What was it like working with Skrillex on Spring Breakers?
I didn’t know who he was. My introduction was seeing a rough cut of the film and the opening sequence of the girls jumping up and down in the water to “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites”. Skrillex was there, and I was just dumbfounded by his music. That’s probably one of his greatest pieces, and to put that with those images… I was intimidated. And originally I wasn’t going to do it, because the script didn’t seem very good. And the money wasn’t very good, and they were going to pay me in frozen shrimp! But then I saw that, and thought “That’s great.” That’s the theme for the whole movie, let me just take that and write some stuff with that melody and those changes. Skrillex was all sheepish, and said “That’s so 2013, that’s my old stuff.” And we’re like “Dude, don’t make us feel old!” I loved it. It just seemed to work out.
Who’s idea was the orchestral version of ‘Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites’?
Mine. I didn’t get any encouragement for that idea. [Director] Harmony Korine already had something else over it, I think it was Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings", and they were just going to buy that song. But I said “It’s the most important real estate in the whole film. Let me try this other thing with “Scary Monsters””. I played it for him, and he high-fived me, and that was that. The original is so up tempo, so it’s almost unrecognisable.
Spring Breakers feels like a very improvised film — did it change a lot as you were working on it?
No I was brought in very late, it was almost a locked picture. And all the temp score and Skrillex stuff was there, and the songs were bought and paid for. It was very a very advanced cut when I saw it, it all seemed very complete. It didn’t change a lot. For as abstract as it was, Harmony wasn’t very abstract to work with. He was very grounded.
Were you worried about trying to be down with the kids on Spring Breakers?
Yeah, I was pretty intimidated at first. I thought I had to sound like Skrillex. Maybe Skrillex was thinking he had to sound like me to a small degree. Cause he wrote a ton of stuff too, that doesn’t sound as typical for him, that’s not as aggressive, as beat driven. I wrote a couple of beat driven things that weren’t typical of what I do. So yeah, it was a bit intimidating. But I think Harmony and the picture editor Doug Crise put together such a blend — there was like 15 song that were not Skrillex, that were other people. There was this really aggressive hip-hop, there were the Skrillex songs, there was his underscore, there was my underscore, and somehow the stuff managed to fit together cohesively. I didn’t do that, I just followed the blueprint and try to fit in.