Interview with Runaways Composer Siddhartha Khosla
Marvel’s newest show Runaways premieres this week and we sat down to chat exclusively with the show’s composer, Siddhartha Khosla. You may recognize Khosla’s name from the This Is Us credits. He scored Season 1 of the hit NBC drama and is currently scoring Season 2. As for Runaways, this is his first Marvel project.
The Marvel Report: What drew you to the show — were you a comic book fan previously?
Siddhartha Khosla: First and foremost I am a Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage fan. They have done such great work in their careers. I knew that when they were getting involved in a Marvel project it was going to be really cool and have a unique perspective. That’s what initially drew me in. I’ve always been a fan of Marvel comics and films so it’s a dream to work on these kinds of projects. I think that marriage of Stephanie and Josh and Marvel together was such an attractive thing for me. When I met them, they were already fans of my band Goldspot and they had already used some of my songs in their shows like The O.C.
What musical themes will Runaways explore? It looks so fresh, so different, something that Marvel has never done.
When I read the script it informed everything for me. I think Stephanie and Josh also called me to ask about my perspective. We did not want to go orchestral. We wanted it to be a cinematic experience. What I heard was, something using a lot of analog synthesizer. It has this kind of Depeche Mode feel. Very driving. Very thrilling. There’s an alternative coolness to it. It feels both retro and modern. Someone recently compared my score to Blade Runner. I think it will appeal to both older and younger audiences. I’m not a teenager, but I love this show.
That makes me think of Stranger Things, whose score is very analog but it also sounds really modern.
We were really trying to achieve something equally unique and different. The analog adds an interesting tone to the show that people will really gravitate to. Also the songs we put in are so cool. They are songs that I hear and I think, “I wanna go out and buy those songs.”
Are there musical themes for each character on Runaways? Does the music change — for instance — when the show’s villains, The Pride, show up?
Good question. There is a common thread. When I score, I like to score to the big picture of everything. There is a Pride theme for sure. There are themes that relate to the emotional connections of the kids, which is really cool when you hear it. It’s fun to weave that in and out of the episodes.
Did you read any of the Runaways comics or did you just build your music off the show?
I was already familiar with the comics, so this was more a way to pay homage to those characters and storylines. I had that respect going in. At the same time, I wanted to score these episodes like mini-films. Generally the Marvel shows have cinematic, orchestral swells. It’s nice that I came in with an outsiders approach. That’s what’s makes this so interesting. It’s very Marvel but it’s also different at the same time.
That’s true. There’s no “one size fits all” to these comic book shows. Legion is very different than say The Gifted.
I haven’t seen The Gifted yet, but to me, when I watch this show, it plays like a film. It doesn’t feel like a TV show. It has this feeling of something bigger. I’ve seen that in a couple other Marvel projects. We’re in the golden age of television. Audiences are smart, they want to feel like a show is made specifically for them, which it is.
When I first watched the trailer for Runaways it reminded me of the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Is that an accurate comparison?
I don’t feel that Buffy connection. If anything it feels like the Breakfast Club and the Marvel Universe came together for a Hulu series. This show gets really thrilling, really emotional, really dark. It feels very real, if you were living in those worlds. It’s an incredibly elevated piece of art. This show is incredibly diverse and what makes it modern is the casting. It’s reflective of the world we live in today. It’s a very female driven cast, there’s multiple ethnicities represented, and their bond is very special, like kids in the Breakfast Club.
Is there any one scene or musical moment from the pilot you are really excited for people to hear?
I love the main title theme that plays over the credits. It’s very much about the kids of the show. The ending of the pilot is going to be your “Oh my” scene. I remember working on the end of the pilot I was thinking, “Whoa, this is awesome.” The show works the gamut of emotion of love and heartbreak, thrills and horror. I love feeling all those emotions watching something and this show does that so well.
“After discovering their parents are super-villains in disguise, a group of teenagers band together to run away from their homes in order to atone for their parents’ actions and to discover the secrets of their origins.”
Starring Rhenzy Feliz as Alex Wilder, Lyrica Okano as Nico Minoru, Virginia Gardner as Karolina Dean, Ariela Barer as Gert Yorkes, Gregg Sulkin as Chase Stein and Allegra Acosta as Molly Hernandez.
Marvel’s Runaways premieres on Hulu at midnight, November 21st, 2017.
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