Jeff Russo on Crafting the Sounds of “Star Trek: Picard”

Jeff Russo Star Trek Picard Jeff Russo

Welcome back to More of a Comment, Really…, a weekly interview podcast hosted by Clint Worthington! Every episode will feature interviews with actors, filmmakers, producers, and more, giving you the skinny on the latest films and TV.

It’s hard to find a more prolific genre TV composer than Jeff Russo. The guitarist-turned-composer has made quite a splash in the last five years, chiefly as Noah Hawley’s go-to guy for eerie, experimental scores for shows like Fargo and Legion. But he’s also cut his teeth on sci-fi prestige shows like Altered Carbon and thrillers like Counterpart and The Night Of.

But one of his most unique challenges of late has been crafting the musical voice for CBS All Access’s revitalized vision for the Star Trek franchise, with two seasons of Star Trek: Discovery and now Star Trek: Picard under his belt. While there are moments of bombast and melodicism to be found in the music of both shows (akin to the series’ tradition from composers like Jerry Goldsmith and Michael Giacchino), Russo’s approach for both series is often moodier, more contemplative. Just one listen to Picard‘s opening theme gives you an idea of how much more gentle and intimate his sound can be:

Continuing the musical journeys of Jean-Luc Picard and The Next Generation is no mean feat, but Russo captures the melancholy of its lead character’s old age with the darker, grimmer vision of the Starfleet universe while reviving cues from Next Gen, including Goldsmith’s old theme tune and Jay Chattaway’s “Lullaby #2” from the classic episode “The Inner Light.”

In the wake of Picard‘s first season finale, The Spool sat down for a podcast interview with Russo to discuss his approach to scoring Trek‘s new series, juggling so many projects at once, and the responsibilities that come from being a part of a decades-long musical legacy.

(More of a Comment, Really… is a proud member of the Chicago Podcast Coop. Thanks to Overcast for sponsoring this episode!)

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