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Interview: The Musical Harmony of ‘Daisy Jones and the Six’ with Music Supervisor Frankie Pine

If there is any show this Emmy season that lives and breathes music, it is Daisy Jones and the Six. The Amazon series is a testament to the power of music to elevate storytelling through a cast that became dedicated to creating a more than believable fictional band. A huge part of the musical synchronicity is led by Emmy-nominated music supervisor Frankie Pine, who brings harmony to the layers of music embedded in the series based on the Taylor Jenkins Reid novel of the same name by sharing her insights and challenges that shaped the musical landscape of the series.

In our conversation, we delved into her journey of immersing herself in the 70s LA scene in order to find the right tonal fit for the series in conjunction with its score and original music as Frankie details her meticulous curation of playlists for each actor that helped transport them and the audience to the pulsating heart of 1970s rock ‘n’ roll.

Read our full conversation below.

Welcome to Awards Radar, this is Danny Jarabek. I am delighted to be joined here today by Emmy-nominated music supervisor, Frankie Pine, for the Amazon series Daisy Jones & the Six. Frankie, thank you so much for joining me today. First of all, congratulations on your Emmy nomination!

Frankie: Thank you so much! It’s kind of crazy. I never thought in a million years this would be me.

Well, I am so delighted to talk with you a little bit about it and what went into the making of this show, and everything you contributed to it. First of all, walk us through the nomination. How did you react to it? When did you hear? What was your reaction?

Frankie: I heard it, obviously, that morning, from Stephanie [Pfingsten]. I was driving with all of my kids in the car going to take them to a dentist appointment. So, it was definitely like … what? And my kids were like, “What does this mean, mommy? What does it mean?” It was wonderful. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to hear it firsthand because I knew I was going to be driving them, but I’m so glad I got that call, that’s for sure.

I always love hearing the stories because typically, actually, more often than not, it’s like, “Yeah, I was in the middle of some random activity.”

Frankie: Hello, going to the dentist. Can’t be any more random than that.

Yeah. Well, congratulations. I am so excited to be chatting with you and unpack a little bit of what you did on this show and how we got to this nomination. So, how did you come to this show, Daisy Jones & the Six? It is a fantastic opportunity for a music supervisor, a show about music. How did you get involved? What were some of those early conversations and bringing into the script that you came into?

Frankie: I was brought in by Will Graham, who was one of our executive producers on this. He was an executive producer on Mozart in the Jungle, and he was a big fan of my work on Nashville. So, having that on-camera experience was what kind of got me into the room. Then, I met with Lauren [Neustadter] and Scott [Neustadter], and it was kind of a major love fest. I was the very first person hired. There wasn’t even a real script yet. It was still kind of this manuscript of the book and highlights. I’m so grateful that they brought me on as early as they did because it was such a full-on process of … not only during the writing, helping them find people to interview, just to see what it’s really like, and bringing the list of executive music producers to them and landing on Blake [Mills]. It was an all-immersive where I felt like I was really a part of the overall creative process. For a music supervisor, that’s incredibly rare. Having that, though, has brought us to the position that we’re in today which is just a really kick-ass show with music that looks real and feels real and was able to be pulled off by all of our actors without any tricks of the trade.

That’s really cool, actually, to hear that you were right there from the beginning. This show obviously faced delays, too, so it’s been a long time coming, I’m sure, to reap the rewards of all the hard work that went into this show. So, were you familiar at all with the source material going into this? Did you know Taylor Jenkins Reid and the work at all?

Frankie: I didn’t. I was given the book the moment I got the job and said, “Read the book.” That started all the juices flowing. It was such an incredible book, and I kept thinking, “Holy crap, how are we going to pull this off?” because it’s such an incredible endeavor of not only our actors having to learn this whole new craft of playing music, but they had to sing, they had to look like a 1970s rock band. So, there was so much involved in even just, obviously, the casting. I was a part of the casting. It was my setup of band camp and all of my amazing coaches and musical director that I had on board just to kind of get these actors to the place where they needed to be to feel like a real band. I’ll never forget when I first started band camp, I had said to Amazon, “All I really want from this is to please have them play a show, just one night, at the Troubadour. I want everyone to believe that this is a real band, and somehow, how could I have missed this band from the 70s.” I really wanted everyone to feel that. We’ve done some shows, and they were able to pull it off live. That’s really all I wanted to see them be able to do. Once I knew they could do that, then shooting the stuff was going to be a piece of cake.

Is it typical for you to be joining a project that early in the process and be involved with so many of these other elements, building the characters, building a band in that way? I’m sure this is a special-case scenario. Is there anything you can relate to in that workflow and process?

Frankie: It really does feel like a special case because I was asked, “How long do you want?” Not “need.” “How long do you want to work with the actors?” I said, “I need at least four months.” Typically, in four months – and we were doing it every day – that’s enough time to get into the rhythm and know where your hands go. It may not be perfect, but it was enough to be able to sell it in the show. We got a hell of a lot more time than that. Very, very blessed for that because it really did shine in the end, having that much time. So, now on the next project, I think I’ll ask for more than four months.

Yeah, ask for eight months.

Frankie: Yes, exactly.

So, of course, wholeheartedly, everything about this show lives and breathes music. How did you enter this world of 70s LA rock’n’roll? Was it something that you had done other shows or projects on that were in that atmosphere and environment, or did you just deep dive yourself back into that 70s scene?

Frankie: I totally deep-dived back in. One of the things that I love about this job in general is the research. Looking things up. Really coming up with super creative ideas. I made a playlist for every character and sent those playlists to the actors. I sent it to the producers. Things that would be like, “Oh, Billy would have been influenced by this band because this band was a Midwest band and growing up in Pittsburgh.” I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, so I grew up in the world of WMMS in Cleveland, which was the number one classic rock station in the country. I was very in-depth on knowing that kind of music, but I love digging and finding those little gems of things that didn’t get Top 40 radio played but were bands that were real bands that would have been those influences on these characters. I really feel like it was all a big part of the actors’ process, too. They did all kinds of research. And even during band camp, we would show videos of bands performing just to see if it would even spark an idea of, “Hey, yeah, I think I want to do something like that on the drums,” or have a certain flair or a certain stance with the guitar, just to help them create who Graham was, who Warren was, who Eddie was, who Karen was and Daisy and Billy. And even Nabiyah [Be], like with Simone, really diving into that really early disco sound. We all know disco from Donna Summer, and that really didn’t start happening until ‘77, ‘78, ‘79. This was in 1974. What disco was happening in 1974? So, it was a lot of fun diving into that world and figuring out who those people were and listening to their music.

Yeah, I think that’s a really special thing about this project that you bring up, that collaboration with the actors who have such distinct personalities and distinct styles that they bring to the show and to their roles in particular. You mentioned you created playlists for them. Could you elaborate a little bit on what that was like and getting into the heads of each of these characters and how you worked with them to help them bring it to life?

Frankie: Again, I just did some digging, and I would send them stuff and go, “I want you to listen to this. Check this out. See if there’s anything that you love or that you like.” It was just a basis, also, for their own worlds. I never want to be the person to say that you need to do this, or you need to do that. They are the actor. They are the creative force. I’m just there to provide context and give them, hopefully, a creative spark of something that they’ve heard or that they watched during band camp that made them feel like, “I definitely want to do that,” kind of thing.

Something I’m really curious about is the collaboration with sound and music across different departments because there are so many components of this. There’s the Daisy Jones & the Six original music, there are the existing soundtrack elements, and there’s the composition of the score from Tom Howe involved in this. So, how did you work to help blend all of these different things together because there’s so much good music? The original, the existing, and the score are all compiled together. It kind of sings in this harmony. How did you manage that?

Frankie: I was super excited to bring Tom Howe into our fold. The one thing that I love about him in general in his music is he, especially, say, on Ted Lasso, has this ability to create an incredibly emotional score over something that is a comedy, in a sense. He knows how to pull on your heart. I feel like having someone like Tom on this, and the fact that he also writes songs, he has created rock music, he’s kind of like a jack of all trades to me. I felt like it was important for him to be a part of this and also just to know the ins and outs of where the score was going to come in versus, “Hey, we’re going to take the tail end of this song and we’re going to start the score coming in in the same key of this particular song in order to have that blend work really well.” Regarding the songs, the 70s is such an incredible era of music, not only just rock music, but punk music, easy-listening music, the Barry Manilows of the world, the pop music. We really wanted to show that Daisy Jones & the Six were right in there with every single one of those artists. They would have been on the same Top 40 charts as all of the songs that we used, whether it’s Boston or Ballroom Blitz or Love is a Drug or whatever. We were all on those same charts. I think that we did a really great job in exploring a lot of the different music from that time period.

Absolutely. When you’re starting to put together, whether it’s playlists or you’re starting to develop a vision and a theme for the type of music that you want to include, what’s your process? Are you putting together playlists like I suggested or is there a different type of process involved? What kind of music were you looking for in particular? Were you looking for the big, blockbuster hits or were you looking at some smaller, maybe more under-the-radar tones of music?

Frankie: We were looking for both because we wanted everyone to feel like this band was in the same mix with these other bands, but we also wanted to show that the band themselves were unique band members and listening to stuff that wasn’t maybe necessarily their cup of tea. When they have the party in the hotel room and Camila and Billy decide to go downstairs to Daisy’s hotel room, they’ll listen to funk music. This was a band that was listening to anything and everything. I think one of my all-time favorite uses is when they’re shooting the video of their Christmas. It’s this whole 8mm shot of them having a great time at Christmas. We used a Tammy Wynette song that was a Tammy Wynette Christmas song. That was an album that I listened to every single Christmas of my entire life. The fact that one of the songs got picked and that it worked so well brought so much joy to me that I could even squeeze in a country song into Daisy Jones & the Six, just showing that it was an era of amazing music.

I know something that your department has to deal with when you’re picking and choosing what types of music for what types of scenes is clearance. Were there any challenges you faced in getting the rights to the music you wanted to use? Were there any particular scenes that were difficult to find matches for?

Frankie: The one scene that was the hardest to find was Nicky and Daisy in the hotel room having a blast doing drugs, drinking, you name it. The gamut of every single thing that you just go, “Oh my god, no one’s going to say yes to this.” We actually got denied by ELO. We had an ELO song in there. Then, I started courting Led Zeppelin because I’ve been talking to them, like, “This is an amazing show, Led Zeppelin needs to be a part of it.” They’re iconic of that period. I ended up finding the perfect song and showed it to the band, and they were very open, but then once they saw it they were like, “No, sorry.” They denied us, too. Then, finally, I got to the point where I was just calling people and going, “Who’s going to say yes? Can we get some bands that are going to say yes?” I really found “In the City” by The Jam, and I was really hoping that Paul Weller would say yes, and he did. It works great, and I love it so much, and I’m so glad that we landed there, but that was the toughest scene. Everybody else was pretty like, “Yeah, of course. I definitely want to be in this.” Stevie Nicks or Fleetwood Mac was like, “Yes, let’s do this.” So, I didn’t have a lot of challenges, but that one scene was definitely interesting. Considering the bands back then, that’s what they were doing.

Yeah, it’s funny the idea of these bands saying no to a scene like that when they were probably doing the same thing.

Frankie: I know, right? I know you’re clean now, that’s okay, but…

So, before I let you go as we wrap up on time shortly, what is the order of operations for you? Do you see the experience of putting the music you choose to picture beforehand or is it like you’re seeing it later on how that music ends up fitting into the picture? What is that experience of seeing that final product like?

Frankie: I am a curator upfront, so I frontload my picture editors with, “Hey, here’s all the stuff that I want to see in this show.” As we are going and I’m starting to see cuts and seeing how things are cut in, I will either voice my opinion of, “Look, I’d really love to try something that’s better here,” or “I love this, this is great.” There were plenty of both of those. There were things that I had sent very early on that got cut in and I was like, “Oh my god, this is amazing, I’m so glad you found a spot.” Then, there are other times where it’s like, “You know, I really, really want to experiment and try and find something different here.” There are a lot of people that are involved. It’s Scott, for one thing, who was in the cutting room with the editors the entire time. He’s a huge music fan. Then, I, just kind of load them up with the things that I want to see come to life.

That’s really cool to hear. And come to life it absolutely does because this is a brilliant series, and the music is owed a huge debt to what the show is. I literally was just listening to the soundtrack and Aurora and everything this morning. So, Frankie, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciated getting to hear a little bit more behind the scenes. I don’t know if you’re a Spotify or Apple Music user, but I’m sure whatever you use is a fantastic platform, and I wish I could just be seeing all of those playlists you’re putting together. So, thank you, and congratulations.

Frankie: Thank you so much, Danny. I appreciate it so much.

Absolutely. Have a great rest of your day!

Frankie: All right, you too!


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Written by Danny Jarabek

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