Loki Composer Natalie Holt On Tailoring A Score To The Chaotic Nature Of Loki

For Loki, composer Natalie Holt knew that there were two tracks that were essential to the score. After creating themes for Loki and the TVA, Holt found her score easily branching out to create themes for the other characters as well.

Loki takes place after Avengers: Endgame, when the god of mischief escapes and creates a parallel universe that alerts the Time Variance Authority, or TVA. When given a choice between helping the TVA or meeting his demise, Loki sets off on a time-traveling thriller in search of a much greater threat.

Holt worked closely with director Kate Herron on figuring out what instruments and musical styles would work for a character like Loki. When the pandemic shutdown production, she was given more time to experiment which led to a varied score that perfectly captures the chaotic nature of Loki.

DEADLINE: What did director Kate Herron have in mind for the score?

NATALIE HOLT: She wanted it to be more electronic, but it ended up being more orchestral than she thought it would be. We both had this idea of the theremin, for some reason we’d both been listening to that instrument, and we connected on a lot of analog sounds. I had this reference of A Clockwork Orange in my head because I felt a connection between that protagonist and Loki in a weird way. They are both sort of mad, evil villains that you end up feeling sympathy for, and then the composer Wendy Carlos sprung into my mind because the way I heard the classical music in Clockwork Orange had a huge impact on me when I was in my formative years. So, that was an inspiration and one of my references as well.

DEADLINE: How did you tailor the score to fit a chaotic character like Loki?

HOLT: The thing is, I had a lot of time because it was lockdown and we kind of got shut down. So, I ended up with a year on the project, which is more than you’d usually get on a TV series. So, that just meant we could do things like take the Loki theme and do a kind of jazz version of it, or a Samba version of it, or a rock version of it… We just played around with different genres, to really tailor it to the chaotic nature of the show. It felt like you could really go to town on doing something new for each episode in a way, but still keep the theme consistent so that people come away from the show and hear that title track kick in and just feel like, “that’s it.” I also wanted to have these two pillars of the series, which was this title theme and the TVA, which is Kang’s theme. Those were the two things that I created first, and then all the other character’s themes branched out from there.

DEADLINE: The TVA theme has a lot of those clock ticking sounds, how do you incorporate that into the score?

HOLT: I find it’s a trope. You quite often watch a tense drama scene and you hear a sort of ticking, to kind of enhance the pressure of a scene. I think it’s a device that’s used a fair amount in TV,  so I definitely wanted to play around more with that in giving a sense of time but I didn’t want it to be used in a linear way. So, I ran samples of clocks, different types like grandfather clocks and stopwatches, from recordings through an analog tape machine, which gave it a kind of faded quality. Then, because the tape machine was a bit broken, they sort of stopped and started and they it wasn’t a consistent ticking. It was sort of a flavor of time rather than a device of tension as it’s often used.

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