She’s set the hip tone before the Bride’s bloody samurai battle in the House of Blue Leaves in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Vol. 1 with “Woo Hoo” from Japanese girl band The 18.104.22.168’s and she’s made Margaret Qualley’s hippie character Pussycat jump for joy to Neil Diamond’s “Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show” in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
During her 25-year-plus career, Mary Ramos has worked in various capacities as a music supervisor for Quentin Tarantino over a dozen movies, and this Emmy season she’s the music supervisor on Hulu’s Kerry Washington-Reese Witherspoon limited series drama Little Fires Everywhere and the Dahvi Waller-created FX limited series Mrs. America about the 1970s liberal feminist crusaders of the Equal Rights Amendment, i.e. Gloria Steinem, Brenda Feigen-Fasteau, Shirley Chisholm, Bella Azbug, and Betty Friedan and their conservative foe Phyllis Schlafly.
Music supervision is far from being a plug-and-play position in the film and TV world. There’s an art to it, and Ramos shares with us her process on how she makes “playlists” for the main characters, which in turn assist the actors’ preparation. If you hear a song, there’s a distinctive reason why it’s there, i.e. there’s no such thing as a coincidence when we hear Cass Elliot’s 1968 bubbly inspirational song “Make Your Own Kind of Music” as we see Steinem gathering with her feminists for a revolution in the final moments of Mrs. America‘s episode 1. Or how each year covered in Mrs. America appropriately had songs from that time to reflect its character’s mood in a given scene.
On Little Fires Everywhere, Ramos worked with composer Mark Isham and Isabella Summers on both the score and remixes of ’90s songs. Click below to listen to our interview below with Ramos about making music for Tarantino (i.e. getting Neil Diamond’s permission to use “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” for Pulp Fiction), Mrs. America and Little Fires Everywhere.