LOVE ISLAND Executive Producer Dishes on the Fun Soundtrack - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

LOVE ISLAND Executive Producer Dishes on the Fun Soundtrack

August 6, 2019 by  

Love Island USA Music

American viewers will get their own LOVE ISLAND this summer. The U.S. version of the international reality sensation filled with romance and relationships will premiere Tuesday, July 9 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. New episodes will air every weeknight (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) through Wednesday, August 7.

CBS’ LOVE ISLAND has been a delightfully weird experiment, as the network has aired the exploits of contestants as they attempt to find love (and survive the game) in a Fijian villa. And while there has been much to enjoy about the show, the music they’ve managed to score has been incredible.

From modern music (“Lover”-era Taylor Swift) to covers of classic songs to tunes that get worked into the Narrator’s jokes (Paula Cole’s “I Don’t Want to Wait”), the tracks have formed a killer playlist and helped shape the show into what is is.

Ahead of its Wednesday, August 7 season 1 finale—the show has already been renewed—executive producer Simon Thomas answered a few emailed questions about their musical process…

When the show started, what were the goals for its soundtrack? How has that evolved both as the season progressed and the contestants changed?
In many ways LOVE ISLAND is a “feeling.” It’s not just the content or story, it’s more than that. You want to come out of watching LOVE ISLAND having felt something: happy, sad, excited…so the music needs to support that and, really, it’s one of the most important parts of making that happen. We try to look far and wide for non-obvious, but well-known songs (or not well known versions of obvious songs). What I would say is that the plan didn’t change with the contestants—we sort of set ourselves up with a “pantry” of music, and then select the appropriate songs for the situations that develop.

Part of making sure we hit that quality level we set for ourselves was crewing. Two of our most senior producers have extensive music experience—EP Ben Thursby-Palmer came from making a long list of music entertainment programs like THE X FACTOR both here and in the UK, BRITAIN/AMERICA’S GOT TALENT and others. Ben was instrumental in how the music was used to enhance content in those shows, and has brought his expertise here.

Another key hire was Iona Mackenzie, who, again, has X FACTOR experience, but even more importantly, worked on multiple series of the UK LOVE ISLAND. In many ways she was instrumental in helping establish the sound of that show and has brought that with her. We also work with an incredibly experienced music supervising team who have great connections at record labels and their own knowledge and experience.

What is the actual turnaround process for finding the right song for the right moment? Obviously, the action is happening pretty close to air and a cut needs to be turned around within a couple of days (or shorter), so did the team start off with a roster of songs and it’s a pick and choose situation or are you seeking out songs when occasions pop up?
We start clearing songs for potential use months out. We’re too close to air to clear as we go—we make each show in a little under 24 hours and that’s including shooting. As we see the sorts of stories coming out of the villa on a day-to-day basis, the creative team starts to pull tracks for the editors to use in the key moments of the show.

We edit the whole show out of makeshift edit suites about 500 yards from the villa in Fiji; the entire edit facility is made out of shipping containers. It’s not unusual to see Ben and Iona sitting at a make shift table outside of the edit suites at 4am, going through songs in our “library” trying to find the perfect track to match the moment that has just been shot hours before. Our editors and producers are all excellent creatives in their own right, and have great ideas too, it’s basically all hands on deck to find the right song for the right moment, and then it’s in those editors’ hands to make the whole thing really punch home.

If you’re crying at home, it’s their fault. All things going well, they find the right song, it’s paired with the scene, and you’re watching it play out on air eight hours later.

What is the balance like in knowing when it’s right to have the narrator comment on the song vs. just let it be?
The narrator and the guys he works with watch the show like you do at home—we make it and as the final step he watches it and works on the commentary from there. We might have some spaces where we need something: “Kyra & Cashel are chatting in the fire pit,” but what he does is purely commentary on what he’s seeing. So if he has something funny to say about a song, he says it! We don’t plan for it or tell him to.

Which song has been the most difficult to get into the show? What is your dream one to work into a future episode?
We love covers of iconic songs that have a twist on them–indie versions of classics, current pop songs with a twist. And unfortunately not all songs are clearable due to all sorts of reasons. There was a big epic cover of “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child we couldn’t get cleared in time that we hope to get our hands on next year. But all in all we’re thrilled

Is there anything else you want fans to know about the process of finding your music for the show?
We love hearing when people love a track in the show—in the UK they’ve broken new artists on the show with one great song choice. It’s not the goal, but hopefully we’ll get a chance to do that at some point.

LOVE ISLAND, Weeknights, 8/7c, CBS


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2 Responses to “LOVE ISLAND Executive Producer Dishes on the Fun Soundtrack”

  1. James on August 6th, 2019 10:34 pm

    Wow, so they already had “Arcade” by Duncan Laurence in mind ahead of the show’s airing? Nice! 😀

  2. Ghudzilla on August 11th, 2019 1:26 am

    Please use JoJo’s songs next season. She got a lot of good love songs and heartbroken songs.