HBO‘s latest storytelling masterpiece comes in the form of a five-part miniseries chronicling the behind-the-scenes drama and horror of the infamous 1986 disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine. The series’ producers have utilized the power of music to evoke all the feelings necessary for processing the world’s worst nuclear disaster and even used sounds from an actual power plant in hopes of getting their story’s message across to viewers.
Icelandic composer/cellist/choral arranger Hildur Guðnadóttir‘s was brought onto the show’s production team in hopes of creating a score haunting enough to make viewers really feel the danger behind the spring 1986 catastrophe. In a new interview with Guðnadóttir on Score The Podcast, the composer discussed how she used field recordings captured at a now-decommissioned power plant in Lithuania (where the series was filmed) to build the show’s eerie and ominous soundtrack.
“Right before they went there to shoot, I went there to record,” Guðnadóttir admitted about her process to bring the story of Chernobyl back to life through sound. “I went there with my score producer and Chris Watson, who records [for] the David Attenborough films … So we went in there in full [hazmat] suits and everything.”
Guðnadóttir went on to explain that every single sound heard in the score is made from the recordings they captured on site. Rather than creating the sounds themselves, Guðnadóttir and her team found themselves “observing” the setting, hoping to experience from a listener’s perspective what it’s like to actually be inside of a power plant.
“It’s such a complicated story to tell,” she continued. “How does that sound? Like [what] does a catastrophe really feel like and how does it sound … We associate certain sounds of a nuclear disaster and those emitters, but there are so many other sounds that are there that were just so interesting to observe.”
Listen to the entire interview below.
Hildur Guðnadóttir Interview – Score Podcast
[Video: Epicleff Media]
Fans can watch the entire series which is now available through HBO and its digital platforms. Listen to the official film score on Spotify below.
Chernobyl (Music from the Original TV Series)
[H/T Brooklyn Vegan]