Interview with FLOWERS composer ARTHUR SHARPE, who is behind the soundtrack of Series 2. He talks about his favourite tracks, working with his brother (Will Sharpe) and Julian Barratt.
Described as a dark comedy, Series 2 of Flowers is set in the bloom of Summer and follows a family - Maurice (children’s author) and Deborah (music teacher), along with their 25-year-old twin children (Amy and Donald).
Sharpe’s soundtrack has been described as darkly imaginative, heartfelt and cinematic. It includes 18 tracks in total and is available to pre-order online.
Arthur says his involvement (in both series) is down to his brother (Will Sharpe who is the Writer and Director). “He started sending me bits of the script and mood boards. He wanted the music to be a key part of landing the tone and world of the show. We have collaborated plenty of times before (Black Pond and The Darkest Universe). We had a process and I was sending him ideas before the pilot had even begun filming.”
“We would play tracks to the heads of department and the cast, to give a sense of how he imagined certain sequences playing. Channel 4 made a point of saying they liked the music and I was brought officially on board.”
“Flowers was a bit step up for Will, and would be for me too. I tried to write a score that would inform the tone of the show, so it needed to be something playful and light, but with depth and darkness too.”
Though what should you expect in the soundtrack? “The second series then makes a conscious effort to move things on from the first and explores new areas. The characters are all in different places mentally. So I wanted the score to move along with the story.”
“Amy’s mania perhaps is the driving force of the story, so the aim was to communicate a sense of this. A lot of the score is much more hectic than the first season. Amy has these wild visions and everything feels a lot bigger - so I wanted to expand this and get across these feelings of things growing untamed and out of control.”
“The church is an important new setting, so an organ and choral harmonies were introduced. There was room for new sounds as well to mark the shift between the two series, with a lot of electricity coming in and metallic sounds from like hammering a bathtub and filing cabinets.”
"There is also a constant feeling that everything might just completely fall apart any second, which I wanted the audience to experience subconsciously (in the score). I wanted the music itself to feel as close to coming entirely undone as possible, without ever quite getting there (sort of like an aural form of Jenga, just before the lack brick is taken out).”
We then asked Arthur about which tracks he likes the most from this score. “My favourite tracks would be either Die Auserwählte or Blooms. They both come at important points (at the end of episode 2 and 5 respectively) which are also two of my favourite passages in the series.”
“It was a lot fun writing Omsk – Draft 17 (for Mum), mainly because I was given free rein to make it really crazy and cacophonous. I’ve always had a personal liking for Hammer & Tongs, just because of the unconventional use of the accordion.”
The composer recently sent a tweet thanking the Flowers team. “I’m always hugely grateful to Naomi De Pear (Producer) for taking the risk on me in the first place. She was very encouraging and welcoming from the start, which really did make a big difference. It was great working with all the musicians and the Pink Cuttlefish as well.”
'If you’ve missed the show, we asked Sharpe why you should catch it up. “Given the subject matter of mental health, I’ve always felt it’s a bold show which tackles heavy issues without shying away from the reality. At the same time, while never making light of these issues themselves, it is also a comedy and there are a lot of funny moments.”
“The main cast is incredible. I thought Julian Barratt’s performance of Maurice was breath-taking at times. Likewise Sophia Di Martino as Amy in the second series, I’ve always had a soft spot for the character as she’s the musician and composer.”
Telly Binge spoke to Arthur Sharpe in July 2018. Visit his official website for updates.