Daniel Pemberton composed the music for Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Lord and Miller then hired him for their Apple TV+ series The Afterparty, but the job was exponentially more complicated.
“There’s 10 different film genres within this show,” Pemberton said during a panel at Deadline’s Sound & Screen awards-season concert event. “It’s like an action film, there’s a rom-com, there’s a thriller, there’s a David Lynch arthouse movie, there’s animation.”
Pemberton said the rom-com and thriller scores were orchestral, and he conducted them live for the Sound & Screen audience at UCLA’s Royce Hall. Ike Barinholtz’s character, Brett, tells his story like an action movie, which required a different sound.
“Chris went for this kind of more John Wick aesthetic,” Pemberton said. “So I thought OK, we’ll do it more like that. So it’s like rock guitars and more band-based.”
Pemberton’s job got even more complicated when he learned about other musical jokes in the film. The murder victim, Xavier (Dave Franco), starred in a live-action Hungry Hungry Hippos movie, of which we see a clip.
“I did this little thing that goes do do do do do do, Hungry Hungry Hippos,” Pemberton said. “It’s only in for two seconds and it’s like a two-second gag.”
Pemberton said he also had to write an original in the style of Hall and Oates, and every song from Yasper (Ben Schwartz)’s musical episode.
“I always like trying to make music that doesn’t feel like what you’d expect,” Pemberton said. “But in this case, when I was doing the genre films, I had to do exactly what you’d expect to sell those ideas.”
Check back Monday for the panel video.