Exclusive: Six Questions For 90210 Music Supervisor Scott Vener

13 06 2010

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?

Vener: I really loved using the song “Cat & Mouse” by this new group Nikki & Rich in the first episode of the season [Episode 2.01, To New Beginnings].  You can YouTube it.  It’s great!

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.

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7 responses

13 06 2010
James

Wow, nice interview! I hope there’d be more interviews from the rest of the 90210 crew. 🙂

The show defintely went indie in contrast to when it was still starting and top 40 songs were being utilized. Their use of such artists and a few mainstream acts (Lenka, Adele, NERD, The Script and Owl City) helped defined the season’s sunny California look and feel.

As being a music-driven show, I could say they’ve done a pretty good job on not totally going OTH-like as it was in the first season in the sense that some songs have the likelihood of drowning out the dialogue between characters on several scenes. Their use of incidental music on certain points of the season also gave the show a soapy feel.

Fun fact: The song used on the final scene of the Season 1 finale, “The Funeral” by “Band of Heroes”, was according to my friend, featured on the One Tree Hill Volume 3 soundtrack album and was also used on an episode of Kyle XY and recently on the series finale of Flash Forward.

13 06 2010
James

BTW, it was also nice they they were able to give exposure to such a talented band such as The Script. They’re already popular internationally and is already making a name for itself stateside since the release of some of their hit songs, “We Cry” among them.

It’s actually hard for artists from other English-speaking countries, or from any other country in general to make a name in the US market which they consider the goldmine of their careers so I’m glad to see that The Script is getting the recognition it deserves but it still has a long way to go. 🙂

13 06 2010
Elsa

James: “the funeral” was also in an episode of OTH, not just on the soundtrack, it was in episode 4×07 of OTH.

14 06 2010
Alyssa

James, the band is actually called “Band of Horses”. I love their songs ecpecially “The Funeral”. That song was on the season finale of GG too but it was a cover by a woman, not sure who though.

14 06 2010
James

@Anne and Elsa, thanks for the heads-up. 🙂

“The Funeral” seems to be quite a popular choice for TV shows to use I notice.

14 06 2010
James

I meant “Alyssa”, heheh

7 08 2010
Mekka Don

Great interview Scott! Please check out our music on our website. We have hundreds of placements throughout TV and Film. I hope you read this!

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