When Son Lux founding members and composers Ryan Lott and Rafiq Bhatia play The Fillmore Philadelphia on April 28, it is not just a matter of bringing the band’s extensive music catalog to a live stage. This time out, the 15-year-old avant-pop ensemble with nine, intricately nuanced and complex albums under its belt – including its 2020/2021 three-LP ‘Tomorrows series’ – come complete with their wild score to the even-wilder film, ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’.
Taken apart and rearranged as 49 separate spiraling sonic pieces featuring vocal collaborators such as David Byrne, Mitski, Moses Sumney and Randy Newman, Son Lux’s soundtrack to ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ – a mesmerizing martial arts-inspired film starring Michelle Yeoh at her most diverse and most divisive – is its own beautifully bizarre cinema-scape.
Keyboardist/vocalist Ryan Lott and Metro’s A.D. Amorosi spoke at the beginning of Son Lux’s current tour.
Amorosi: Before ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ would you view the scope of what Son Lux does as cinematic? Have there been experiments surrounding your albums and EPs that bear forth music of a more cinematic nature?
Lott: Son Lux’s origins start with dance, and music for dance is music for movement, in the same way music for film is music for movement. While we have not explicitly set out to make cinematic music, we want the songs to convey a complexity of emotions, scenes and movement.
Amorosi: What are your favorite or most purposeful film scores?
Lott: There are too many great film scores to zero in on one “favorite.” But one is the score to “Hereditary” by our friend Colin Stetson. Colin is a singular musician with a remarkable performance practice that he’s effectively adapted for his scoring work. He’s done a lot of it recently, including another awesome one for “Color Out of Space.”
Amorosi: What do you recall of the reasons that the directorial duo Daniels wanted to use you for this particular film and what specifically was said between you in regard to ‘EEAAO’?
Lott: Daniels heard a multiplicity of worlds and universes contained within the music of Son Lux, as well as our own individual projects. We are indebted to so many that have come before us but we are also always trying to reach into new unknowns. The biggest unknown for this film was if we were going to be able to pull off the sheer volume and expansiveness of what was required to match the vision and artistry of Daniels and their assembled cast and crew.
Amorosi: The idea of taking, chopping your score into 49 separate miniature pieces… why? And filling with guests such as David Byrne, Mitski and Randy Newman… why?
Lott: There are over 100 music cues in the film but we wanted to have the soundtrack feel cohesive as its own experience so we did some condensing and rearranging landing us at 49 tracks. We wanted the bonus tracks to be jumping pads into new multiverses of the film.
Amorosi: While your score follows more than one character, certainly Michelle Yeoh is – to quote Chaka Khan – every woman in so many different fashions and emotions throughout the film. Can you tell me about writing music to her many vibes?
Lott: We are humbled by the sheer virtuosity and genius of Michelle and can only hope we were able to not distract but enhance the viewer’s experience of her on-screen. Go see the film on the biggest screen and the best sound that you can and find out why.
Amorosi: How are you taking the many layers of ‘EEAAO’ and your other recent albums into a live concert setting, now, and beyond those songs, what else of your work do you wish to bring to the stage?
Lott: The upcoming tours are in support of ‘Tomorrows’, but the audience will hear the connections between those albums and the ‘EEAAO’ score. As a band we have made some changes to how we play live that will give us more space and freedom to explore all of our ideas in real time.