Fallout music
Walton Goggins in Fallout (Credit: Prime)

Ramin Djawadi and music supervisor Trygge Toven make the world of Fallout an especially enjoyable experience for the ears. The frequent Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy collaborators blend the past, present, and future with their funky score and song choices.

It’s a big, eccentric world that allowed for far-out choices. “There are so many different worlds converging,” Toven told Immersive. “The characters all start out in their own worlds, and they kind of converge as the season goes on. So I think it was really fun to find what the sound of each of those characters in their worlds sounded like, and then how to kind of connect those dots over the season as well, to where you’re still true to the characters in their sound, but then how all the worlds kind of collide by the end.”

Two characters who collide early on in the post-apocalyptic journey, the Ghoul (Walton Goggins) and Jane (Elle Purnell). They go on the anti-buddy comedy adventure. The two star characters are a part of the heart and horror of Fallout and open or close each other’s eyes a bit.

Recently, Djawadi and Toven spoke with Immersive Media about bringing these two characters together, musically speaking.

Ramin, when you’re scoring the Ghoul, how much of the remnants did you want from Cooper Howard’s past life? Trygge, how did you want to define Cooper Howard’s life musically with the past?

Ramin: The melodies absolutely connect. I mean, the cleanest version, I guess you could say, that we hear of Cooper Howard’s theme or the Ghoul’s theme is on TV. He sees that Western clip of when he’s acting. The theme is actually in there, just very much played as a spaghetti Western Morricone-inspired-type score. And then cut to the Ghoul where everything gets dismantled with broken instruments and rattling things and scratching. I mean, there’s all kinds of noises and there’s an electric fretless bass in there. And so, it’s just playing this or taking elements from the melody or even the full melody at times and playing it on completely different instruments and arrangements.

Trygge: Obviously the worlds, we didn’t play up too many songs over the Ghoul. The songs are playing up the irony a lot with the characters, but there’s not as much irony in his character. You get what you get once he’s the Ghoul, but obviously, in the past you’re setting up this movie star. There’s a lot of different versions of going back to his old life and the old world and the way it was.

I think that was just kind of really kind of soundtracking how good things were before, at least where he thought it was. I think that was also really cool to set the tone of the time period, and it’s not obviously our world and our time period, but it mirrors that a lot. Especially the parties at his house, the grooving vibe is there.

Fallout music
Elle Purnell and Kyle Kyle MacLachlan in Fallout (Credit: Prime)

Given the tone of the show, what were some out-of-the-box stranger choices you feel like you could make? Especially with Lucy’s vault life.

Ramin: Well, one thing that comes to mind is the ritual that comes out of nowhere. I remember the first time I even saw it, I was like, whoa, where did that come from? And then musically, all the characters surrounding the shrine or whatever you want to call it, they’re all making these swishing noises.

So, we decided to just pick up on that with the score and enhance that with the choir and really dive more into that. And that was really a one-off piece that was necessary for something that is just so strange.

Trygge: I think a lot of those choices are playing up more the comedic angle. It’s kind of very similar music as we had in the first couple of episodes. It’s comedic in those same lyric, but you’re listening to it in a different way as things open up to you for the audience.

How did you want to express her growth or regression? What instruments and songs did you want to define her journey?

Ramin: Well, let me think. The pure version is piano and strings. That feels very clean. But then from there it kind of goes more into her themes and motifs and gets more played with the wasteland-type sounds, which again, are more broken instruments. Piano, it’s more out of tune. Things are just not as clean anymore. And so, it kind of gets more into the Ghoul world of sounds really.

Trygge: I think you’re trying to see a growth of the characters obviously, especially it’s mainly Lucy going through this transformation through the whole season. I think kind of that realization of what reality is trying to creep in with the choice of the songs as well. I always like how we go.

We have a few more vault style songs at the end, the last episode, and I always thought of that as more of a hearkening back like, oh, let’s go back to that version of reality. It’s especially there with Nat King Cole over where they kind go to war, when they’re trying to break in. And that just feels like, oh, can we all just go back to that happy life? I think that’s the way I saw it as a hearkening back to the beginning of her journey.

Fallout is available to stream on Prime.

Jack Giroux

In high school, Jack would skip classes to interview filmmakers. With 15 years in film journalism, he's contributed to outlets such as Thrillist, Music Connection Magazine, and High Times Magazine. He's witnessed explosions, attended satanic rituals, and scaled volcanoes in his career, but Jack's true passion is interviewing artists.