A perfectly chosen song has the ability to heighten a scene and make it even more memorable. Teen Wolf music is amazing and we are obsessed! We had the chance to chat with Laura Webb, the Music Supervisor at MTV’s Teen Wolf about how she picks the iconic songs that shape Teen Wolf and her favorite songs from the show. She even shared some super cool Teen Wolf music news! Check it out!
Meg Bonney: Hi Laura, thank you so much for taking the time to chat! What can you tell us about your process for picking songs? Do you try to match the episode’s tone or do you try to get into the character’s head a little bit?
Laura Webb: It’s a combination of things. I look at the script, I talk to the editors. And also, it’s sort of like, okay – what would this character listen to? What is that? Will it be a song playing over a whole montage? Does it work for the whole scene? We look at it really hard. Like we’ll say, “no, I don’t think Stiles would listen to that,” or we try to think like Lydia and her personality. So, really it’s kind of all of it.
And then it’s also the non-fun part. Can we afford it? Will it clear? Did you get all of the permissions and rights to get it cleared? And sometimes the quote for the song is way out of our budget so it’s all of that too. And the producers and the network weigh in too because sometimes they have a different opinion about what songs should be in there. It’s kind of a multi-faceted process.
MB: It sounds like it! With it being on MTV, do you feel like they have more opinions on what songs go in the episodes?
LW: No, they definitely want there to be music moments and I do too. At first they wanted more recognizable songs but as the show went on, it sort of became a place to break bands. But no, there is no mandate to play the top 40 or anything like that.
MB: I love that you pick a lot of indie tracks. Like Aurora! It really just opens the door to the rest of their catalog for fans of the show. I love all of her songs now.
LW: Yes, thank you. I try to pick songs that haven’t been used a lot because I want the fans to have a new moment with that song in that scene. Instead of, oh – I just heard this on Pretty Little Liars. All of these other places do great work too, but I just want it to have its own moment for these characters.
MB: Yes, and you have to love that fans will use these songs to represent the characters and the couples. They will make videos and use these songs over and over.
LW: Yes, and when I meet artists after a placement has happened they are like, “What’s a Scallison? What’s a Stydia? My page is filled with that – what is it?”
MB: That’s so funny!
LW: They get a lot of new fans from it. But it’s funny, they always say “What is that? An old medical disease?” And I guess Scallison does sound like one.
MB: Scallison does sound like an old pirate disease or something.
LW: Like if you were in the water too long – you got a Scallison.
MB: That’s hilarious. Was there ever a song you wanted but couldn’t get?
LW: No, we always got ones we liked just as much. Actually, here’s a couple fun facts. Russell Mulcahy – who directed the pilot – is also a legendary music video director. He actually directed the first music video on MTV, Video Killed the Radio Star by the Buggles. We got a little meta and had a song in the pilot called Internet Killed the Video Star by the Limousines which was out little wink to Russell.
Anyway, the other fun thing was that Russell directed all of the Duran, Duran videos and he is still really close with them. So we worked with the band on this remix of Hungry Like the Wolf, which would have been awesome. We really wanted that for our theme song. But it just kind of got over ruled and other people had opinions, but that would have been very cool. So that made it very fun and full circle when we had our 80s flash back in 6a, and Russell actually directed that episode! So that felt good that we got to use it. It would have been cool to use but, with that being said, I couldn’t imagine any other song for our theme song now.
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MB: I love that! Is there a song or scene that is the most memorable to you?
LW: There are just so many! We are actually putting out a soundtrack. We are doing a “best of” soundtrack and it will be released in September, which is really exciting and we are excited to bring that to everybody! We did cut it down and it was really hard. It’s fifteen songs that we felt really captured the series. There are ones I really like. I really love sad songs and finding sad songs. So the two that stand out to me – because I think I had such an attachment to them before we put it in anywhere and because I love the songs so much that I wanted them to be somewhere. One is in Season 3, at the end of 3×24 when Aiden dies and it’s sort of the end of everything and it’s very sad, it’s a song called My Own by Whitaker. I just loved that song and I couldn’t listen to it without crying.
LW: The next one is in the beginning of Season 5, episode 5×01 when they’re going to sign their names for the senior scribe in the library. Its a band called FAMY and the song’s called Ava. And again, that was just a song I loved and it wasn’t even sent to me. I found it on YouTube because sometimes I go down a wormhole on YouTube or other avenues to discover music. I played it for the editor of that episode and we thought it was so beautiful so we just made it work. There are just so many. We are so fortunate to use such great bands and we are so grateful to all of them.
MB: That’s awesome! I have to ask about the “best of” CD. Has that been announced yet?
LW: Not officially. Sony Masterworks is releasing it and we are just approving all of the key artwork and all that. I am told the tentative date for the CD is September 15th. It’s going to be two actually. The “best of” score by Dino Meneghin, which is really exciting because his music has never been released anywhere and I know fans are always asking for it. And then the other CD will be the “best of” songs from the show!
MB: How exciting! A “best of” CD really makes it feel like the end of something. Was there a big difference in how you picked songs for 6b versus Season 1, when things were a little more chipper?
LW: We definitely played into the theme of fear because fear has taken hold of Beacon Hills. So yeah, isolation and fear was a big theme obviously.
MB: I love that. What is your favorite type of music or biggest influence in your musical taste?
LW: That’s hard. The producers always tease me because I am big Anglophile and I love a lot of Scandinavian music. So they joke and ask if I ever use American artists – which I do! I went to high school in Germany actually, so maybe I am leaning more toward the European sound and I kind of always have. Like, even before we moved there I had. I think a lot of what influences you is what you listened to in high school, like for me it was Radiohead and Massive Attack and the Trainspotting soundtrack. That soundtrack is one of the big reasons I do what I do. The way they used the Britt pop sound was big for me. And also Jeff Buckley, who is just one of the best singer/songwriters and I love those sad songs.
MB: What is up next for you?
LW: We actually just finished Teen Wolf and I am working on the soundtrack so I haven’t even shipped that show away yet. But I am starting on a new show for Freeform called Siren. And I am working on a young adult movie with a really great director, Scott Speer, called Break My Heart 1,000 Times and there is also a supernatural element to that, so I am staying in the supernatural family. It’s a ghost story but is also sort of about loss and how we deal with that.
MB: Those sound great!
LW: Yeah, I am really excited about both.
MB: You have an entire fan base to follow you to both and we can’t wait to hear the songs you pick for those! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat!
What’s your favorite musical moment from Teen Wolf? Hit the comments or find us on Twitter!
Also, how pumped are you for the Teen Wolf soundtrack in September?!
Head to our Teen Wolf Lair for recaps and news on the series!
Watch Teen Wolf Sundays at 8:00/7:00(c) on MTV.
Photo credit: MTV
This interview has been edited for length and content.