Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross won their first Emmy Award Thursday for their work on HBO’s Watchmen, which the duo composed the score for. Reznor and Ross, as well as series creator Damon Lindelof, recently joined Rolling Stone for a lengthy video interview where they broke down some of Watchmen’s musical cues and key scenes.
In this bonus footage from the conversation, Reznor and Ross detail how they crafted the music for the interrogation scene featuring Tim Blake Nelson’s Looking Glass. “We wanted a piece of music that built and changed, I did say that it should feel a little bit funky,” Lindelof said, with Reznor noting that, because of the scene’s length, “they built it to have the legs and stamina for it to last quite a long time.”
“This was all based around a live synth bass that I was playing that Atticus was tweaking, so it was always in motion,” Reznor said. “That scene lasted… I don’t know how long television scenes last, but it seems like a pretty long scene.”
Feeding off the interrogation scene’s music, the duo then segued into the next scene, which featured a similar tempo but with heavily distorted bass and layered guitars. With Reznor on bass and Ross at the computer, the composers replayed the score for the Rolling Stone video. “There’s a kind of sexiness to it,” Ross said. “You know something’s about to go down.”
The musical cues examined in the bonus footage were all taken from the series’ first episode. “As we move on, the show is evolving and the music is evolving, and we were in areas and places where we’ve never, ever been before,” Ross said. “So, although you know when it’s Watchmen or not, the first episode by no means to my mind illustrates the scope of the whole score or the Watchmen story, sonically.”
In addition to the interrogation scene breakdown, Rolling Stone has also honed in on a highlight from the 30-minute conversation that answers one of the series’ glaring unanswered questions: Who was “Lube Man”?