Mark Isham and Isabella Summers on “Little Fires Everywhere”‘s Music

Mark Isham Isabella Summers Little Fires Everywhere Mark Isham and Isabella Summers

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.

Hulu’s intense, melodramatic miniseries Little Fires Everywhere aired its finale earlier this week, capping off the intense tale of the Richardson family (led by an impulsive, blinkered matriarch played to a terrifying tee by Reese Witherspoon) and the ways they intersect with the impoverished Warren family (including a powerful Kerry Washington) in the sleepy suburb of Shaker Heights in the ’90s. There were confessions, screaming matches, and Witherspoon delivering one of television’s greatest shrieks.

Based on the novel by Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere feels very much in tune with the kind of intense family dramas we can expect of this era of prestige TV — slick, intense, and emotionally complex. Elena and Mia’s battle of wills crosses lines of wealth, race, and privilege, creating a nasty little war amid the ostensible bliss of suburbia.

But underpinning all of the difficult racial and class dynamics on which the drama hangs is its score, a novel collaboration between veteran film composer Mark Isham and Florence and the Machine producer/keyboardist Isabella Summers. Between its main title tune (a baroque combination of crashing percussion, driving strings and a chutes-and-ladders piano riff underpinning it) and the tailor-made covers of ’90s songs sung by up and coming vocalists handpicked by Summers, it’s a surprising sonic landscape that pulls the viewer into the emotional reality of the show’s gripping histrionics.

Isham and Summers sat down with The Spool to chat about their collaboration on Little Fires Everywhere, the long and winding road to finding the show’s sound, and how two musicians with backgrounds in pop music found a singular groove of their own. Listen to our podcast interview above, and listen to the Little Fires Everywhere score on Spotify below.

(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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