Edgar Wright Explains How Kid Koala and Danger Mouse Shaped the 'Baby Driver' Soundtrack
Published Jun 09, 2017Is Edgar Wright more of a movie nerd or a music nerd? It's hard to tell (and that's even considering the 190 movies the British director behind namedropped alongside Quentin Tarantino in the commentary track for Hot Fuzz). Either way, both those passions perfectly collide in Baby Driver, a car chase crime caper about a young getaway driver with a bad case of tinnitus and a seemingly never-ending playlist.
The soundtrack, not surprisingly, is stacked, filled with everything from Dave Brubeck and the Damned to Sam & Dave, Simon & Garfunkel (whose Bridge Over Troubled Water track helped inspire the movie's title) and Sky Ferreira (who also stars in the film alongside Ansel Elgort, John Hamm, Lily James, Jamie Foxx and Kevin Spacey).
When asked how much of a hand the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World director had in selecting the songs for the film's soundtrack, he smiles. With a laugh, he says "100 per cent.... Basically, I wrote the script with the songs written in there, and there's nothing in there I don't like."
While in Toronto as part of his press tour for Baby Driver, Exclaim! sat down with the critically acclaimed and cult-adored filmmaker to talk about the songs he couldn't get for his latest movie, working with Brian Burton (a.k.a. Danger Mouse) on the film's soundtrack, and that time Kid Koala and his gear came to set. Here are three things we learned.
1. There are a number of songs he couldn't get in the movie because they contained uncleared samples.
Madvillain, Mr. Scruff, the Herbalizer and Cyhi the Prynce are four of the hip-hop and electronic acts whose music he wanted in the movie, but couldn't get.
During our Twitter Q&A with the director, he said that in some instances that lead him to acquiring usage rights to the sampled songs in-question instead. So crate-diggers, if a song catches your attention while watching the movie, now you know why.
2. Although the track isn't in the movie, Baby Driver marks the return of Brian Burton to the world of hip-hop.
Now primarily known for his work with James Mercer in Broken Bells, collaborations with CeeLo Green in Gnarls Barkley and all-around production wizardry for the likes of the Black Keys, Beck, U2 and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Burton first made a name for himself as Danger Mouse while making beats, first with rapper Jemini, and later The Grey Album, a Beatles-meets-Jay-Z mash-up that practically elevated the process to an art-form.
The Baby Driver soundtrack marks his most recent return to the world of hip-hop, collaborating with Run the Jewels and Big Boi on a track that samples the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion song "Bellbottoms," which is used at the start of the film in a soon-to-be iconic scene.
"It was Brian Burton's idea," Wright says. "He's releasing the soundtrack album on his label [30th Century Records], and at first we thought of doing a little EP of people covering some songs that were in the movie, and he said, 'Oh, I've got an idea actually.'"
Suffice to say, the song slays.
3. Ansel Elgort used Kid Koala's audio gear in the film.
One of Baby's (played by Elgort) quirkiest character traits, aside from a constant need to play music in his headphones to drown out his tinnitus, is his love of recording and remixing everyday conversations.
"In the script I'd written it in that Baby makes a song out of all the dialogue, and I just gave it to Eric [San, a.k.a. Kid Koala]," Wright says. "I think we did it from a read-through and we recorded Spacey and [Jon] Bernthal from that and then he made the track. So when there's that scene where they're listening to the track back, they're actually listening to it.
"And actually, Kid Koala came down on the day and showed Ansel how to use all the equipment. So all the equipment in that scene is actually Kid Koala's stuff."
Baby Driver races into theatres on June 28.