‘Last Night in Soho’ Composer Steven Price on Film’s Score and Anya Taylor-Joy’s “Downtown”

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Oscar and Emmy-winning composer Steven Price channeled his love of music from the ‘60s in his latest work on Edgar Wright’s thriller Last Night in Soho.

The film follows Ellie, played by Thomasin McKenzie, who begins to find herself transported between the present day and London in the 1960s, where she enters the body of a singer played by Anya Taylor-Joy.  Price, the film’s composer who additionally produced extended versions of “Downtown” performed by Taylor-Joy, is the guest in a new episode of The Hollywood Reporter‘s Behind the Screen.

“At the script stage I was aware there was this sequence where her character Sandie is going to be doing an audition and she sings a version of “Downtown” and we didn’t know quite how we were going to accomplish this,” Price recalls in the podcast. “We basically, very early one morning, just got together with myself, a pianist and Anya and Edgar. And it’s like, well, this is what we want to do. This is the song ‘Downtown.’ Let’s have a go. And she just blew us away. She just kind of sang this brilliant version of it, you know? And I suggested we went a bit slower and we made it a bit more kind of a moody spooky version. She immediately grasped that and has this brilliant breathy kind of quality to her voice, which just made it sound kind of spooky, wonderful, weird, but perfect for the character.”

Price remembers that after that was recorded, he and Wright discussed including more of Taylor-Joy’s singing. “She’s now the central voice in the score,” he explains, adding that Sandie sings a “siren song calling us back to the ’60s, all the time, wherever Ellie is.”

When the film was completed, they decided to record three more songs including a ’60s style version of “Downtown” and “You’re My World.” The composer relates that while recording, Wright (with whom he also collaborated on Baby Driver, The World’s End and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) said, “‘we should do a version [of ‘Downtown’]that builds on the trailer, we should do a version as this mysterious version.’ And I’m sitting there with 15 musicians in the room with no plan whatsoever for doing this.”

He chuckles as he says, “This is the first that we discussed it and it was great. We just kind of, you know, chose a tempo. … We changed the arrangement of the strings and we recorded this spooky version with all the backing vocals live in the room. Everyone playing together, really sort of a slowed down spooky version of ‘Downtown,’ which I then took away to my studio and added some of the sounds that are associated with the score. So there’s mellotrons and a little bit of bass stuff and various keyboards and guitars that I played here. And then we got Anya to do another vocal on it, over in LA., and of course she was brilliant. So we now have this single that we’re putting out.”

During the podcast, the composer also discusses the score and presents music from the score including “Neon,” “When I Feel More At Home,” “Leave Me Alone” and “You Have To Let Me Go.” 

Listen below.