True Blood Score Nominated for Music Award

October 20, 2010

Nathan Barr’s Original Score Among Nominated

True Blood HMMA Nominee

In November, Hollywood will be host to the Hollywood Music in Media Awards & Conference and the original score for HBO’s True Blood written by Nathan Barr is among the nominees.

The 2010 award categories include Original Score – Feature Film, Original Score – Indie/Short/Documentary, Original Score – Video Game, Best Song – Film, Best Song – TV, Original Song – Video Game, Best Song – Commercial Advertisement and Original Score – TV.

The True Blood original score has competition in the form of the original scores for other shows, such as Sanctuary, Wheel of Fortune, 24, Criminal Minds, Hawthorne and Nurse Jackie.

The conference runs from November 18-20 2010 in Hollywood. Event location and ticket information can be found on the HMMA website.

SOURCE: — 2010 Visual Media Nominees

(Photo Credit: HMMA)


Carson Daly Chats up Nathan Barr

October 7, 2010

Nathan Barr’s Contributions to True Blood

Without Nathan Barr, most of the best True Blood scenes would fall short. Without this gifted composer, the scenes between Sookie and Bill wouldn’t be as special. Nathan may not be on our physically on True Blood but is talent sure is and now fans will be able to put a face to the sounds.

See Nathan on Late Night TV

Nathan will take over late night when he appears on Last Call with Carson Daly on Friday, October 15. Set your DVRs or if you’re a night owl, set your television for 1:30 a.m to get a first hand tour of Nathan’s studio. Perhaps he’ll even give secret tidbits about the True Blood Season 2 score, which was released September 21, and includes Sookie’s Dreams, Eric’s Grief, and Goodbye Godric.

For more information on Nathan or his appearance on Carson Daly, visit Nathan’s facebook page or check out NBC’s homepage for all Carson Daly updates and his guests. True Blood may be on hiatus for the winter but with great interviews like this one, the wait won’t be too terrible for fans.

Source: — Nathan Barr and — Last Call with Carson Daly

(Photo Credit: Nathan Barr)


Music to Vamp By: An Interview With Gary Calamar

September 21, 2010

A picture of Gary Calamar.Gary Calamar is the music supervisor for HBO‘s hit series True Blood. In an interview with IFC, Gary explained that the specific songs and music are a delicate balance when chosen for an episode, or scene location. For example, tunes for Merlotte’s is “upbeat bar music, rockabilly, southern rock”.

For the most part, Gary says the music for True Blood “has sort of a dark undercurrent to it like a lot of New Orleans blues seems to have. Those classics – Slim Harpo, Willie Dixon and Howlin’ Wolf – those are what really kind of speak to me as the sound of Bon Temps.”

Asked if it was true that show creator Alan Ball said he did not want opera music in a vampire show, Gary could not confirm it. However, Alan did tell him he wanted non-traditional music without the overly dramatic type heard in previous vampire movies.

Actually, Alan found Jace Everett‘s “Bad Things” to use as the theme music and Gary said they got lucky with it. During a writing break, Alan found it on iTunes.

“We all liked it but we all kind of thought that we would eventually find the one. But the more we placed other songs against it we realized that it actually was the one. It was perfect and it had just that right combination of menace, romance, sexiness, and humor to it.”

Every episode of True Blood is named after a song. According to Gary, this is difficult due to budget concerns. Some licensing can be too expensive or just not available. In a few cases, the episode titles were changed because the song didn’t work out as planned. But, as music supervisor, this touch makes his job more fun and interesting.

And it’s actually the writers who provide the song ideas. With the mood they set, sometimes they’ll write a song into the script.  But it doesn’t work 100% of the time. Gary said that putting the song up against the picture will sometimes show it’s just not a good fit. That’s when Gary provides the “Plan B” music.

In one example, Gary talked about a song titled “Hitting the Floor”, which was to play during a scene of an actual severed head hitting the floor.

“But the song was not working. Well, I actually knew of a great song by P.J. Harvey called “Hitting the Ground.”  So, we changed the title [from “Floor” to “Ground”] and it still worked thematically.”

Working at night as a DJ, Gary listens to a lot of music, which helps him with ideas for True Blood. Now that he has the feel for what the series ‘sounds like’, it’s a little easier for him to read the script and find the right song to recommend. Once the music is approved by Alan, it’s Gary’s job to check on the license and negotiate the deal for use.

Nathan Barr is the show’s composer for original score and often it’s a song that leads into the score. So both Nathan and Gary need to be in sync. But what about the show’s characters?

“Yeah, each character definitely has their own taste and their own type of music that might be playing along with their theme. It depends on what’s going on in the scene, but Jason‘s taste is much different than Sookie‘s and Sam’s taste is much different than Lafayette‘s.”

In discussing the budget for music, Gary sighs when he thinks about a Led Zeppelin song that worked perfectly for a particular scene.

“But they’re just way too expensive and you know, don’t really do television unless you want to pay them an exorbitant amount of money. No TV show could really afford to have Led Zeppelin. Then it’s my job to find something that’s even better for a fraction of the price.”

I, for one, think he’s doing a really fine job.

Source: (1st part2nd part) – The Man Behind the Music of HBO’s “True Blood”

(photo credit –


Preorder Nathan Barr’s Score for True Blood Season 2

September 17, 2010

True Blood Season 2 ScoreWhen the summer ends, True Blood fans do one thing: try to figure out what to do with themselves until they see a new season of their beloved vampires.

HBO and Nathan Barr have been kind enough to help fans through their fang withdrawal. Why not spend the winter months curled up on the couch listening to the score from Season 2?

The 13 track album is due to hit stores on September 21 and will include songs such as Sookie’s Dreams, Eric the Viking, Hoyt and Jessica, and Goodbye Godric. All the songs were written, performed and recorded by Nathan himself.

The album can be pre ordered at; for less than $20, fans can relive the most heart breaking or sexiest scenes of the show, while they commute to work or read the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris. Whatever the plan is this winter, the Season 2 score is a great way to keep warm until True Blood comes back for its 4th season in the summer of 2011.

Source: — Nathan Barr’s Photos

(Photo Credit: HBO, Inc)


Nathan Barr Talks True Blood and Future Projects

August 27, 2010

Nathan BarrMany people work behind the scenes on HBO‘s True Blood adding in the sound effects, visual effects and music once the scenes have been filmed.  Composer Nathan Barr is responsible for the musical score that we hear each week on the show.  Nathan sat down with to talk about how he got his start in the industry, his work on True Blood and his upcoming projects.


Although Nathan loved music and movies as he was growing up, he did not start out in the industry as a composer.  His first job was as an assistant on the business side.  After responding to an ad where a prominent composer was looking for an assistant he ended up working for Hans Zimmer, who is now head of the film music division at DreamWorks.  He worked for Zimmer for 8 months and he describes the experience saying:

“The experience of working with someone like Zimmer inspired me to continue working as a composer when I finished my time with him.  When he told me that he thought I had a future as a composer, I knew I had to go for it.”

He started his career working on projects such as the wrestling documentary Beyond The Mat and From Dusk Til Dawn 3, however it was a meeting with horror director Eli Roth that really launched his career.  After the director saw Nathan’s DVD collection of horror movies, Roth knew he had found the right person to score the movie Cabin Fever.  The two have since worked together on a number of movies including both Hostel movies as well as the upcoming movie The Last Exorcism.


Currently Nathan works closely with Alan Ball and is in charge of the music we hear on True Blood.  Barr says that working with Alan has been a “dream” from the start.

“It was between me and a few other composers for ‘True Blood’ in the beginning.  We met with Alan and his team, and I pitched him my take on the score and how I thought the songs we picked at the end of the show should be what define the Southern style of the series, by finding songs that incorporate the blues or instruments like the harmonica.  This would then free up the score for the episode to complement the story being told each week. He really liked my approach, and from there I got hired.”

Nathan says that the first character theme song he wrote was the Bill/Sookie love theme because it was so central to the first season and he felt that if there was one song that had to really work it was that one. His method of writing is to use the music to enhance the cast’s performance not to outshine it.

“The ‘True Blood’ cast is so strong that when I score an episode, it’s less about helping make a scene work as it is more about the music gently supporting the characters and their stories.”


Barr’s next project is the documentary style horror film The Last Exorcism which is released in theatres August 27th.  Creating the score for this film was quite a bit different from his work on True Blood and he admits that he was very nervous going into this film.  Director Daniel Staam sent Barr a long email before filming began and told him he wanted the music to sound “warped”.  Barr immediately thought of the sound his guitar makes when it is tuning and used that as his focal point for the score.  Since the film was done documentary style, the score was more understated with effects made to jump out at you.

“The last thing you want to do with a movie score like this is to do too much too quickly so I had to let all those sounds build to something huge near the end.  I think what I created really lent itself to the creepy feeling of the movie.  I actually got creeped out watching it.”

With Season 3 of True Blood almost finished, Barr will tackle another “first” for him – a drama film.  He will be working on a film called The Ledge staring Liv Tyler and Terrence Howard.

Source: – Composer Nathan Barr Talks True Blood and The Last Exorcism

(Photo Credit:


True Blood at Comic-con 2010: Behind the Music with Nathan Barr

July 22, 2010

Comic-con is finally here and True Blood is well represented with the actors and crew attending various panels this year.  One of our writers here at, Isis Nocturne, is attending the Behind the Music with CW3PR: Composing for Sci-Fi, Horror, and Fantasy Film & TV panel which has True Blood composer Nathan Barr as one of the seven panelists discussing the behind-the-scenes perspective on creating music for television and film.  Below are Isis Nocturne‘s tweets from the event and photos.

The music panel

Next up is the music panel with True Blood‘s composer Nathan Barr!

OMG! Charlaine Harris is opening the panel!

Opening with music from each composer…

Introductions are awesome!

Waiting to hear from Nathan Barr

Nathan Barr started working under Hans Zimmer.

Nathan was there only 8 months.

The panelists... Nathan Barr is 3rd from the right...

Nathan practiced by doing other movie scores earlier in his career.

Music from Nathan‘s score for Hostel was put into the pilot for True Blood, then he wrote music for True Blood to use instead…

Talking about composing for character-driven shows/movies & the difficulties

Everyone says that silence needs to be a part of tv and film b/c it can be so powerful.

Nathan uses cool instruments like a human bone trumpet…

this instrument is made of a femur… it’s from Tibet

Nathan looks up weird instruments on Ebay

as we know, Nathan plays his own instruments

That panel felt soooo short! It was very interesting!

In closing, that panel was great & Nathan Barr and John Ottman were both really nice!


First Pics of Nathan Barr and Lisbeth Scott at Ubeda Film Fest!

July 19, 2010

As reported to us by FILM MUSIC LIVE, a new channel on Justin.TV, last week Nathan Barr (True Blood, The Dukes of Hazzard) and vocalist Lisbeth Scott (The Passion of the Christ) performed in concert at Ubeda Spain’s International Film Festival. We were lucky enough to receive some great pictures of the event that we can share with you now and have the promise of live video of the concert to come! We’re really looking forward to seeing, and hearing, Nathan and Lisbeth‘s ‘live’ concert but until then these wonderful photos will have to sustain us.

(Photo credit:


Talking Music with Jace Everett, Nathan Barr and Gary Calamar

July 14, 2010

Music is the universal language; no matter who and how it’s played, musicians and music fans alike will talk for hours about this wonderful craft. Jace Everett, Nathan Barr and Gary Calamar are no different. APM Music created three podcasts with these musicians, better known for their musical work on the HBO hit show True Blood All three men discuss their music, their success, and the future of their musical endeavors.

Though only six minutes long, Jace Everett shines in Podcast 65. He not only discusses how he got involved with True Blood, but he also explains how the show inspired his new album “Revelations.”  The first thing Jace mentions is that while having his song, “Bad Things” be the theme song for True Blood, he must tread lightly; he doesn’t want to be known for the rest of his life as the True Blood guy.

However, True Blood has been a great opportunity and he was lucky that Alan Ball found his song. While writing, Alan Ball took a break and while searching through iTunes, discovered Jace‘s song, which he had wrote and released years ago. Alan Ball gave the song to Digital Kitchen and asked them to add visuals to the song; when the finished product was made, Alan Ball knew this was the mood and tone of the show. Jace believes having Alan Ball find his song was like a jackpot and really pulled his career out of the stagnant place it had been.

With being part of True Blood, Jace was able to create and push his new CD quickly; many of the new songs are inspired by the first season, but don’t have to be literary taken. “Burn for You” is based on the scene where Bill walks out under the sun in order to save Sookie, while “Damned if I Do” can be taken as a love song between a human and a vampire. However, the songs transcend the show and the genre of vampires.

Even if people aren’t into vampries, they can enjoy Jace‘s songs. The inspiration of a song is not always what the songs can represent. For example, “Bad Things” was inspired by a time when Jace was living in Nashville working as a bass player for someone who was pursuing a record deal. The guy owed Jace money and he was a little upset about not getting it. The original song was based on Jace doing bad things to this guy, like moving his furniture around. Soon though, he realized the idea was ridiculous and the song held more of a sexual mood than a menacing one.

Currently, Jace is on tour on the West Coast for the next ten days and moving through the country gaining fans. He does sing “Bad Things” but not surprisingly fans leave with a lot more favorites by Jace Everett than just the True Blood theme song.

With Podcast 66, Gary Calamar discusses his job as music supervisor for True Blood, the differences between “Six Feet Under“and True Blood, the Southern influences of the show and its music, as well as how the show has influenced his own work. He also gives us an inside view of Alan Ball as a songwriter.

After serving as the music supervisor for “Six Feet Under”, Gary is now working with True Blood, “House“, and “Dexter.” He also chose the songs for the feature film “Varsity Blues“, which won him a gold record. He hosts a hit radio show on KCRW in Santa Monica California every Sunday. He is also in the process of writing a book about the rise and fall of the record store, which will be released on record day.

It seemed natural for Alan Ball and Gary Calamar to work together again. However, there’s a difference between working on “Six Feet Under” and True Blood. While Alan Ball is still meticulous about the music, he seems to want to have fun with the music for True Blood. Gary felt like perhaps his initial music choices were too serious and Alan Ball reminded Gary that the show was about vampires, giving them license to get crazy with the music.

There is a strong Southern influence as the show is set in Bon Temps, Louisiana. For Gary, it makes it easier to choose music; there is such a rich music that comes out of that region, old artists and new. Gary gets to use twisted rockabilly Southern rock in Merlotte’s, while bringing in some dark and heavy death metal in Fangtasia. Gary is allowed to explore different types of music and be creative in the choices he makes in order to create a true atmosphere for True Blood.

Gary appreciates working on True Blood; given the large budget, Gary is allowed to use five to ten solid songs in one episode, which gives him a lot to work with. Other shows don’t give too much money or thought on the music of a show. While they do end up sounding fantastic, they rely heavy on the score, while True Blood is allowed to combine score and different artists to create something interesting and new.

Speaking of new and interesting, Gary tells a great story about Alan Ball and his song writing abilities. In Season 2, there was a party scene where they wanted to have a unique sound attached to it, rather than a song that was overly exposed. Alan Ball collaborated with the music editor to create a rough song called “Dig“. The song somehow managed to make it on the end credits; though initially a joke, the song ended up causing a flurry of inquiry from fans. No one thought the song would be such a success, but it is now a part of the second volume of the True Blood soundtrack.

When asked about the end credits and how the songs played at the end seem to be connected to the last gotcha of the show, Gary noted that the last song of every episode usually come from a collaboration, between himself, Alan Ball, and the writers. In the end, it truly is about having fun and creating intrigue in their fans through music. By using fun and inspiring music, fans get to view True Blood in a different and exciting way.

In Podcast 67 in the APM Music Podcast Series, Nathan Barr explains how he got involved with True Blood, what inspires the music for the show and how he has created the sonic themes for each season, and his views on himself as a musician as well as his collaboration with Lisbeth Scott.

Composer Nathan Barr has scored more than 24 feature films, including the “Dukes of Hazzards” and his most ambitious project to date has been composing the music for each episode of True Blood. His score for “Hostel” was used for the temp in the pilot, which placed him on the short stack of composers Alan Ball was considering for the show. Though he was proud of his work in “Hostel” he didn’t think it fit the mood of True Blood and gave Alan Ball a CD of his other work, which won him the job as composer for this hit show.

When it comes to inspirations for the show, Nathan wanted something that had a small and intimate feel; the show is always revolving around human interactions: couples, or close friendships. Nathan wanted to keep it very simple, using instruments such as acoustic guitar, cello, and the piano to name a few.

The best part of working for the show is that Nathan plays his own instruments, which allows him to be a part of the musical process 100%. He composes by improvisation and he finds that he can completely be involved in the process and truly infuse himself into the music and show.

Other than the instrumentation, the sonic theme of the show consists of the characters and their relationships. Bill and Sookie‘s theme, the love theme or as Stephen Moyer puts it “Bill‘s Lament” is the most famous and comes up throughout the season. Many of the characters have a musical themes: Godric, Eric, and Sam.

When he started this project, Nathan bought a few new instruments in order to mix up the way he writes and show him new ways of thinking about music. When he first saw the pilot, he new the sounds he wanted to create would be dark and scary. He had a piano sawed in half in order for his to have access to the hammers and strings.

However, Nathan doesn’t write and play alone. For the show, he’s collaborated with his ex-wife Lisbeth Scott. As dear friends and collaborators, they worked together to really create great texture in music and add lyrics that showcase the emotion of the show. Nathan praises Lisbeth’s unique voice and her talent as a singer.

Currently, aside from True Blood, Nathan is working with Anna Paquin’s brother on his first feature film “Open House“, as well as working with Eli Roth on a film titled “Cotton“. He is also composing for a film called “Mother’s Day” (starring True Blood‘s Deborah Ann Woll) and a dramedy called “Peep World“. With so many projects that Nathan will be infusing his musical skills and talents into, fans will be able to truly experience the emotion of these films.

Three podcasts with three talented musicians, who are the best in the business of film, television, advertising, and video game music. APM Music has given fans a chance to really learn and experience the music they hear in the background of their favorite dramas in a whole new different way.

The podcasts shed light on the creative process as well as inspire young musicians to look for collaboration opportunities with visual projects. These are only three out of a number of amazing interviews. Of course, because they revolve around True Blood‘s great musicians, Truebies will sink their fangs into these interviews a little faster than the rest!

To listen to the Jace Everett’s podcast click here.

To listen to the Gary Calamar’s podcast click here.

To listen to the Nathan Barr’s podcast click here.


(Photo Credits:


Nathan Barr at Comic-Con 2010 Panel

July 9, 2010


Appearances by Oscar and Emmy award-winning music talents Michael Giacchino, Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman, Nathan Barr, Jim Dooley, John Ottman & Jeremy Zuckerman.

Seven of the most prolific composers in film & television are slated to appear and speak for the brand new program: Behind the Music: Composing for Sci-Fi, Horror and Fantasy Film & Television in San Diego for Comic-Con – on July 22nd, 4:30-5:30pm in room 24ABC. Moderated by Anne Cecere – Director of Film/TV Relations of BMI, the panelists will include Michael Giacchino, Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman, Nathan Barr, Jim Dooley, John Ottman and Jeremy Zuckerman.

All of the scoring legends will discuss their respective past and current projects, how they got their big break into the music composing industry, and share some behind-the-scenes insights regarding composing for the specific sci-fi/fantasy genre of television and film, as pertinent to the Comic-Con audience and tradition. Attendees of the panel also will receive exclusive giveaways. Day and weekend passes can be purchased through Comic-Con’s website:

Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe-winning composer Michael Giacchino has contributed music for many facets of entertainment such as films, TV, and videogames. His most recent films include STAR TREK, RATATOUILLE, and UP for which he won this past year’s Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Original Score. Giacchino has also scored the hit TV shows LOST and ALIAS.

Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman make up the composing duo ‘Wendy & Lisa’, who once performed as Prince’s leading ladies and made their mark with their first composing credit on the box-office hit, DANGEROUS MINDS. Wendy & Lisa continue to write music for hit shows like HEROES, MERCY and NURSE JACKIE. Their score album to Nurse Jackie was recently released on March 2nd and is available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon.

Jim Dooley is an Emmy-winning composer for PUSHING DAISIES. His nearly 40 film contributing credits include THE DA VINCI CODE, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, solo work such as WHEN A STRANGER CALLS, OBSESSED, and top videogame titles SOCOM, INFAMOUS and the upcoming EPIC MICKEY. Dooley is currently song writing for the film, DOROTHY OF OZ starring Lea Michele (“Glee”) as Dorothy, Martin Short as The Jester, Dan Aykroyd as The Scarecrow, Kelsey Grammer as The Tin Man, and Jim Belushi as The Lion.

Nathan Barr has scored all episodes of HBO’s hit series TRUE BLOOD. Among other works, Barr has composed for HOSTEL, SHUTTER, CABIN FEVER, THE DUKES OF HAZARD and recently completed THE LAST EXORCISM, which opens nation-wide on August 27th, 2010.

John Ottman has composed for a diverse range of films from THE LOSERS, X-MEN, FANTASTIC FOUR, X-MEN 2, FANTASTIC FOUR 2: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER and SUPERMAN RETURNS. Having music influence his life since the 4th grade, Ottman continues to score for films, TV commercials, and direct films.

Composer Jeremy Zuckerman is best known for his work on Nickelodeon’s AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER. Jeremy, along with his composing partner, Benjamin Wynn, form the music-writing duo “Track Team”. They recently finished the animated short, DC SHOWCASE: THE SPECTRE and currently are scoring for the brand new Nickelodeon animated KUNG FU PANDA spin-off series.

Comic-Con International is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to creating awareness of and appreciation for comics and related popular art forms. In addition to its San Diego convention each summer, Comic-Con International organizes the San Francisco-based WonderCon each Spring and the Alternative Press Expo each Fall.

(Photo credit:


Nathan Barr Talks about Writing Music for True Blood

June 19, 2010

The score of True Blood is one of the many elements that plays an important part in making it the terrific show that it is. The talented Nathan Barr serves as True Blood’s composer, and that background music you hear when you watch is written and performed by him.

In an interview with the Danish website Serienjunkies, Nathan describes what it’s like working on the series and what his favorite moments have been.

Nathan knew going into the project that it would be special because Alan Ball was in charge and because the story is just so compelling. When asked what have been his favorite scenes to compose, he talked about how much he enjoyed “Cold Ground” (Season 1, episode 6). For the scene in which Sookie eats Gran’s last pecan pie, Nathan and singer Lisbeth Scott wrote the song “Take Me Home,” which has been one of the most emotionally moving moments in the entire show. He also loved the scene from “I Will Rise Up” in Season 2 during which Godric meets the sun.

Nathan had only praise to offer for his experiences working on True Blood, but he was asked what scene was the most difficult to compose for:

“Honestly, the show is so well crafted and acted that the scoring process is painless and totally organic. If I had to choose one scene that took quite a while to complete, it would be the scene where Amy is murdered during her V-enduced trip with Jason towards the end of the first season. This scene was a challenge because we are cutting back and forth from reality – where she is being murdered – and unreality – where she is “tripping” with Jason. To find one musical piece that seamlessly joined these two worlds, took a lot of work.”

Nathan’s work on True Blood certainly puts him among the ranks of the most talented composers these days. The sounds he has created for each mood and character are astounding, especially considering how varied it is! The characters are all so colorful and different, and the tone is constantly shifting, but the music always seems to fit perfectly.


(Photo credit:


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