Alexandra Patsavas pairs sight and sound as Hollywood’s most in-demand music supervisor.
We asked sonic guru Alexandra Patsavas to tell us what’s playing on her iPod these days.
M83 Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
Oh Land Oh Land
Gotye Making Mirrors
Bon Iver Bon Iver
Other Lives Tamer Animals St. Vincent Strange Mercy Bootstraps Bootstraps
Alexandra Patsavas: To be completely frank, I wasn’t aware that this line of work existed until I got a little bit into my career. I was always fascinated by the marriage of music and picture, and I certainly paid attention to soundtracks as a kid.
AW: Can you name some artists who might be considered Alexandra Patsavas discoveries?
AP: On the TV show Roswell, which was my first show, I used music by Coldplay, Radiohead and Dido. I didn’t discover them, but I was able to highlight their music, and they reached an audience that perhaps they wouldn’t have reached. Later, on The O.C., we actually had Death Cab for Cutie and Modest Mouse perform on the show.
AW: Describe the process for choosing a song for a television show or a film.
AP: It’s never strictly up to me. The music supervisor is hired, like any other creative person. I sit down and ask the executive producer of the show or the movie director, “What do you want the music to accomplish?” We start at the script stage, and when the footage is edited and assembled, that’s when the real work starts.
AW: How much time do you spend in a typical week seeking out new talent?
AP: Quite a bit. I have been supervising since ’95. I get a lot of submissions so I don’t have to go any farther than my own overflowing mailbox.
AW: What are your favorite movie soundtracks?
AP: The Third Man — talk about music being a character. The Graduate, featuring Simon & Garfunkel — beautiful, and the perfect use of songs. And The Breakfast Club.
AW: Do you have a personal holy grail — a piece of music you’d love to use in a film or TV show that you haven’t yet licensed?
AP: Yes. I think more than anything, “The Needle and the Damage Done” by Neil Young.
AW: How does an aspiring band or artist bring his or her music to your attention?
AP: I’m pretty easy to find these days. The Internet has changed how people reach people. An artist can contact me via the company website, and we have a submission process.
AW: How do you feel about the fact that, in years past, fans would discover music first on the radio, but now often they’re exposed to music first on TV and in movies?
AP: There’s no better compliment to a music supervisor than to have had a fan take away interest in a band or a song or an artist because it is connected to their favorite show or movie.