How Unloved Became Killing Eve’s Signature Sound
A successful music supervisor is like a successful chef. Their work behind the scenes, mixing disparate ingredients and coaxing new flavors, often results in a signature all their own. Whether it’s Raphael Saadiq masterfully crafting the soundtrack of Insecure’s Los Angeles, or Amanda Krieg Thomas bringing the sounds of post-War World II back to life in Hollywood, music supervisors play an integral role in solidifying the authenticity of a show.
While the audience focuses on taking in the storyline, they’re simultaneously soaking in all the details that make that carefully constructed world feel real. The importance of set design and costuming can’t be denied, but neither can the power of music to transport viewers — whether those viewers realize it or not. Even if a soundtrack remains firmly in the background, it plays a huge part in setting the tone and emotions of a show, and that couldn’t be truer than with Killing Eve.
From the start of Season 1, the moody, dark sounds of Killing Eve augmented the narrative and mesmerized fans. The dreamy, female-driven vocals, sung by Jade Vincent, are laid over thicker, chugging guitar chords that plunge us further into the drama. I liken it to listening to an '80s shoegaze album you love, only it’s splattered with blood. Who do we have to thank for this genius? Music supervisor Catherine Grieves, and her spot-on collaboration with composer David Holmes.
“Everybody involved with the show wanted it to have a really brilliant soundtrack, so the first thing we wanted to do was get a core composer involved," Grieves tells amc.com. “It's such a complex show, and there are a lot of different tones to be explored. You've got the dark humor and the drama, so you need to have somebody that can really score that effectively. The executive producers and I thought David would be a really good person to talk to, not only because of the style of his scores, but because of his success as a record producer and his knowledge of that world.
“When we met him, he told us about his band Unloved — odd, dark, ticking all those boxes," Grieves continues. "So David and I got to work. We started setting scenes with Unloved tracks and it really seemed to work. During Season 1, David and I were working completely separately, so I'd be pitching songs that I thought would work and David was doing the same, and at some point we realized that we were really on the same page. By the beginning of Season 2, David and I joined forces and did everything as a team tackling it together.”
Grieves and Holmes bounce ideas off of each other, and as each season has had a slightly different flavor, they take cues from the different cities featured in the show. “David and I will find out what countries are being scripted, and then we start building our libraries together," Grieves says. "We text each other songs, and we just try and push it each year finding something a little bit crazier and a little bit more left field — it’s just so much fun.”
One of the coolest projects that Grieves and Holmes have worked on was the release of a vinyl double LP of the Killing Eve soundtrack for Seasons 1 and 2. The records were released through Heavenly Recordings, the same label that has released much of Unloved’s work. “They’re still some of the only bits of official Killing Eve merchandise that you can actually buy, and they’ve been so brilliantly well-received," Grieves says. "We felt like it made sense to do vinyl, and we felt that that there was an audience out there that would appreciate that. I might be biased, but they’re just the most incredible records I think I've ever seen. We really wanted to make sure that they represented the show well. They're different colors and they’re blood-splattered—they’re just really amazing things to hold.”
For those hoping to snag the records, have no fear. It’s true that vinyl collectors can be ruthless when it comes to scoring a particular find, but there are still plenty of copies of the double LP to go around.
Click here to watch the Season 3 Finale of Killing Eve on amc.com, or stream it on the AMC apps for mobile and devices. Check out the on-air schedule here for more encore viewings of Killing Eve on AMC.
For more fascinating intel on Season 3, check out our crew interviews with finale director Damon Thomas, executive producer Sally Woodward Gentle and costume designer Sam Perry, plus cast interviews with stars Fiona Shaw (Carolyn Martens), Raj Bajaj (Mo Jafari), Owen McDonnell (Niko Polastri), Dame Harriet Walter (Dasha), Gemma Whelan (Geraldine), and Sean Delaney (Kenny Stowtown).