Music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas discusses The O.C. soundtrack
The O.C. is, according to the Fox network, "a story of fathers and sons, husbands and wives and the relationships between a group of teens in Southern California." Rupert left out a crucial part of the equation: the music. If you watch The OC, you probably know they use a lot of indie-rock that otherwise wouldn't be heard on network television. As the show's music supervisor, Alexandra Patsavas's job involves placing pertinent music into the show as well as the process of clearing such music by buying both the performance rights (the actual recording) and the publishing rights (the written song itself). From what Pestavas told us, the job's as sweet as it sounds. She talked about Fox's encouragement of her song choices, her strong relationship with the show's writers and editors, and the good stuff coming up. See if you can spot the point where I was ready to ask if she had ever encountered a problem, ever.
Prefix Magazine: How did you get into music supervision?
Alexandra Patsavas (O.C.): I was a college promoter. After I graduated I came out here and worked with EMI, and then after that I started to work with Roger Corman. About ten years ago I started as the assistant to the music supervisor and did about thirty or forty different low-budget projects, and I started my own company about seven years ago. PM: They did a few OC episodes without you initially. Do you feel like there was already a music template before you came on?
Alexandra Patsavas (O.C.): I had already worked with the editors on Fastlane and on a couple of features, so I felt like Josh (Schwartz, the show's creator) had a really clear idea of what he wanted for the show. But we also share the same kind of indie-music sensibility, so we can work together. But he's always interested in new music. PM: Has Fox been encouraging with the music choices?
Alexandra Patsavas (O.C.): Definitely. Everybody's been really positive about the music, as has the music community. I mean, all the bands have been really enthusiastic about the show. PM: You haven't had any trouble with bands refusing to do the show that you really wanted?
Alexandra Patsavas (O.C.): We've had bands on that I've never been able to use before: Beck and the Beastie Boys and Bright Eyes, and even someone like the Faint, who are very hard to license. PM: How did the Beastie Boys and Beck things come about?
Alexandra Patsavas (O.C.): Management approached us about the Beastie Boys and thought it would be a great thing for us to do together, and they came down and played us just the one song that was finished at the time. We're all big Beastie Boys fans, so we found a spot to place the song. PM: Was the Rooney episode written with Rooney in mind?
Alexandra Patsavas (O.C.): It was. Josh let me know that we should look for a band to feature, so we went to Rooney, and the script was written after the band was selected. PM: What's the typical day for you?
Alexandra Patsavas (O.C.): There is no typical day for a music supervisor. There are so many things to do. I get about a hundred submissions a day, so a lot of the day is spent listening. I also have to clear and license all the songs, so there is a lot of paperwork on that, but I also go down to work with the editors and spotting sessions. So many things can happen. When we have bands at the bait shop, we really have to organize it like a live date. PM: Do you feel with this show in particular you are working more with the writers because the music is so integrated into the show?
Alexandra Patsavas (O.C.): I've had the real good fortune to be able to work really closely with the writers and the editors, because Josh intended for the music to be a character. PM: What band's are you going to be using on the show in the near future?
Alexandra Patsavas (O.C.): We have the Chemical Brothers and also Lou Barlow and Soulwax. We'll have a track off the new Spoon record as well, which is really, really good.