How Trygge Toven created a ‘utopian outlook’ for the Fallout show’s soundtrack

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The Fallout TV show handily proves there’s a space for video game adaptations respectful to their source material and confident enough to hum their own tunes. Composing a soundscape inspired by the game’s radio stations for a new audience is no simple feat. So, who better to speak about its 1950s soundtrack than Trygge Toven – Emmy-nominated Music Supervisor of the Fallout series and many more.

Despite “[growing] up as a gamer playing Counter-Strike and Myst,” Trygge started his supervision career in TV Marketing. “[That’s] where I did promos for Lost and Grey’s Anatomy” he tells us. “I remember watching Nip/Tuck, seeing PJ Bloom as the music supervisor, and wondering what that job entailed. I happened to meet him at an industry event a few months later. He, and many others, were very helpful in sharing their knowledge.”

On the topic of radio stations that players love, Trygge noted “they provided a great starting place to pull from for the music of the show. I didn’t originally play the games but when I heard about the show, I started playing a few of the titles.” The show nails that retro feeling of being stuck in a world that has moved on without humanity and technology. Right from “Some Enchanted Evening” by The Castells in the first grisly episode, the retro-futuristic show paves a path with nostalgia and respect. It turns out “music supervisors find music the same as any super fan.”

Images via Amazon.

“[The] opening scene of the pilot used “Orange Colored Sky” by Nat King Cole,” Trygge tells us. “The big hits of the brass over the title card foreshadowed the tragedy that was just about to happen.” He was quick to note that “I tried to find spots for the iconic songs from the game and find some lesser-known gems from the big artists of the time.” We’ll get to see more of his post-war selections soon as “luckily, there’s a season 2.”

“The Vault Dwellers had a particular, almost utopian outlook, so the songs needed to support that.”

Trygge Toven

Music elevates Fallout’s characters and setting, from individual themes to the sounds of the worlds that factions such as the Brotherhood of Steel built in their minds. ”While our composer Ramin was responsible for the character themes, I contributed to the sound of the worlds of each of the characters by using a distinct style,” Trygge tells us. “For example, the Vault Dwellers had a particular, almost utopian outlook, so the songs needed to support that. On the outside, we were playing up the irony of their situation.”

Trygge credits composer Ramin Djawadi for “covers for the songs we licensed so it was even more collaborative.” This team is no stranger to television adaptations from different media. “Fallout [music] was from the same team as Westworld so the creative process was similar. This team really thinks about music on so many levels which I love. Loki was also similar in that we were using the songs to foreshadow and clue into the inevitable new role Loki would have to take on.”

Images via Amazon.

Borderlands, starring Kevin Hart and Cate Blanchett, is due later this year and its soundtrack also benefits from Tryyge’s thorough magnifying glass. When asked about it, he tells us that they “finished Borderlands a while ago so [Fallout and Borderlands] didn’t overlap much but similarly, the video game has a certain comedic and bombastic tone that was important to recreate for the film.”

Fallout’s Synths (short for synthetic humanoids) blur the line between man and machine and play a prominent role in games such as Fallout 4. While they haven’t featured a prominent role in the show yet, there’s still a whole other season for that. With AI being a buzzword across entertainment, its emerging role could affect how royalties are split between writers, producers, and artists. While he agrees “it may affect how music gets made,” he “[doesn’t] see the splits being affected as much as the artists using the new tools to further creation.”

The Fallout series does a phenomenal job of translating the franchise’s nuances to the screen. From the tropes fans have grown to love to the ambient music that’s often discordant with reality, Trygge and his team have done a great job. The show’s OST is up for grabs on vinyl for hardcore fans and we can’t wait to see their music choices in Season 2 of Fallout.

About the Author

Antony Terence

Antony Terence is a Guides Writer for VideoGamer. While he is particularly fond of city-builders, shooters, and strategy titles, he won’t turn down a good JRPG or a turn-based roguelike.

Fallout

  • Release Date: September 30, 1997
    • - 30 September 1997 (PC)
  • Platform(s): Classic Macintosh, macOS, PC
  • Genre(s): RPG
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