composer notes that “Vice Principles” was a logical precursor to the music of “The Righteous Gemstones” and its great original score and use of orchestrated moments.

“This second season of‘ Gemstones ’was a bigger, more epic season, so we played into it,” he says. “This feeling of the recent season, which was discussed by the team at the beginning, is somewhat cinematic, operatic and mysterious আলাদা different from our previous series. We wanted to keep the theme of the characters which is repeated through the series. I came up with a unique sound palette, coral stuff that you can combine with church music, but it gave a dark dramatic twist. “

To that end, Stephens says, the score of “Righteous Gemstones” clearly does not have a sacred melody but uses elements that can be found in religious music such as having organs, grand uplifting voice and tubular bell tones.

“We felt that word in our courage,” he says. “We wanted it to feel legitimate, from the Christian Rock handbook and not as if we were joking. It needs to feel sincere and legitimate, never a farce. “McBride added:” We want these scenes to be big and real. It’s something to use and it’s fun to tear up. Stephens added that his goal is to act in the play, not laugh. “We let comedy come out of the irrationality of these characters,” he said.

McBride insists he’s one of those people who, whenever he sees a script with a specific song written on it, it always stops him.

“How do you know that song is going to be the best thing for that moment? It always makes me feel proud, so I think, when I write, I’ll use music to inspire the melody. Before I start a season, I tone , Go to Devoe and Joey to talk about feelings and what I want to do, and they’ll put together a playlist of things that inspire us. That’s what we’re going for, so it influences Joey’s music and orchestration and inspires what Devoe will pick and present to us.

“We don’t get very specific until later. When that vibe matches the picture, we begin to be specific. “Yate and Stephens refer to a good montage and love of accompanying, fast, editing-driven music by McBride, and McBride says: About dealing with wild sensitive characters, so scoring a montage the character is imagining how they see themselves. “

So how does McBride see himself and his old musical friends Stephens and Yates exploding the idea that connects the dots between the sacred and the secular in a new way?

“When we gravitate towards what we want to do in ‘The Righteous Gemstones’, and how we want to do it, ideas that you haven’t seen or heard before may float to the top,” he says. “We all have different tastes, but when we work together, we find a voice that I don’t think will happen to us. It’s the chemistry of the effects of Joey, Divo, me and Jodie that combine to make something. This thing is set in the world of religion and megacharches – places known for these musical numbers. “

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