Daredevil Composer John Paesano Shares His Inspiration for Season 2
With Daredevil season 2’s arrival, composer John Paesano talks about his music’s role in relating the mood of the show.
Daredevil season 2 will bring new musical themes for Elektra and Punisher thanks to composer John Paesano, who composed the iconic title music for the Netflix series and the excellent soundtrack for both seasons. Paesano spoke recently with the hosts of Sci Fi Fidelity about how he developed the signature sound for Daredevil, its characters, and its environment.
Many fans of Daredevil can immediately recognize the show’s main title theme, which features a series of repeating notes underlying single piano tones, and Paesano explains that this repetition makes the theme more accessible. “We really wanted to try to keep the score as grounded as possible, and I think the same thing can hold true for the main title,” he said. “We really wanted to make it memorable, and when I hear the word memorable I always think of simplistic.”
Simplistic doesn’t have to mean small or unobtrusive, however. Paesano explained why his music is so understated: “If you want to push people out of the scene and make them a viewer, make the music big… make people feel like they’re watching a movie. If you want to bring people into a scene, it’s almost the exact opposite. Let’s pull the music back; make it music that’s felt but not heard.”
One way to make the music in Daredevil felt is by making use of sounds associated with Matt Murdock’s blindness and heightened senses. Instrumentation evocative of sonar signals or audio feedback are all strategic choices, according to Paesano. “We also use a lot of heartbeats for our pulses, but we definitely try to play with the idea of Matt kind of using those heightened sensibilities because of his blindness, and we try to play with some of that stuff in the score.”
So how does Paesano create, for example, the sound of the blind man’s cane in the theme for Stick? “We used a cello bow on the neck of the cello. It’s a technique called col legno, and there’s a lot more of that stuff in season 2,” promises Paesano. “I wanted to try to use acoustic instruments in non-traditional forms in order to create our hybrid sound versus just using synths and sound design and stuff like that.”
For season 2 of Daredevil there will be a shift, especially considering the addition of Elektra and Punisher. “In season 2, the storylines are deeper,” Paesano says, clarifying, “Not necessarily deeper, but there’s just more going on. Obviously we have the introduction of Elektra; we have the introduction of Punisher. They bring their own stories with them.”
All told, Paesano’s musical style brings a distinctive flavor to Daredevil, including infusing little rays of hope with the major keys some of his tracks use. “Hope – that’s a perfect word,” agrees Paesano. “If anything, I think Daredevil has so much hope for all of Hell’s Kitchen, and we didn’t want to lose that.”
You can hear John Paesano’s wonderful musical score as Daredevil continues into its second season on Netflix on March 18. To hear the full interview, visit Sci Fi Fidelity on the Den of Geek Podcast Network, or simply listen below.