‘The White Lotus’ Composer Cristobal Tapia De Veer Discusses “Savage” Motifs Of His Iconic Title Theme – Sound & Screen TV
The title theme from The White Lotus has become iconic, but composer Cristobal Tapia de Veer said he took a very experimental approach to crafting the music for the HBO series.
“We didn’t have that much time to really think and make plans and anything like that. I had like three or four weeks before the mix when [creator Mike White] called me. So it was very much it, ‘Either it works, or it doesn’t,'” de Veer said during an appearance at Deadline’s Sound & Screen awards-season event.
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Season 1 is set in Hawaii, and the theme music definitely sets the tone. But de Veer explained that he wasn’t trying to imitate the music of Hawaii or “mimic anything.” Instead, he was focused on creating a sequence that would connect to the story’s underlying motifs.
“I was trying to find a place where I feel like a savage at some point. And then to me, this translated with the characters because, to me, the [characters] are, in a way, savages,” he said. “It’s a relationship between tourists, and the way they use people, the way they don’t seem to connect with nature. Wherever they go, they seemed to abuse it.”
Luckily, White loved it. When it came time for Season 2, de Veer nearly didn’t have the chance to rework his memorable title music for Sicily due to scheduling conflicts. But he managed to make it work.
“I became really insecure about what I did with this dance track. It sounded too clean. … I was happy when I did it, which is very fast. I always work very fast. But then I started thinking about it, and I wasn’t sure,” he said. “So after maybe a month or two months, I sent it. I said, ‘Well, whatever happens they’re probably not gonna like it.'”
Of course, we now know that White and his team did like it, since it was used in the opening for Season 2. So, can audiences expect the title theme to stick around for Season 3? We’ll have to wait and see, de Veer said.
In fact, he may have been inspired by the orchestra to take a different approach.
“I really liked this orchestral thing. I might go with the orchestral. We’ll see,” he said. “I mean, it has to fit Thailand, but it doesn’t mean that it has to mimic local music or anything like that.”
Check out the panel video above.
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