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‘Westworld’ Composer Ramin Djawadi Reveals Why Radiohead and Other Rock Bands Are a Perfect Dramatic Fit

Over the course of the season fans have heard renditions of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” and the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black," among others.

Westworld Ed Harris

Clifton Collins Jr. as Lawrence and Ed Harris as the Man in Black.

John P. Johnson/HBO

Ramin Djawadi is best known for creating the dynamic score for HBO’s hit series “Game of Thrones.” His latest television venture is the new drama “Westworld,” based on Michael Crichton’s 1973 sci-fi film, which is giving audiences a lot to talk about. Every week a new piano cover of a famous rock band song is played, which has fans try to figure out what it has to do with the plot.

The German-Iranian composer spoke with Pitchfork about how he crafted the music for the Western-themed show, as well as explained how the rock songs work well with the series. 

“I think it’s a great fit. Like with ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ [by Radiohead] – even if you just take the title — with ‘Westworld,’ what is real? What is not real? You can interpret it in many ways,” the composer expressed.

Over the course of the season we’ve also head renditions of songs like Radiohead’s “No Surprises,” Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun,” the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black,” and the Cure’s “A Forest.”

“What I love about that is it just comes out of nowhere and you don’t expect it at all,” Djawadi told Pitchfork. “You see the settings and the way people are dressed and even though you know it’s robots and it’s all made to be modern entertainment, you would think the people in control would make everything authentic, including whatever is played on that player piano. It would be from that time period. And when it’s not, it’s that subtle reminder that, ‘Wait, there is something not right. This is not real.’ It’s just such a powerful tool that only music can do.”

READ MORE: ‘Westworld’ Episode 8 Photos: Maeve Looks To Change Her Script and Take Control

The composer also stated that the player piano plays a very important role for the series and for his work, “Jonah [Jonathan Nolan] showed me stills of what they were planning on doing with the opening and having this robot assembly take place and actually having the robot playing the piano, and so I knew the whole piece had to be centered around that,” he explained. “Automatically that made it quite different for me – I could go in a totally different direction.”

Adding that the piano is such a minimalistic approach, Djawadi also mentioned that in the show it reiterates they are in the theme park. He also expressed how with the modern songs he hopes audiences will be reminded of other characters in the world.

“Like with ‘Paint It Black,’ you think, ‘Oh, that’s when Hector comes to town and there’s that big shootout,’” he said. “The song just reminds you of it. Everything’s planned out [with the big scenes], including the music. It’s an event.”

READ MORE: ‘Westworld’ Star Sidse Babett Knudsen on the ‘Deliciously Horrible’ Twists of ‘Trompe L’Oeil’

Read his entire interview by clicking here, and listen to a couple of songs from the “Westworld” soundtrack below.

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