Interview Ramin Djawadi

Game of Thrones composer Ramin Djawadi on the rising prominence of film and TV scores

(Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Game of Thrones composer Ramin Djawadi is still criss-crossing North America treating fans to the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience. He and his orchestra are at Madison Square Garden in New York City tonight — then he works his way down the east coast before landing in Tampa on Sunday. The Tampa Bay Times spoke to Djawadi in preparation for his visit.

Djawadi has written a ton of music for Game of Thrones over the years, but which piece is his favorite? “It really depends on the project, but one thing that always comes to mind is The Light of the Seven.” That’ll be the song that plays when Cersei blows up the Sept of Baelor in the season 6 finale, definitely one of the more evocative pieces from the recent seasons. “It was one of the last things I wrote for the show.”

Not every TV composer gets to travel a continent with their work, but the music on Game of Thrones has become especially popular, starting with its memorable main theme. How does Djawadi feel about film and TV scores attaining this level of penetration? “It sort of reminds me of the scores from the ’70s and ’80s,” Djawadi said. “In my childhood with a lot of those shows, I would get so excited when that theme would come on. As time went on, main titles got shorter and shorter. Now they’re becoming popular again with nice long introductions. Both Westworld and Game of Thrones main titles are almost two minutes long.”

I love getting time to write a piece of music that can settle in and set the tone of the show. The idea is, even when you aren’t watching the show, you get reminded of it and it travels with you.

Of course, Djawadi had to talk up the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience for people who haven’t been yet, teasing a new arrangement of “The Rains of Castamere” as especially interesting.

It’s been really hard to explain how visual it is. It’s not a classical concert, it’s not a rock concert. It’s kind of that in between we try to achieve, and I think we have. There’s show footage, live musical performances, pyrotechnics and even snow.


 

Finally, the most important question: which House of Westeros would Djawadi belong to?

I guess I … well, that’s hard. I think I’m bad. Whoever is sort of leading, really. I’m like, “Oh, I want to be with the Boltons. Oh, wait, the Starks are coming back. Oh, wait, it’s the Lannisters now.” I like that everything falls off balance and you never know what’s going to happen next.

We won’t hold that against him. Here’s where the Live Concert Experience is heading next:

  • 3/07: New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
  • 3/09: Charlotte, NC – Time Warner Cable Arena
  • 3/11: Ft. Lauderdale, FL – BB&T Center
  • 3/12: Tampa, FL – Amalie Arena
  • 3/14: Atlanta, GA – Philips Arena
  • 3/16: San Antonio, TX – AT&T Center
  • 3/17: Houston, TX – Toyota Center
  • 3/19: Denver, CO – Pepsi Center
  • 3/23: Los Angeles, CA – The Forum
  • 3/25: Las Vegas, NV – MGM Grand Garden Arena
  • 3/26: Phoenix, AZ – TalkingStick Resort Arena
  • 3/29: San Jose, CA – SAP Center
  • 3/31: Seattle, WA – Key Arena
  • 4/1: Vancouver, BC – Rogers Arena
  • 4/2: Portland, OR – Moda Center

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