When 90210 featured The Script in an episode last fall, I had no idea who they were. Fast-forward to April when their single “Breakeven (Falling To Pieces)” went platinum–selling more than one million copies and playing on an endless loop inside my head.
In the last few months, I begun to increasingly wonder about 90210’s music selection process and (politely) stalked the show’s music supervisor, Scott Vener, for the low-down.
Vener took time out for a quick chat via e-mail about working on 90210 and two successful HBO shows.
TeenDramaWhore: What does it mean to be a music supervisor? What is the process for selecting music for a 90210 episode?
Scott Vener: The process is different on all shows. But, on 90210, I pool together a library of music for the editors so they have music they can cut picture to. I would say most of the songs come from me. However, I’m really lucky on 90210 to be working with some really great editors who know music pretty well. They make a lot of contributions. Also, the showrunner [Rebecca Sinclair] has great taste and she is really supportive of using eclectic stuff, which makes my job a lot more fun rather than just placing songs that are currently charting on the radio.
TDW: Do you have a favorite 90210 “music moment,” a scene and song that really stands out to you in your memory?
TDW: The original 90210 had the After Dark, a club for the characters to gather where popular music artists would perform. This has also been seen on other teen shows, like The O.C., which had a place called The Bait Shop. Aside from The Script playing at the Beverly Hills Beach Club earlier this season [Episode 2.05, Environmental Hazards] and a brief performance by N.E.R.D [Episode 2.08, Women’s Intuition], the new 90210 has stayed away from that. Is that an intentional choice?
Vener: I don’t really know because I don’t write the scripts : )
TDW: How did Soundtrack 90210 come about? Any plans for a “volume 2”?
Vener: The soundtrack was CBS’s idea. The show really lends itself to being a music-driven show. So, having a soundtrack made sense. I’m not sure if we’re going to do a new one.
TDW: You also work on Entourage and, more recently, How To Make It In America [starring Bryan Greenberg (Jake, One Tree Hill)]. How do you balance three shows and how do you think the music style for the shows differ?
Vener: They shoot at different times so it’s not hard to balance them all. I definitely think the styles are really different. There definitely is some cross-over. I used Nas and Damian Marley’s song “As We Enter” and Broken Bells’ song “The High Road” on both 90210 and How To Make It. But what I love about 90210 is I can use more singer-songwriter stuff that probably wouldn’t fit on either How To Make It or Entourage. Entourage is definitely closer in style to How To Make It because they both lend themselves to hip hop.
TDW: Where do you get your inspiration from? Do you have a favorite artist right now?
Vener: I really don’t like to use anything I don’t listen to in my personal life. I definitely search music blogs all over the Internet from people all over the world. I got a few people (blogs) working for me, who have no idea they work for me. I feel guilty. I don’t pay them. (No, I don’t. Ha.) Foals’ new album is great. It’s not out yet but I have it and it’s awesome. Also, The Morning Benders, Nikki & Rich, and Freddie Gibbs.