Awards Daily talks to Main Title Theme Music nominee Tom Howe about working with Marcus Mumford on Ted Lasso.
Composer Tom Howe has a long resume of creating music for television, including Whiskey Cavalier and The Great British Baking Show, and finally scored his first Emmy nomination for his work with Marcus Mumford on the Main Title Theme Music for Apple TV+’s Ted Lasso.
I chatted with Howe via email about the inspiration behind the Ted Lasso score and theme and why the music doesn’t sound like what you normally hear from sports-themed shows.
Awards Daily: Congrats on your first Emmy nomination! You’ve done a lot of work on TV through the years, including documentaries. Is scoring a comedy any different from scoring dramas and documentaries?
Tom Howe: Many thanks! When I write to picture, I am always trying to achieve the same thing, which is enhance the story and figure out not only where music can help, but where it can’t. This doesn’t change for me whatever the medium, but comedy does often require more room to let a joke play so one has to be very careful not “over-score” it.
AD: What was it like working with Marcus Mumford on the main title theme music? What did you set out to achieve?
TH: It was a great experience. I was lucky to travel to Marcus’s studio in South West England (just pre-lockdown) and spend 10 days hanging out and writing with him. It was very much like making a record. He is a hugely gifted musician, and we have a lot of similar musical tastes. We started with the main title as we knew this would inform the sound for the rest of the score for us. Influences were everything from Gerry and the Pacemakers to the Beatles. We set out to have it feel midway between London, where Richmond FC are based and Kansas where Ted is from.
AD: Did you get to see what the title sequence looked like?
TH: We didn’t have any footage when we started, but we were lucky that Marcus and Jason Sudeikis are great friends, so Marcus had visited the set and also spoken with Jason, at length, about what the show was about and also how the characters’ storylines developed. This was so helpful and great information to be armed with so we knew what sort of score we would be writing without even seeing anything.
AD: How much of the show did you see before you started working on it?
TH: We started working on it pre-picture, getting down some ideas we thought would be useful based on conversations with Jason. We had sports tracks, comedy, emotional cues, etc. Once we did get picture and started scoring in earnest, some of these were jettisoned, but even the ideas we didn’t use were important in helping us establish the sound of the show.
AD: The music doesn’t sound like what you usually hear from sports movies or TV shows. Was that something that was purposeful?
TH: Yes, we made the call to record everything and not rely on samples and in the box solutions. So, for example, even the pads we used were electric guitars through pedal boards rather than synth presets. We played almost everything between the two of us and kept the score makeup to what we had at our fingertips in our own studios. I think this gave it a very organic sound. Being at Marcus’s studio and with his background in records, I think we also leaned in that direction which gave the score more of a singer songwriter/band sound, rather than a traditional TV score.
Megan McLachlan is a freelance writer that lives in Pittsburgh, PA. Her work has appeared in Buzzfeed, Cosmopolitan, The Cut, Paste, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Thrillist, and The Washington Post. Follow her on Twitter at @heydudemeg.