The Rolling Stone Blog

How ‘Twilight’ Film Soundtracks Boost Musicians’ Careers

The Rolling Stone Blog

Christina Perri is a Twi-hard - she even has a Twilight-themed
tattoo to prove it. So when the 25-year-old singer found out her
swooner of a love song "A Thousand Years" was going to be included on
the soundtrack for the new Twilight film, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, she was more than enthused. "I really had to contain myself," Perri tells Rolling Stone. "I was sweating I was so excited."

No surprise - having a track featured on a Twilight
soundtrack offers unparalleled exposure. The movie series has a diehard
fan base - the three films have grossed nearly $1.7 billion at the box
office - and Twilight fans are music fans, as well: since 2008,
the three films' soundtracks have sold a combined five million copies
in the U.S. alone. Joy Formidable frontwoman Ritzy Bryan, who learned a
month ago that her band's moody track "Endtapes" would serve as the
opening cut for the Breaking Dawn soundtrack, is confident that
being included in the film will open new avenues for the breaking
London trio. "I think we're definitely going to reach people that won't
have heard of the band," Bryan says. "That can only be a good thing."

It's a similar story for Imperial Mammoth, a virtually unknown Los
Angeles-based husband-wife duo that consists of Leonard Jackson and
Laura Jane Scott. "It was sort of like when they show up at your house
with the big novelty check," Jackson says. "It's almost mind-numbing."

The person responsible for selecting Twilight's musicians for the soundtrack is Alexandra Patsavas, who has been the music supervisor for all of the Twilight films. She says she relishes the opportunity to expose Twilight audiences to newer artists. "It never gets less thrilling," she says.

Not all artists however, have jumped at the opportunity to add Twilight to their resume. Bon Iver, whose St. Vincent-assisted song "Roslyn" appeared on The Twilight Saga: New Moon
soundtrack, was skeptical when first approached with the idea. "We were
unsure as to whether or not we wanted to take part," says Kyle
Frenette, Bon Iver's manager.

This ambivalence was nothing new for Patsavas, who says that certain
bands have historically been reluctant to lend their music to anything
involving movies. She feels, however, that Twilight is a special case - a film series that has "treated music respectfully." Ultimately, Bon Iver would come to agree. "Twilight was reaching an audience that we couldn't," Frenette says. "Taking part in the New Moon soundtrack helped expand Bon Iver's fanbase."

The process for selecting the artists to soundtrack a Twilight film starts early. For Breaking Dawn, Patsavas
sat down with director Bill Condon when there was nothing but a script
to work with, and the two discussed what kind of sounds are essential to
complement the plotline. "The choices do get refined after shot footage
is assembled," Patsavas explains. But the most essential question
throughout the process revolves around whether the "music can actually
be put up to picture," she says.

Surprisingly though, even after learning they will be part of the film, the artists - which for the Breaking Dawn soundtrack
also include the Belle Brigade, Bruno Mars, Theophilus London, Iron and
Wine, and more - generally have no idea where their song will be
placed. "It's gonna be a surprise," says Imperial Mammoth's Scott.

That's not stopping some of them from guessing, though. "I have this
fantasy that it's gonna be in a very romantic scene," the Belle
Brigade's Barbara Gruska says of her band's song "I Didn't Mean It." "Or
an awesome vampire werewolf fight scene."

Related
Rolling Stone's Guide to the Twilight Saga

 

Photo by C Flanigan/WireImage

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