Interview: Matt Hutchinson Talks About The Music Of ‘Tainted Love’

With its stylish camerawork and fast-paced editing, the digital series, “Tainted Love” comes alive because of its pumped-up soundtrack. As Black Berry (Orlando Jones) and Jezebel Jackson (Deanna Russo) find themselves in a robbery gone horribly wrong, the music jumps back and forth between the comedic, dramatic, and action elements.

Composer Matt Hutchinson spoke to MTV Geek about scoring “Tainted Love,” writing the music cues for the graphic novel scenes, and matching the music to the picture:

MTV Geek: How’d you became involved with in “Tainted Love?”

Matt Hutchinson: I heard about “Tainted Love” through my good friend and fellow co-composer, Joey Newman. He had previously worked with the director, Avi Youabian. He brought me on board to work on the score.

Geek: The music is really a mix of comedy, drama, and action…

Hutchinson: We were lucky by the time we started, Avi had a very clear direction and sense of what he was looking for. He had some references for us, some things to listen. By the time it started, it worked itself out. Joey and I have a rock background. He started out as a drummer. I started out as a guitarist. This type of score was a perfect fit for us.  It was really fun to work together on.

Geek: What about the themes for Black Berry and Jezebel? How’d the come about?

Hutchinson: With the structure of this show, there’s definitely some themes, but it’s more of a textural sense, than thematic for the most part. We did want to give each person some of their own sounds, but less in a traditional thematic way, more again with the types and textures we were using.

Geek: What about composing music for the graphic novel scenes? Was there any difference there?

Hutchinson: You know, those moments were really really fun to work on. It kinda gives the music an opportunity to be more on the forefront, as opposed to scenes with a lot of dialogue. And it was a chance to do musically fun things. There’s percussion sounds and there’s even a little electronic elements in there. Those comic panels really gave us the opportunity to do some interesting combination of sounds.

Geek: Because of the stylized camerawork and fast-paced editing, do you try to match the tempo of the music as well?

Hutchinson: Oh absolutely! One of the interesting things about this project, the music is very groove orientated, lots of cool, funky bass lines, and beats. We are also matching the action very closely. If you watch it, you’ll see how the music is constantly reinforcing what you’re seeing onscreen, and also underscoring the emotion of what’s happening in those moments as well. We worked very hard  to really match the music to the picture.

Geek: Let’s get specific… The track for the opening credits in “Episode 1: Baby Mama Drama,” which is a pretty cool mix of rock and hip-hop.

Hutchinson: Actually, there was some music in the series that was there before we came onboard. That was one of those tracks. The title music and the end credits music, for the most part, were already there. There were also a few songs throughout the series that were licensed. We actually didn’t write that music, but it certainly informed us, at least a little bit, about the kind of feeling, style, and direction the music was going to be.

Geek: How about the score for the convenience store robbery?

Hutchinson: You know, it was really fun! It is sometimes a challenge writing comedic cues. Writing music for comedy can be one of the most challenging things because there’s really different ways you can do it. Some work better than others. It boils down to your personal opinion on how you want to play it. Sometimes you want to accent the comedy and sometimes, you want to play it straight. We were always taking it from the perspective of Berry and Jezebel. We were trying to make it cool and fun, play with the comedic elements in those scenes, but also play with the tension as well.  There’s definitely times that it can be a challenge to balance all those different elements. But, luckily we had a  pretty clear sense of going into this and it turned out great.

Geek: Does the music became darker or more comedic as the series progresses?

Hutchinson: We tried to keep the comedic element the focal point throughout the majority  of the series. There are some darker moments. We never wanted to get too dark or really take ourselves too seriously with this. We wanted to make sure to always play the comedic element and keep that as the focal point. While there definitely are some darker scenes, there’s always some element that lighten things just a touch.

Geek: Do you have a favorite track?

Hutchinson: There are so many fun tracks! Later on in there series, there’s a really great animated fight sequence. We completely stepped outside of the sound from the rest of the show. We gave it its own feel. We did this really cool electronic dubstep type of track. That was really fun for me. It was such a fun way to experiment with those type of different sounds. There’s also a couple of other really great action sequences that I had fun with. Like I mentioned before, I’m a guitarist. There’s some really great opportunities to do some fun guitar work in this show. It’s hard to pick just one. There’s definitely  a lot of great cues and writing throughout.

“Tainted Love” airs exclusively on the Machinima Prime channel on YouTube. You can catch the season finale here.