Emmy-nominated Siddhartha Khosla describes the catchy earworm theme music of “Only Murders in the Building” as “a melody with bouncy chords.” It made the show’s creator John Hoffman feel…
Emmy-nominated Siddhartha Khosla describes the catchy earworm theme music of “Only Murders in the Building” as “a melody with bouncy chords.” It made the show’s creator John Hoffman feel “mystery, drama, lonely and happy,’ Khosla says in a conversation for Variety’s Artisans, presented by HBO.
Khosla landed three Emmy nominations this year, including one for original main title theme for “Only Murders in the Building.” During the conversation, he revealed he’s playing the flute, which he picked up and started “making ridiculous noises and sounds.”
As for the vocals, Khosla tinkered on his piano and put his own voice in. “For the longest time, I have my voice in there and I use this Mellotron,” he explains. He also mixed in an old ladies’ choir and a boy’s choir and combined it all — but it was a placeholder. Or at least, that’s how he intended it to be. When Khosla sent the tune along to the show’s producers, they told him, “Don’t touch this, it’s just cool.”
The glue that holds the theme together is the live orchestra that consists of 40 musicians. At first, there were no drums in the score. Khosla turned to drummer James McAlister, who plays with Sufjan Stevens and the National, and he lined up Home Depot buckets, arranged them like a drum kit and played them.
The biggest easter egg about the first season’s killer is actually in the theme. Khosla says that when he was looking for the sound of New York that was both classic and modern, he thought of the bassoon. “I sent it to the producers and I got a mixed reaction. They all loved it, but they were not telling me something.”
And while he might not have known who the killer was, Khosla says, “In retrospect, they may have known that the killer was going to be the bassoonist and maybe I might have inadvertently given a clue. We committed to it. It ended up being a happy accident when we found out that Jan did it and she was a bassoonist.”