When a producer like Barbara Broccoli flies to your concert and hands you 23 pages from the next James Bond script, you could say you’ve landed the job of writing the pic’s theme song.
However, multi-Grammy winners Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell remain humble, saying that at really no point in time were they sure they were a lock for the No Time to Die theme. Let’s face it, Bond, which skews older, needs young fans, and if there’s a window to millennials it’s Eilish, who counts close to 200 million followers on social media.
“We didn’t have the feeling, we’re the perfect people to do this,” says Eilish about being approached to write the title theme to Bond 25. “We didn’t feel worthy at all.”
“It was not a ‘You have the job’ thing, it’s, ‘Let’s see if you have the thing that it takes’ kind of thing,” the bluesy singer adds. Two events made them realize that their tune was a go: an advance screening of the 2019 movie in London, and Daniel Craig’s final blessing.
On Deadline’s Crew Call podcast, the songwriting duo talk about their process (“It started with a couple of days of not knowing what the f*ck to do,” admits Eilish), their self-imposed “rules” to writing a 007 anthem (that minor 9 chord), discovering the song while on tour, and making way for a cameo by the orchestra in the song that went on to win Golden Globe, Grammy and Critics Choice awards.
“No Time to Die” is the sixth 007 theme to be nominated at the Oscars since Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die” in 1974; the last two Bond songs to take home an Academy Award for Best Song were Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith’s “Writing’s on the Wall” from Spectre in 2016 and Adele and Paul Epworth’s “Skyfall” from the same-titled movie in 2013.
And while the mere feat of writing songs for the movies carries a reputation of too-many-cooks-in-the-kitchen, Eilish and O’Connell tell Deadline that they’re coming back for more; in fact, they already have with three ditties on Disney/Pixar’s Turning Red: “1 True Love”, “Nobody Like U” and “U Know What’s Up.”
“Film is a good way for us to invite people in,” says O’Connell. “With our albums they’re personal to us; if people were coming in and giving us a million ideas, we’d maybe be annoyed, but with a film, it’s like, no sweat.”
Eilish and O’Connell have a full tour schedule ahead of them, so don’t expect any surprise gigs like Prince used to do at the last minute back when The House of Blues was around in L.A. However, the whole notion of a “crash” gig around town intrigues O’Connell.
“We’d have to be a little more guerilla with a show like that — we’d have to bring our stuff in the trunk of a car,” he tells us.
“Here’s my bet — and I could be wrong — I bet when we’re making Billie’s next album, and not on tour in earnest, we do a couple of those shows,” O’Connell teases. “Maybe we’ll do that thing where everybody puts their phone in a bag.”
Listen to our conversation below:
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