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Soundtracks: Music without Borders

ABOUT THE THEME MUSIC

Of Monsters and Men, "Little Talks"

Any good theme song and title sequence should immediately set the mood and establish the identity of a television series. Just think of the classic openings to "The Sopranos" or "Mad Men."

We started with a wonderful animated title sequence created for us by The Ebeling Group in New York. We worked closely with TEG to develop storyboards and produce an opening scene that captures our Sound Tracks spirit. It has the feel of adventure that we wanted. It's cool, global and playful. The trick was finding music to match. For our pilot episode in 2010 we went with Vampire Weekend performing their song, "A-Punk," and it worked like a charm.

This time around we wanted to try something different. We considered music we'd used in various promos and trailers for our series, including songs by Florence and the Machine, Coldplay, Amadou & Mariam, Manu Chao, the Beatles, and the old R&B song by the Staple Singers, "I'll Take You There." Then we tried a new song, "Little Talks," by a young band from Iceland, Of Monsters and Men, and it clicked immediately.

You've probably heard "Little Talks" by now. It was a summer download and radio hit in 2012 and a breakthrough song for Of Monsters and Men. But each time we hear it, "Little Talks" sounds fresh. It's got bounce and quirky energy and that catchy chorus of "heys!" "Honest music," the band calls it. No artificial ingredients. Not only did we make "Little Talks" our show's opening theme song, we also asked the band to play it and another song, "Dirty Paws," for our online series, "Quick Hits." As a bonus, they performed a third song for us, "Mountain Sound," which became the "global hit" in this episode of Sound Tracks.

Of Monsters and Men members are:
Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, vocals, guitar
Ragnar "Raggi" Þórhallsson, vocals, guitar
Brynjar Leifsson, guitar
Arnar Rðsenkranz Hilmarsson, drums
Árni Guöjónsson, accordion
Kristján Páll Kristjánsson, bass
Ragnhildur Gunnarsdottir, trumpet, on their 2012 tour

Piers Faccini, "1,000 Miles"

We also needed music to play over our credits and to use as a bridge between our stories. For that we turned to Piers Faccini, who has composed music for the BBC and Channel 4 in the UK. You may also have heard his haunting song, "A Storm is Going to Come," featured on an episode of "Grey's Anatomy."

The son of an Italian father and English mother, Piers now lives with his family in southern France. He records for a company in Paris, but he sings in English. We'd heard and admired his album, "Two Grains of Sand," and pointed to one song in particular, "Your Name No More," that suggested the kind of music we were looking for. Working out of his home studio, Piers composed and recorded just the song we needed. It's called "1,000 Miles." You can listen here to the full song.

His line about "a pair of shoes for every man" is appropriately egalitarian and goes perfectly with our signature image of wandering footsteps walking across our Sound Tracks title. And there's a driving, moody quality to the whole song that we like.

Hooked on Pier's music, we caught up with him in 2011 when he was on tour in San Francisco, after the release of his album, "My Wilderness." We arranged to film one of our "Quick Hits" sessions with him. He sat down for an interview with Sound Tracks reporter Mirissa Neff and performed three songs for us, which you can watch on the PBS Arts web site.

Here are the lyrics to "1,000 Miles"

There's always someone far away
Feet pounding out on the clay
There's always someone to hear me say
Too close now to get away

Miles and miles and miles of track
Keep the songs keep coming back
Miles and miles and miles of track
Cut the song, cut to the wax

Kinshasa is a thousand miles
Sao Paulo is a thousands miles
Abidjan is a thousand miles
Sarajevo is a thousand miles

It takes an ocean to see the land
Footprints everywhere we stand
It takes a lifetime to play one hand
A pair of shoes for every man

Miles and miles and miles of track
Keep the songs keep coming back
(repeat)

Kingston is a thousand miles
Bombay is a thousand miles
Marrakech is a thousand miles
Beirut is a thousand miles

Bridgetown is a thousand miles
Marseilles is a thousand miles
New Orleans is a thousand miles
Cape Town is a thousand miles

It takes a lifetime to play one hand
A pair of shoes for every man
A pair of shoes for every man
A pair of shoes for every man

Playlist: Pilot Episode

Quick Hits

LINKS