Creating music for TV series with Irya Gmeyner

By | April 5, 2021

irya-gmeyner-photo-by-christian-gustavsson_puff.thumb.jpg.385e82d415b4af74c3caf89e3d123409.jpgIrya Gmeyner. Photo: Christian Gustavsson.

Irya Gmeyner is a film composer, songwriter and producer who in recent years has been busy composing for film, writing new music during the solo project April Snow and several exciting collaborations with artists such as Ane Brun, Mapei and Joy. Now she is up to date with the music for the TV series Thin Blue Line, which has already attracted attention and praise in the media.

You have together with Martin Hederos written the soundtrack to SVT’s drama series Thin Blue Line, what led to this assignment?
Our collaboration began when we wrote the music for SVT drama series Systrar 1968. It works so heavenly well and was a very fun collaboration. With Systrar 1968, we wanted to bring in a playful live feeling with a 60’s scent, where we recorded most of the music live in Studio Rymden. We got more taste from writing together and were eager to write something more contemporary, so when we were asked to make the music for the Thin Blue line that takes place in Malmö today, the answer was YES!

How do you go about capturing your screenwriter’s or director’s vision with your music?
I always start by reading the script to get a feel for the story, the energy and the mood of the series or film. The next step is to understand and strengthen the director’s vision and ideas, and based on that, Martin and I work on writing and recording sketches of themes and moods that the director and the creative team can hear and give feedback on. And based on the feedback, we continue to develop the music and go deeper into the process the more the series takes shape.

irya-gmeyner-photo-by-beatrice-lundborg_artikel.thumb.jpg.fd954d07a7ea7d4e9192c0a97c68444f.jpgIrya Gmeyner. Photo: Beatrice Lundborg.

Can you tell us a little about what your collaboration looked like during the creation?
Martin and I often start with an inspiration day when we talk to each other about what we hear and want to do based on the director’s vision. We listen to music and make a playlist with inspirational songs and talk about which instruments we should build the soundtrack on and thoughts about energy and moods. Then we go to some printer’s cottage in the country with my portable studio and work intensively for a few days to arrive at what we want to access. Then we sit with my computer and the mic and Martin’s keyboards and play together until we feel that we are something on the track. Then I edit in my studio and make toppings and take it further. Then we see each other at regular intervals, listen and develop until we feel ready to mix in other musicians and partners. Povel Olsson has been involved in the process, he has contributed with drum worlds and has written parts of the score music with us. Povel and I have also made raw mixes that the film team can work with during the process.

How important is it to have a common thread in the sound when writing music for series?
I think it is very important to get a clear overall feeling. If the soundtrack is part of the film rather than a complement, then I more often get a stronger feeling from the film or TV series if I feel this whole. It’s about everything from script, direction, actors, image, editing and energy. When everything is connected, it becomes a holistic feeling.

For someone who wants to start writing music for moving images, do you have any tips?
I think it is important to understand what it is one wants to reinforce or substantiate, what the music should bring to the stage. Does the scene need energy or seriousness or does it need to be lightened up or add excitement. Trying to understand the director’s vision and contribute something that can elevate the stage.

And finally – you are up to date with more releases this spring, can you tell us a bit about them?
Yes, during my alias April Snow I have released an EP with a duet with Ane Brun called Shapes Of Dreams and there will be an album called YOU later this spring. I wrote large parts of the album during a difficult divorce. The soundtrack to the Thin Blue Line, called Thin Blue Line, was released on January 15th and on February 19th I will release another EP with We Fucked it Up. It’s very exciting and a little scary to release something new!

Soundtrack: Thin Blue Line
Vignette: Thin blue line
Artist Page: April Snow

Monday’s interview is a series there @Lotta Fahlen interviews interesting people on various topics in music creation, and is published every other Monday.