‘Lovecraft Country’ Composers Raphael Saadiq & Laura Karpman On Scoring The Series | For The Record

Rob Markman: What’s up Geniuses Welcome back to ‘For The Record.’ I’m your host, Rob Markman Now, HBO’s ‘Lovecraft Country’ follows the story of Atticus Freeman as he searches for his missing father and uncovers the supernatural forces that exist in the world The series, which is set in the 1950s, explores the duality between the horrors of racism and the horrors of literal monsters Rob Markman: It’s visually incredible It’s just an amazing series to watch, but here at Genius, we’re all about the music So we wanted to dive into the creativity behind the show’s score and the amazing team behind the series, how they were able to record during the pandemic, and ultimately just bring this thing to life. Okay? Today we have ‘Lovecraft Country’ composers, the legendary Raphael Saadiq and the legendary Laura Karpman They’re all here to tell us about it Welcome to ‘For The Record.’ Thank you so much for joining us today Laura Karpman: Thank you It’s great to be here Rob Markman: No problem It’s really my pleasure This is an honor for me Let’s just get into it, right? ‘Lovecraft’ is based off of Matt Ruff’s 2016 novel, and part of the excitement of watching our favorite books come to life is definitely the visual component We read things and we see it in our head and you imagine what it looks like, and then to see it on screen is pretty exciting Rob Markman: But the sonic elements that are used to bring the written word to life are crucial as well So I just want to throw this out to both of you When the idea for HBO’s ‘Lovecraft Country’ came to you both, what did you just initially hearing your heads? What were the first sonic ideas that you guys came up with? Laura Karpman: Misha, Misha Green, the showrunner, is a huge music lover and for her music and image are really bound together They’re really a part of her storytelling so she puts a lot of music ideas in the script and then, Ray, we had that first talk with her where she said, “I want Gothic R&B.” So orchestral R&B, and I don’t know It’s funny because in some ways it’s that, in some ways it’s not that, but she’s just somebody who comes at something with tons of ideas and very specific ideas Laura Karpman: I read the book, and the series is like the book and departs from the book, but it definitely creates a world that’s familiar and a world that’s unfamiliar So I think that definitely playing with some of those elements was something that we talked about and figuring out how to do Rob Markman: Ray, since the beginning of your career you’ve been somebody who has pushed the boundaries of what R&B music is, and starting in the early ‘90s, when you did, with Tony! Toni! Toné! the sound, and as it grew, I feel like you’ve dabbled in everything Rob Markman: Gothic R&B sounds like a whole new term to me that I don’t know what that sounds like when you hear that term, did a light bulb go off, or were you like, “Misha, what the hell are you talking about?” Raphael Saadiq: No, I understood it Even from my earlier first records, I think I started playing with analog keyboards and playing string parts that felt like it was kind of scary So even from Little Walter, it’s like, “Da, da, da.” As soon as she said it, knew what she meant, but having Laura as a partner, I’m not going to run from anything and she’s definitely not going to run from anything Raphael Saadiq: We’ve done stuff before and somebody told us to do something like J Dilla and I left the room and came back and Laura was making J Dilla beats So we’re just a team of people that’s always going to just welcome that challenge And when Misha throws out something like R&B orchestra, me and Laura’s going to look at each other and run back to the studio and try to make that happen Raphael Saadiq: And when you’re watching something and you see all these different elements, even, I guess in the beginning, we didn’t really see the monsters. Right? We didn’t see all the animation, but we just went back and said, “Let’s do what we do,” and I’m just fortunate to have a partner, somebody who’s any challenge, she’s ready for it And that’s me, that’s my thing That’s what I do Rob Markman: It’s funny, you mentioned J Dilla, one of just the greatest producers of our time I’m a hip hop baby so, but even his influence transcends that But again, gothic R&B, and this is for Laura and you, Ray, as well Were there any artists that you drew influence from, or did it feel like creating something from scratch without maybe a reference that somebody else had done before, but just coming

from here, from your head? Laura Karpman: Well, there are two things First of all, when I heard that I thought of “Sinner’s Prayer,” which was on Ray’s latest album, and I had done some strings for, because that is dark and has these orchestral sounds in it and really was a direction And then, he sent me, because of course, this whole pandemic has changed everything in terms of collaborations, but he sent me a track and he just said, “This is an idea I have.” Right? Laura Karpman: And I had written something for the Last Cue for the Ardham theme, basically, and threw it out I said, “Oh my God, this is perfect.” And it’s one of the iconic themes of the series And basically I took what he had given me, which is like “Twilight Zone” meets, I don’t know, meets Raphael Saadiq I don’t know, some weird other space Laura Karpman: And then, I put an actual, very classical orchestration on top of it It had a feeling of some of the ‘60s string work, but really more 18th century classical And that, I think, realized the vision of this real synergy between popular music, and Raphael’s sound, and what I do, and the two really melted together Laura Karpman: And they’re these two parts to the theme One is this, “Da, di, di, di doo, di, oh, di, di, di, di, di,” which is a guitar line and there’s the base line that goes, “Doo, di, di, di, di, doo,” right? The tri-tone “Du, di,” right? Right? And in classical music, that interval is called the devil’s interval Laura Karpman: So taking those two elements, which are counterpoint, and then laying stuff on top of them, that one theme informed a ton of, ton of stuff in the whole series I could use a guitar, we could use the bass, all of us took us back to that creepy place, which is Ardham, which is one of the major forces in the series Rob Markman: That’s dope I want to take it back a little bit just for people to understand it And really on this show, we mostly talk to artists about their recorded music, in terms of albums, singles Now, the idea of scoring music for a television show may be foreign to a lot of fans and different, even though it comes probably from the same place in the soul and in the heart, it’s just manifested in a different way So can you just almost in layman terms, Laura, and then Raphael, just describe your title and your role of what exactly you did for the show? Laura Karpman: Okay Well, first of all, the thing about Lovecraft that I think makes it distinct is that it’s 10 movies Every episode is a movie I wish it were a television show I wouldn’t be on the ground, totally exhausted It’s really 10 movies Laura Karpman: So what happens with film scoring, which I’ve done, it’s been my main gig for my life, is that basically you meet with a person in charge, a showrunner, a director, the creative force, and you talk to that person, like we did with Misha, and come up with a general idea of the style of music, what it should sound like Laura Karpman: Generally, people are hired by what they bring to the table I think in our case, obviously Raphael is Raphael, and I’m me, but I bring a lot of orchestral music and a lot of diversity, being that I’ve worked in this field for a long time, and I get the different stylistic things Laura Karpman: So then you sit down with that person and you spot the film, which means you look at literally where music starts and stops That sounds boring, but it’s the most important meeting that you have because where music starts and how it finishes is what gives you the entire emotional life of a score Laura Karpman: So for example, if you have a character and you want to explore an inner feeling of that character that’s not completely obvious, a pain that might be there, but needs to be exploded, that’s a perfect opportunity for music Laura Karpman: Or in the case of Ardham, it’s a place that has a personality, so sometimes it can be a place And so, literally you create a theme for that place, or you create a theme for a family, or a character, or for love, or for anything that just needs to be explored, exploded

It just depends on, on the show Laura Karpman: And so, those spotting sessions are really, really important Then, whether on your own or working with somebody else, you get together, you talk about it, you go back and forth, you create music, then you send it on for approval And in the olden days, pre-pandemic, someone might come to the studio and sit down with you, and you listen together And then, if there’s something that bugs them, you mute it Laura Karpman: But it’s collaborative art Sometimes things fly and sometimes they don’t, and that’s part of being a grownup is you’ve got to just take the notes and use those notes to make it better, or to change it, or to start all over And then, once you get approvals, it goes to the dubbing stage where everything is put together Laura Karpman: So in film, a lot of stuff is done in post-production Ray said, many monsters, I haven’t even seen yet because the visual effects always follow behind But they’ll also put in all kinds of sounds If you don’t understand a line, the actors will loop that line to create it, or they’ll create crowd sounds And so, all of these kinds of things are done in post-production Then those are finally put together with the music, and then the show is ready to be shipped and aired Rob Markman: That’s great And that’s a great explanation because I really want the audience to understand I think a lot of people who come to Genius get inspired by our different series, like ‘Deconstructed,’ which might show how to make a hit record with a producer in the studio Rob Markman: And I think it’s important for these young musicians to know that there’s other avenues to explore your creativity than just recorded music or even just the major label system and the process of making a single and making an album, and stuff like that Rob Markman: Raphael, as somebody who has done both and more, you know what I’m saying? Recorded classics First of all, I just got to say, ‘Instant Vintage’ is one of my favorite albums of all time Raphael Saadiq: Thank you Thank you I appreciate it Rob Markman: Amazing album And you’ve done work obviously in TV and film before What is it like for you recording music versus scoring? Does it come from the same place? Is the approach different? How do you make sense of all that in your head? Raphael Saadiq: For me, the approach is a little different, because it’s an exercise where you have to be a grownup The very second you jump in the room, you notice that it’s a different schedule Sometime people want a “Pink Elephant on a Sunday,” and you have to turn it in And like Laura says, sometime people might not like what you do It’s not that they might not like it, they might have a different choice, and you have to go back to the drawing board a lot and figure things out Raphael Saadiq: So I think it’s a little different, but it’s definitely a natural progression for someone like myself, because musicians in the orchestral world is to me is like the top In jazz and orchestral worlds is always the top I’ve always loved orchestras, strings And films and TV, they need that Raphael Saadiq: So in film, we like to say, when you watch a scary movie and you see the doors close and somebody is about to come in and break in your house and kill you, the thing is, “Can’t you hear the music? Close the window Something is about to happen.” And so for me to get the opportunity to tell people to close the window, or the music is someone’s voice So we have to make the music someone’s … it’s the actual line that’s coming out of your mouth So sometimes we speak for the actors and actresses Raphael Saadiq: So yeah, it’s a lot different than music and writing songs I have to speak for myself and also speak for an audience that’s going to receive the music on radio, and make sure that I’m not whack, and can make sure that you like it, or you give me that time in your life to occupy those three minutes In TV and episodic TV shows, you have to make people not get bored of a scene, which we think is really great My problem is with these shows, like Lovecraft Country’s so good, I forget that I have a job and I end up sitting in front of the computer, watching it like this And then I forget like, oh, you actually have to work And that’s the difference for me Rob Markman: Right It really is a great show And when you think about it, the musical experience and watching film and television sometimes

is very subliminal Sometimes the audience doesn’t even notice or can’t pinpoint what it is, but it’s really the music driving a lot of that emotion or the buildup, or helps you navigate what to expect based off of a mood that’s happening musically A very important job of every amazing art that I’m glad we’re having this conversation Rob Markman: Laura, you had referenced, obviously you guys got to work Like Raphael said, it is a job It is work But then the pandemic came, like everything else, like everybody else, it just changed everything What was going through your mind when you both realized that maybe you couldn’t get together and record the way that you traditionally would, or talk and exchange ideas? What was that process like? How did the pandemic change things for your creative process? Laura Karpman: What was really, it was so weird, because the last time I really went out was for Raphael’s concert, the last concert of his tour, which was February 28th I remember because my birthday is March 1st And so it was kind of like the birthday present And then we had our first spotting session, I think, on the second, or right around that time And I remember I started feeling funny about going out of the house, and I couldn’t quite, like everything was such a mess and things were really happening more in Europe, less so in New York But I had this feeling that things were really going downhill And I shut down my schedule that week Laura Karpman: I had a screening of something I was supposed to go to I was supposed to go teach in San Francisco And I canceled everything And we were supposed to get together that weekend I think both of us, we kept canceling and postponing I mean, it was weird, because I don’t know how much you guys remember of that time, but nobody knew what was going on And you just were going by, I mean, as we still are in many ways, going by instinct Laura Karpman: But I think about two weeks after we had spotted that episode, I started realizing that we were not going to get together And Raphael and I are comfortable trading files back and forth I mean, I love our work when we sit in the same room together and we did a lot on ‘Underground,’ and there’s something so incredible about that and it can’t be matched But there are also times due to schedule due to where everybody is, and he goes out on tour and does his thing that we do work remotely So working remotely for the two of us was not really a problem But we did have a problem, in that Misha Green wanted a big ass orchestra Am I allowed to say that? Rob Markman: Go ahead Yep Big ass orchestra Raphael Saadiq: You said it already Laura Karpman: Big ass orchestra Rob Markman: What better way to describe it Laura Karpman: Yeah Big ass orchestra for “Lovecraft Country.” I mean, also when we talked about film scoring, there’s a temporary score that’s put on the film that helps inform mostly, I mean the music too, but the directors, the producers, studio execs about what’s working and what’s not working, and what’s going on stylistically Well, she had big ass orchestral music in that thing And so I started thinking, what in God’s name are we going to do about this? And then I thought, let’s make an orchestra Laura Karpman: And there’s a very, very, very brilliant engineer that Raphael and I worked with on “Black Nativity” that Kasi Lemmons directed His name’s Brad Handle I called up Brad, and I said, “What if we were to record everybody in their living rooms? How could we do it?” And I said, “My biggest concern is string sound, right?” Because other things, like brass, all of that, you can make an easier blend, but because they’re basically individual instruments, except for the horns, we have four horns But how are you going to get that string sound, that doesn’t sound like just six or eight people, violins playing? And so we really worked together and developed a system Laura Karpman: And what we did is we identified wonderful musicians, and then placed them in their bedrooms So for example, you see where I am and if I were a violinist and I were sitting in a studio, the mic might be there, right? So let’s say I’m first violin, the second violin, it might be there, behind me So we basically placed people in their bedrooms, living rooms, wherever it was that they were going to be recording, and taught them how to use pro tools, how to record, how to make it happen Laura Karpman: And we sent out a test cue, which was the family theme, which you actually hear an episode one And you hear that first time that the family theme occurs, when Atticus is coming through the window, was the very first cue that we recorded in March

That was our test cue And it sounded great I mean, you couldn’t tell And so then we started recording Laura Karpman: And there are certain things in the score that I thought are going to be really hard to pull off And in classical music, we call it aleatoric music, but chance music And when you hear that little la-la-la-la, lots of stuff happening at the same time, and it sounds like a wall of sound, that stuff, when you’re conducting a group, you go like this to the strings, they have this thing notated, then you cut them off, right? But when you got people sitting in their living rooms with no conductor, how are you going to do that? And so I worked with a really, really capable orchestrator And we figured out how to really communicate that in music notation to the players And it just worked We just got super lucky and it all worked Laura Karpman: And the other thing that happened, which I really would love to say was totally by design, because then I would fit into the genius thing that you guys have got going there Rob Markman: You’re a genius You’re in Laura Karpman: I don’t know about that I don’t know about that Maybe I’ll just claim it, hey, this is my idea But no, it didn’t really happen So the show takes place in 1955 And this kind of Gothic aesthetic is not only 18th and 19th century, but it’s also mid 20th century So if you think about film scores from that time, like “The Day The Earth Stood Still,” which is Bernard Hermann, or Jerry Goldsmith “Planet of The Apes,” and those kinds of scores, they use a lot of the same techniques that we used in “Lovecraft.” And what was so radical, which I didn’t expect, is because we were recording everybody close mic’d, it sounded like music of that time So that it was this wacky thing that it wasn’t really by design, but it fits in perfectly with the show And honestly, if there’s a second season, I’m knocking on every possible piece of wood, I still will record this way, because I think it gives the show a unique sound that’s special and differentiates it Rob Markman: Wow So listen, because I’m a firm believer in, and with this pandemic, I don’t think we’re going back to normal I think our normal is going to change Anybody waiting for things to get back to quote unquote normal is probably fooling themselves Laura Karpman: Welcome to the 21st century That’s what I keep saying This is it Rob Markman: Yeah But you’re just saying… go ahead Raphael Saadiq: I think what we figured out through the whole pandemic is some things we don’t need Laura Karpman: Yeah Raphael Saadiq: But nothing’s never going to replace a room full of players in one room That that can never be replaced But what we did and figure out through this is we don’t need a conductor, we all don’t need to be in the same room, and we don’t need to drive from North Hollywood to Santa Monica for a meeting in the worst traffic in LA Rob Markman: Strike that off The next contract is going to be way different X that Laura Karpman: Yep Rob Markman: But it’s interesting though, but there will be a time when we’re able to be together as collaborators But Laura, you’re saying for season two, I saw you knock on wood I firmly believe that season two is coming We’re going to speak it all the way into existence You’d record it the same way, even if we were able to all be together and do it the traditional way? Laura Karpman: We have musicians playing on the score that are with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra We have musicians from Baltimore Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Vancouver Symphony, as well as LA studio people We have people that I’ve wanted to collaborate with who live all over the world, and it’s incredible, and they’re putting their hearts and souls into this And it’s really, yeah, I would do it this way because basically we have … And it’s not that we have the best musicians in the world in LA, but there’s also great musicians other places So that is a very cool thing, too, that we’re able to work with different people in different places and see what they bring to the table that normally on a scoring date we wouldn’t do So it’s very, very cool in that way And like I said, I think that we have the sound The sound is so unique and I like it I think it’s cool And I think it works for the show So why go to something else when it works? I mean, it’s a lot of work, but it works, you know? Rob Markman: And as the audience, we don’t notice it We don’t know how the cake is made You know what I’m saying?

So, no, that’s dope Being as how, Raphael this is for you, “Lovecraft” is set in the 50’s, right? Raphael Saadiq: Yeah Rob Markman: How different is it from scoring a show like Insecure, which you’ve also worked on, which is modern day, like … Just kind of talk about those differences Also, an HBO show which we love, actually an amazing show Raphael Saadiq: Right Rob Markman: The creative differences that go on today when you’re talking about a period piece and something modern day Raphael Saadiq: Well, it’s totally different because “Lovecraft Country” is basically, he likes, like Laura said, it’s built around the ‘50s It’s big horror strings, it’s so many … It’s jazz, it’s sci-fi James Baldwin just breaks out in the middle of a piece So you have so many different things to think about when you hear James Baldwin And when I heard James Baldwin’s voice, it just made me feel like, okay, I really have to step up my work But with ‘Insecure,’ it’s a little different too It’s a little different type of freedom, which I really love because Issa Rae and Keira Lemon, they sort of like picking the needle drop music, and it’s more West Coast hip hop with a little bit of East Coast hip hop And so a lot of times I get a lot of chances to make beats and I get to make records I sing Sometimes I’ll make about five records in each episode So people are getting random tracks from me So, ‘Insecure’ is my, it’s sort of, it’s a lot of work Raphael Saadiq: It’s not easy because of Issa Rae will be sometimes, “We can do better than that” And then I’ll have to make a record that’s similar to that So it’s different in that way But Misha and Issa Rae have some small things that remind me of each other The way we sit in spotting dates Spotting dates, which Laura was talking about, when you sit in a room and watch each episode I can see the intensity of both Misha and Issa, Issa Rae, how I see some similar things, which makes you be in these meetings and run out the room and figure it out What can you do to make this more impactful for the viewers and for myself and for the show Rob Markman: That’s amazing That must be an incredible challenge I can’t imagine Look, I’m a fan We see the finished product I can’t imagine somebody telling Raphael Saadiq, “You could do that better.” Raphael Saadiq: Oh yeah Oh yeah I think it’s the best thing ever for me Even though I’m an artist, I always wanted to be a person that was a utility guy, who can work in every capacity Once I got into the music industry I just said, “I want to be that person on the basketball court where, don’t leave me alone with the ball because I’m going to make the shot.” So I didn’t want to be in the music industry and say, I can’t score, I can’t write for another artist, I can’t produce because, to be honest, to be in this business, to make money, you got to be able to do everything You just can’t be a person that … Now nobody can go on tour, and I could stay at home and do film and TV, and when tours open back up I can do that, and when somebody wants to do a track, I could produce Raphael Saadiq: I just love everything about music and I just think the whole dealing with different shows, and even like with Laura, I call Laura the professor because she taught at Juilliard and I didn’t get a chance to go to Juilliard, and some great musicians went to Juilliard and Berkeley I didn’t do any of that At 18 I was on tour with Sheila and Prince I was gone There was no going to school for college, for music My college was in Oakland, East Oakland, where I played in every club, every church, everything So me preparing myself to score and the first person I actually worked with was John Singleton He’s the person who got me into scoring because he said, “Oh, you should score, man You should score.” Raphael Saadiq: But I thought at that time I was too young to score I felt like I needed to be a little older, get a little bit more seasoned And then when I really start scoring, the first person I scored with was Ms. Karpman, Laura Karpman Laura Karpman: Doctor Raphael Saadiq: Dr. Laura Karpman Big Mercedes Benz, big Oscars She’s the Oscar … What do you do for the Oscars? Laura Karpman: Oh, I’m a governor at the Academy Raphael Saadiq: Governor of the Academy This is my professor So I get to be next to her and her lovely wife Nora is like my heart So, with those people around me it’s the best position for me to be in in the beginning when I started really scoring, I like to say

Laura Karpman: You know, it’s funny Two things I want to say, first of all, Raphael calls me his professor, but he’s really mine because I’ve learned so much from him after spending a lifetime in music and studying and doing all those things Because, I mean, Raphael is such a unique artist, but he does things in a very specific way And for me to work with him, I’ve had to break down and understand how he does things from kind of an analytical standpoint, just because that’s the way I work And the guy’s off the chain brilliant And what his … Working with him and his sense of timing and also his sense of making an instrument sing, like really creating through playing, has been really wildly educational for me I’ve learned a lot in the years that we’ve been working together Laura Karpman: The other thing I wanted to say is, I think what’s really important to know about scoring in general is when you’re working with smart people like Misha Green, when she tells you to do something again, it’s because you need to do it again It’s not because it’s not good, it’s because it’s not working for her in the project that she knows way better than you do It doesn’t matter how many times you look at it or you read the book, you read the script, whatever She knows She wrote it She conceived of it It’s her … It’s like, Raphael makes an album, he knows that album People who come in and work on it, work through his vision, right? And through his authorship And that’s what happens when you work with Misha and I’m sure it’s the same thing with ‘Insecure,’ where you’re working with these incredible people who have a real vision of what their work is and it’s your job to augment that And so when they ask you to do something, when they’re good, I have no problem with it I have no problem with one note that I’ve ever gotten from Misha Not one Rob Markman: That’s amazing I want to go back as we start to wind down And get into the series a little bit Because we talked about, obviously, each character has their own story Each character has their own place and their own mood So when we talk about ‘Lovecraft,’ how do you take that in consideration? Let’s say for scoring scenes like with Atticus versus scenes with Leti, versus scenes with Christina Braithwhite There’s a different mindset, there’s a different mood that goes into each one, right? Laura Karpman: Right There is I mean, I think first of all, there are all these themes that basically we’ve just been finishing up episode 10 where all the themes come smashing together, but you’ve got the family theme, right? We talked about the Ardham theme There’s kind of a part of the family theme that’s a little bit darker for the family secrets The Ardham theme works for Christina There are multiple kind of hero themes that emerge There’s a Diana and Hippolyta theme that then kind of gets exploded as their story gets exploded There’s a Ruby and William sound that Raphael created on fabulous kind of guitar stuff that we reversed and made all weird that comes up in further episodes Laura Karpman: So there are all these themes that emerged The show, yeah, I think one of the really cool things about the show is different people emerge as heroes at various times, and that’s been interesting to play with Just like, who’s the hero, who’s the villain, who’s the monster? What monsters are the scariest monsters? How do you get scarier than scary? You know? So there are these kinds of themes that carry through, and also just sometimes just plain old scary music that’s just a “Boo!” Rob Markman: How do you deal with … That’s great, and when we talk about the different forms of being scared to different forms of terror, like in watching this and especially where we are right now in the world, the scariest part seems to be the very real dangers that we see out our windows, that we see in our communities, every time we turn on the news In episode one there was a really intense couple of scenes that first starts with Tic and Leti and George when they’re in the diner and then they realize that they have to flee That’s backed by … And they jump in the car and it’s just intense drums, and then our heroes are run out of town by sundown by a racist sheriff The score just booms in the background How do you create suspense in those type of tense moments of very real racial conflicts where the monsters aren’t so sci-fi or ghostly but right in your face, like clear, present

danger, you know what I mean? Laura Karpman: Well, I’m going to let Ray talk about that But one thing that I can tell you that I asked him for, I said, “I want you to go to your drum set and play a crazy drum solo.” And Raphael’s actually a great drummer and he’s like, the way that he plays drums, nobody else plays drums like that, right? I’ve worked with Questlove, I’ve worked with lots of people Ray has a thing on the drums that’s … So I said, “Just play something” He said, “I’ll bring my guy”, and I said, “Don’t bring your guy Just play like a crazy ass drum solo.” I think that drum solo is my absolute favorite thing in episode one And that’s, the first time you hear it is that chase scene And so, that scene went through a lot of revisions where it started out kind of, the temp was electronic, so I asked Ray to give me some drum tracks Laura Karpman: electronic So I asked Ray to give me some drum tracks and some analog, really cool stuff that he makes on his stuff But when it gets crazy, do you remember that? Raphael Saadiq: Yeah Laura Karpman: When drums kick in, that to me like crazy, crazy, crazy I love that moment And then Misha wanted orchestra added It was one of those things where after the end was scored, and we talked a lot, like this was a spotting session that we actually did in person, we talked a lot about the sheriff and those monsters versus the show guffs that happened later, and she never gave us an answer as to who was supposed to be scarier or different Laura Karpman: But after we scored the end, we came back and we added orchestra into that chase scene, when it really amps up Rob Markman: Raphael, can you speak to that man? Because we’re watching this on HBO, there is obviously an entertainment factor that goes into it, we watch TV to be entertained What is great about this show is the remarks and the message that it has, and how it just really relates to where we’ve been in America, and where we still presently are Like it’s inescapable Rob Markman: Can you just talk about your experience, especially scoring those scenes? Raphael Saadiq: Yeah, well, it’s very dark times, listening to my mom, who’s just turned 88, August 1st, and my mother is from Louisiana, she’s from the South So listening to her, my mother don’t like to talk about it much, but my father passed away some years ago, and I actually talked to him a little bit about it Raphael Saadiq: But just growing up in Oakland and I’m living a pretty easy life, I would say in Oakland, listening to what happened and in the fifties and sixties, and growing up in the neighborhood where the Black Panthers was at, and me being able to get to eat a free lunch in the free lunch program from some of the Panthers, and to see what’s happening right now with Breonna and everything that’s going on, it’s scary in our own neighborhoods Raphael Saadiq: I live in Portland, Oregon now I moved up there right during the pandemic, like Laura got in her car and jetted off to Vancouver, I just sort of got in my truck and jetted off in the middle of the night to Oregon just to be by myself for a minute And so I was scoring from tour, and also in Oregon, in Portland Raphael Saadiq: So when we’re making scary music, without knowing we are probably really have some fear in our own lives Cause I would talk to Laura, not thinking she was going to be as, I think Laura was a little bit more nervous than I was, I didn’t know that when I moved, she said, “Ray, you did a good thing.” Raphael Saadiq: And I was like, “Whoa!” And then she ended up moving So why are we making this, I just think that we don’t even know where we at today Every everything is a little scary And I just think as black man, I think for some reason I’m not as scared It feels pretty much the norm for me, I’ve had to escape a lot of different things And also in scoring films like ‘Lovecraft Country’ is pretty light compared to scoring ‘Underground.’ Raphael Saadiq: There was a scene in ‘Underground’ that I scored, and Laura’s like, “It’s the scene you have to score,” and she’s looking now like, “I know what he’s about to say.” Raphael Saadiq: And I was like, “I don’t see this scene.”

Raphael Saadiq: She said, “No, just keep watching it.” And it’s these guys like what, 10 governors? And they’re trying to teach this guy how to become the mayor or the governor of his city, and this guy, this black guy, which is hanging, while they were having a meeting, and I had to score it And that’s when I noticed like, “Wow, this is going to be hard.” So ‘Lovecraft Country’ is a little, it’s not as bad as ‘Underground’ was for me It’s just, it is scary like watching the car drive, you have to be out of this town and in three seconds or else we’re going to kill you Raphael Saadiq: Those kinds of scenes make you- Laura Karpman: But they got out Rob Markman: Yes, yes they- Raphael Saadiq: They got out And- Laura Karpman: Right, in ‘Underground,’ that guy didn’t get out Raphael Saadiq: That guy didn’t get out So it’s a little better So when you read the book of ‘Lovecraft Country,’ and you read it, it’s a little different from watching the car, the intensity of the car So with the music, the drums and orchestral stuff over the top of it, honestly I forgot that I did it, because I was just sitting there hoping that the car gets away Rob Markman: Wow Raphael Saadiq: You know, so- Rob Markman: But that’s great art, right? Like, that’s great Because like I said earlier, not to cut you off, I’m sorry, but it’s such a great point, when we watch, we almost forget everything that goes in it as the audience, because you’re so wrapped up in it So you might not hear the intensity of the drums the same way, or the look on an actor or actress’ face It just all hits you at once, and you feel it Rob Markman: For you to be a creator, and an artist, and somebody who contributed to this, and to say that even you watching it kind of forgot what went into it, and you’re just swept up and caught up into it, really speaks about the power of the finished product, right? Raphael Saadiq: Yeah And I’m just that kind of person anyway And Laura’s different from me Laura could watch a show She could watch a show that we did 10 years ago and Laura will pick out the scene and name everybody in it I’m the type of guy that liked to empty my hard drive I have to, I’m always in my head So I don’t like things to stay in my head Raphael Saadiq: So when I’m watching it I’m like, “Wow, this is a great show This is great music The orchestra sounds good The actors are great.” And I’m glad to see that, the music and all of the great actors in it that it’s matching with the production the film So that’s a plus for me, I love that part of it And also love to see the HBO sound goes shhh Laura Karpman: That feels good actually Rob Markman: That’s a great accomplishment Laura Karpman: That feels good That feels good That feels good Rob Markman: Real quick, for my own selfish needs, because I’m a fan of the song, Raphael, you moving to Portland, is that why you hooked up with Dame Lillard to do “GOAT Spirit”? Because I love that song I know both of you guys are Oaktown I know both of you guys are from the Town, and now you’re in Portland Was that the connection? Raphael Saadiq: No, actually my best friend is Brian Grant who used to play for the Portland Trailblazers back in the day So I’ve been going up there for years And also Dame Lillard, his mother and father, when I was a youngster, his father lives one block from where I grew up at And his father used to be, I was a little skinny kid, his father used to take up for me when I was a little kid Raphael Saadiq: I didn’t know that was his son And I went to this party, Dame was there And Dame said, “Hey man, you know my dad, my dad’s Houston My dad said he used to take up for you when he was a little kid.” Raphael Saadiq: And I’m like, “What? Who’s your dad?” Raphael Saadiq: And so yeah, I went to school with his mother and father through junior high end high school So that’s how me and Damian got really cool Rob Markman: That’s a dope, that’s a dope record, man I appreciate- Raphael Saadiq: No, thank you, I appreciate it Rob Markman: Yeah, you got it And Laura, I don’t know, I noticed I’m going to go back, I meant to joke on you a little bit because you had brought up Questlove, and you had brought up Raphael, and I’m like, “Are you trying to set up the next Verzus Battle? Is this the pregame?” Raphael Saadiq: No! Laura Karpman: Not on purpose, but you know what? I’ll probably stumble into it somehow knowing me, make some stupid mistake, and start some sort of drum war, but hey Raphael Saadiq: This is how that- Laura Karpman: That’s what I do Raphael Saadiq: This is how that drum war would go I would play two beats, and Questlove would play about 100 beats and murder me Laura Karpman: 100 million beats Raphael Saadiq: Yes, that’s how that would go Laura Karpman: Yeah, 1000 million beats, yeah Rob Markman: This is so amazing I appreciate both of your time Laura Karpman: Oh thanks Rob Markman: And I appreciate both of your energies because I feel like those are the two most valuable things that we have that you can never get back the time or the energy that you spent And I appreciate your art- Raphael Saadiq: Thank you Rob Markman: and for sharing the insight with us over here at Genius I’m fans of you both And we know that our audience loves you both

And whether they’re reading the credits of their favorite album, or reading the credits at the end of their favorite show or movie, it’s clear who was making the impact, and I really appreciate you for coming on the show and talking about it Raphael Saadiq: Thank you Laura Karpman: Thank you so much. So super fun Rob Markman: To the viewers, thank you for watching “Lovecraft Country” is streaming now on HBO and HBO Max Let us know what your thoughts on the show are in the comments below Rob Markman: You know I’ll be in the comments I don’t know if Raphael, I don’t know if Laura is going to be in the YouTube comments with you Raphael Saadiq: Yeah, I’ll be there Rob Markman: And as always, this is ‘For the Record.’ Thank you for watching, peace