Welcome to Right on Cue, the podcast where we interview film, TV, and video game composers about the origins and nuances of their latest works.
How do you put music to the multiverse? Especially when the multiverse includes sights as strange as rocks with googly eyes, people with hot dog fingers, and heads exploding into glitter? That’s the challenge experimental band Son Lux faced when composing the whirlwind, two-hour score for Daniels‘ latest film, Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Building on the devil-may-care absurdity of their previous works, like the music video for “Turn Down for What?” and 2016’s farting-corpse buddy movie Swiss Army Man, Daniels starts their newest work simply — a middle-aged Chinese immigrant (Michelle Yeoh) stresses about losing her laundromat and pleasing her visiting father. But before long, her distant husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) informs her that he’s from a different universe, and she’s the only person who’s able to stop a chaotic force of destruction from destroying the multiverse as we know it. Kung fu fights, slapstick, and drama-filled confessions follow, spanning a million different genres, modes, and senses of humor.
Keeping up with such whirlwind intensity in the score is no small feat, but it’s one that LA-based experimental trio Son Lux leaned into with aplomb in their first feature film score as a collective. Comprised of founder Ryan Lott and collaborators Ian Chang and Rafiq Bhatia, Lux’s sound to date feels airy, ambient and cosmic, albums like their Tomorrows trilogy already capturing some of the kaleidoscopic grandeur Everything Everywhere needs. And indeed, the score itself matches that dynamism, as zany and nostalgic as it needs to be in the needs of the moment while still maintaining a cohesive throughline.
Now that the film’s been out for a few weeks, I sat down with Son Lux member Rafiq Bhatia to talk about the film’s soundtrack, Daniels’ unusual collaborative processes, and the challenges of building a house around a single chair… metaphorically, of course.
You can find Son Lux at their official website here.
Everything Everywhere All at Once is currently playing in theaters everywhere. You can also listen to the score on your preferred music streaming service courtesy of A24 Music.