Animal Kingdom is a show full of tension, suspense, and a sense of rock and roll, and that carries through and is thanks to the music used in the show. As an exclusive, Bleeding Cool is sharing two tracks from the TNT Original Series Soundtrack to the series' first four seasons: "Biking" and "Tank"- from composers Alexis Marsh & Samuel Jones. Jones also offered some commentary on each of the tracks, which can be heard on the original series soundtrack release from WaterTower Music, set to drop this Friday, July 9th.
The first track "Biking" underscores the scene in the first episode where J gets away from the crazy world of the Codys and rides his bike over to his girlfriend's house, clearly taking the scenic route. The score itself is a synth-heavy track with syncopated drum machine beats and a strong house flavor, while still incorporating melodic elements in the form of watery-sounding electric guitar, to match the ocean he rides past.
"'Biking' was the demo we submitted when we auditioned for the show, and has always been a favorite of ours. It seemed to capture the right tonal balance of hardened grit and youthful energy for J's character, and ended up in the pilot episode. In later seasons the character of the score moved away from recognizable synthesizer sounds into a more predominantly guitar-based soundscape, but at this early stage we were still finding our way and threw lots of oddball stuff in the mix. That wobbly digital synth bass and Alexis's alto saxophone did not stay in the palette for long, but we love that they're preserved in the pilot for all time.
Early on in the fourth season (S04E04 "Tank"), a lengthy heist sequence was featured wherein the Cody boys take a giant piece of art that weighs a ton. Of course, this is no easy feat and the music reflects that as it had to maintain suspense for around five minutes.
"'Tank' was a rewrite a day or two before the final mix for episode 4 of season 4. Every season has a few clever heists where the music needs to sustain the suspense for a long time. In this case it was a five minute score piece over the Codys stealing a huge sculpture as it was driven through a neighborhood in the middle of the day – we follow each of the 4 characters as they fulfill their role to distract, delay, steal, clean up, and deliver without a trace of their involvement. There may have been 3 revisions of this before we got approval – we were encouraged to take it further and further, using weirder sounds, harsher distortions, less predictable riffs, and so on until we arrived at the final version."
Be sure to grab your copy of the TNT Original Series Soundtrack for Animal Kingdom from WaterTower Music this Friday (with a look at the complete tracklist below)- and of course, don't miss the premiere of Season 5 of Animal Kingdom on TNT this Sunday night.
"Animal Kingdom": TNT Original Series Soundtrack Tracklist
1. Big Love (Main Title Theme – Atticus Ross & Claudia Sarne)
2. Julia's Room
5. Ms. Anderson
7. New Canticle
8. 3 Of Us, 2 Of You
10. I Forgive You
11. Don't Cry
12. The Family Cut
13. Let Go
16. Into The Black
18. Didn't Think You Had It In You
19. All Points Bulletin
"It's a lot of fun to translate metaphors and adjectives into music. In developing the sound of the Animal Kingdom score, the producers used words like 'muscular,' 'broken glass,' 'jagged,' and our collective favorite 'bilious contempt' – which we still laugh about five years on. Each season we've pushed the score into new areas of what those descriptors could sound like by using pedals, modular synths, or extreme digital manipulations to shape the sound of recorded drums, guitar, and bass," said Marsh & Jones about working on Animal Kingdom.
"The overarching direction has always been to make it unsettling. The essential tension for us is in contrasting how successful the Codys are when they work together with how self-destructive they are when they break off from the family – how they all crave independence at various points, but then make these agonizing choices that only bind them tighter to one another. We have to balance musical elements carefully to avoid sentimentality, convey the seriousness of the situations, but also allow for moments of relief and levity so the pressure doesn't become overwhelming."
Bleeding Cool TV on Instagram: For all of the stuff too random and bizarre to make the site, make sure to follow us on Instagram (with an official launch on June 19): Bleeding Cool TV (@bleedingcooltv).
BCTV Daily Dispatch: For a look at what's going on across the television and streaming landscape, sign up for Bleeding Cool's daily email round-up of the news you need to know here.