‘Fast X’ Composer on Jason Momoa’s Villain Theme and ‘Swan Lake’ Remix

If anybody is aware of the musical world of the “Fast and Furious” franchise, it’s composer Brian Tyler. Over the years, he’s created themes and cues for Dom (Vin Diesel), Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Cipher (Charlize Theron), and with “Fast X” he will get to dabble with Jason Momoa’s sensible baddie, Dante.

“Instead of creating a dark energy theme, I went for alluring,” Tyler says.

In the movie, Dante seeks to avenge his father’s demise, Hernan Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida) from 2011’s “Fast Five.” Dante lures the Fast Family to Rome, which ends up in an action-packed chase via the cobbled streets of the Eternal City as Dom, Letty and their crew try to cease Dante from blowing up the Vatican. “Dante is charming and he makes you laugh. So, I used high strings such as the harp, and then we get into bass music with modern instruments,” says Tyler. “It gives you this feeling that you can’t look away. There’s a sense [in his music] of empathizing with him, and why he becomes this villain.”

And whereas Tyler made deliberate musical efforts to create empathy, he purposely inserted an odd chord. “It’s the third chord. In his theme, it’s wrong. Every time it happens and cycles around, that chord goes inside your brain to understand where the music is supposed to go. It’s like a dopamine hit, that’s different and reminds you there’s something off about him,” Tyler says.

It seems the eccentric Dante is a ballet fan too, and when he’s not making an attempt to explode Rome, he’s indulging in his love for Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.”

Rather than take the well-known ballet chords as is, Tyler needed to do one thing epic. He explains as people, “we understand music and we understand melody.” His strategy was to take the acknowledged chords, weave in Dante’s theme and make it insidious. Tyler says, “You can do that, you can change the surrounding chords and you still hear the ‘Swan Lake’ theme even though it’s way off. So, when you see it in the movie, you recognize the melody, but it feels wrong.”

Sonically, Tyler may pull from the music DNA of previous movies, together with “Fast Five” and earlier movies, for the reason that installment returns to the streets of London, Rio and now Rome.

Another standout second thematically is the inclusion of “Gasolina,” the Safari Riot Remix by Daddy Yankee and Myke Towers, which performs as one of many movie’s many needle drops. “It was cool to make a flip of it,” Tyler remarks.

The 2010 tune aligned with the theme of the movie – “with the music, we are drawing on the past and forging the future.” He says, “The fact this goes back to ‘Fast Five,’ and beyond, I could go back to those themes and pull them through to this side as a segue.”

Aside from wall-to-wall-action, the movie is jam-packed with character moments and drama because it’s the penultimate chapter of the “Fast and Furious” saga. Says Tyler, “It’s like ear candy mixed with thematic writing, and this score really ups the ante and takes the franchise scores to a completely different level.”

The Original Motion Picture Score album is being launched by Back Lot Music on June 2.

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