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Sunday, October 7, 2012
Music Supervisor for the hit WB Network TV show – The OC – Alexandra Patsavas
Guns, sex, incarceration, violence, addiction and getting ready for prom… These are all very dramatic situations that plague our every day lives while living in the wealthy neighborhoods of California. Will Brenda break up with Dylan? Is Pacey going to die? These are the questions that ensure our summers won't end soon enough, however for those that don't really care (and don't even know that Pacey isn't a character), The OC still manages to leave us with probably the most puzzling question of all- why are Abercrombie clones rocking out to a Matt Pond PA cover of a Neutral Milk Hotel song? Who is responsible for this apparent injustice and how can they be stopped?
Her name is Alexandra Patsavas, music supervisor for The OC.
My initial intention was to grill her. To do some serious investigative reporting and uncover the dark exploitative truth about indie rock being on The OC. However, and I am somewhat sad to report, it's all legit. Indie snobs, do not read on because as I was doing this interview not only did I learn that Ms. Patsavas is 100% on the real, but the cast and staff are as well. *sigh* It's a dark day for elitism.
reprinted with permission by AJ at Altsounds.com
Can you give me a brief work history, pre-OC?
I used to be a college promoter and bring bands to campus. Then I was in Los Angeles working in the Film/TV department of BMI which is where I got started in the music supervision. In 1995 is when I officially started working with Roger Corman on Roswell and Boston Public.
How did you end up working on the OC?
I was working with the executive producer when he was working on Fastlane and he introduced me to Josh who created The OC.
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Are you a fan of the show?
Yeah I love it
I have to be honest with you, I have seen maybe 2 episodes ever.
Aww, we'll have to change that. Why don't you watch?
Well, I was already in high school once…and I have no interest in reliving it, even with the addition of sex, drugs and guns.
Ahhh, I see what you're saying. You should check it out though, I think you would really like it.
Maaaaaybe. We'll see. You pick a lot of indie rock and underground stuff, is that what you listen to?
It is. I am a big fan..have been since the late 80s when it was called Alternative and College Rock. That's definitely what I listen to, so I am glad to be able to have it on the show.
As a fan of the underground, how do you feel about making the music so trendy by having it on one of the most popular shows on television?
We're all big fans of that music on the show. I mean, that's what we listen to, Josh, the actors, me, everyone. So it seemed natural to put that music in the show. It's not about making it trendy, it's about it fitting the show.
You know Alexandra, you're melting away my preconceptions about the show right now. I really thought that it would all be more contrived and more like exploiting indie rock. I had no idea that you all seriously like the music and would be listening to it even if it weren't in the show. This is really changing my perception of things.
Yeah, I always laugh when I read the criticisms. It's more genuine than people want to give us credit for.
How do you pick the music? Do people submit it to you or do you seek it out?
People submit things to me mostly. I get about 3-400 CDs per week from publishers, managers and labels. I have been getting things from the US, Canada, the UK, Germany…recently I have been getting a lot of Swedish music. I sift through it all and try to listen to everything. If I think it will fit someplace, I put it aside.
How involved are you in the show? Since you're picking the music do you have to work with the writers and producers and everyone else to make sure you have the right song for the right scene?
If a band is actually playing on the show, then I am definitely there. It's no different than booking a show. I have to be on set for the on camera performances. But, like I said everyone who works with the show is really into music, so the writers will script in certain songs sometimes or have ideas about what they want to have in there. I make compilations every week with song suggestions and ideas.
What is your criteria for having songs on the show?
Well, I make the initial compilations which are just broad strokes. There are no limitations though. We have some 80s and 90s Alternative, but we do try to keep the show as current as possible. Each episode has a budget, so sometimes we have to change the songs to fit within the budget, but aside from that, there are no restrictions.
Do you think your music selection has attracted viewers to the show that might otherwise not be interested? Or the other way around?
I don't know about all that. I think the people that watch the show and like the show also like the music.
What does it take to get a band actually ON the OC?
Like a live on camera performance?
Well, the writers and producers created the venue specifically to have the characters see live bands. The bands we pick are usually bands some (or all) of us have seen live and really liked. It's complicated to work out all the details, since the bands we choose are usually on tour we have to get them off tour for about a week. An episode takes 8 days to shoot, plus there are extras and all that. I heard The Killers demo early on during season 1. We saw them live opening for Morrissey and knew they would be perfect to perform on the show. So, most of it is based on bands we really like seeing live.
What bands do you have coming up on the show?
We have a lot of big stuff planned. Ladytron, Rogue Wave, Calla, The Talk…and The Subways will be doing a live performance. They perform the single off the OC Mix 5.