For the first time in Emmy history, musical supervisors are receiving recognition from the TV Academy. It was only two years ago that these soundtrack architects were allowed to join the organization. One of those leading the charge is Thomas Golubic whose music supervision credits have appeared on such shows as Six Feet Under, Ray Donovan, The Walking Dead, Halt and Catch Fire, Grace and Frankie and Better Call Saul, the latter which he is currently nominated for in the new category of Outstanding Music Supervision.
Golubic’s track record clearly proves that music supervision isn’t just a mere job of tricking out an episode with a jukebox of tunes, rather it’s a means by which a musical curator heightens character and emphasizes dramatic tensions via song or an instrumental piece. It comes as no surprise to see that most edgy TV shows on cable have arguably reduced the amount of score in their episodes in exchange for the sonic palette a music supervisor can deliver.
As a former DJ, music programmer and on-air host for LA’s KCRW 89.9 FM, Golubic knows plenty when it comes to fresh, eclectic and burgeoning alternative musical artists, and it’s that knowledge and accessibility which showrunners prize in him. Some of the tunes which Golubic tapped for Better Call Saul include Canadian Jazz band BadBadNotGood whose techno high pitches, bell noises and rapid drums in the track “Can’t Leave the Night” bring suspense to a scene in episode one from last season where Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks) dismantles his car looking for a tracking device. Then there’s Little Richard’s intense Gospel-soul song “Hurry Sundown” which just punctuates Jimmy McGill’s blues when he’s booked and finger-printed in episode 3. The sophisticated electronica-percussion fueled “Alfonso Muskedunder” from Scandinavian dance music impresario Todd Terje provides a vibrant superwoman anthem for Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) when we see her nonstop at work in episode 3. The binary procedure of a Pollos Hermano drug transfer montage in episode 6 becomes even more interesting when it’s set to touches of Texana tones in Chuy Flores’ “Methadone”. Trip-hop producer Fink generates a heavy electric guitar strum and bluesy vocals in “Cold Feet”, raising the suspense in a montage where Nacho (Michael Mando) prepares to slip Hector (Mark Margolis) fake pills in episode 8. And Golubic relies on melancholy piano and soft horns for when Jimmy discovers that his brother Chuck (Michael McKean) is actually living with electricity in episode 10 with Miles Davis’ “It Never Entered My Mind”.
Golubic was twice nominated at the Grammys for producing volumes 1 and 2 of the Six Feet Under soundtrack album, and with former partner Gary Calamar was responsible for the use of Sia’s “Breathe Me” in the final scene of the series. Here’s our interview with Golubic, the last Crew Call Podcast of Emmy season 2017.