The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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DJ renaissance man Chris Douridas talks putting together a soundtrack, ‘ House of Lies’

Photo courtesy of Capitol Records

Chris Douridas is perhaps one of the most prolific DJs and music supervisors in the greater Los Angeles area. In addition to hosting an incredibly popular and progressive show on radio station KCRW, Douridas has been nominated for three Grammys for musical production. Having worked on such projects as “American Beauty” and “The Count of Monte Cristo”, Douridas’ foray into television includes the critically acclaimed Showtime series of “House of Lies.” Now in its third season, Douridas talked to the Daily Sundial about the “House Of Lies” most recent accompanying soundtrack.

Sundial: The soundtrack for Season 3 of “House of Lies” is a fantastic set of songs – it’s also incredibly eclectic. There are tracks ranging from artists like Count Basie to Aloe Blacc – What is the greatest advantage of arranging such a wide array of artists?

Douridas: I don’t get bored listening to it. (laughs) But seriously, I have a short attention span. The emotions in the show run the gamut. Why shouldn’t the music that supports it also vary?

Sundial: Is there an overarching theme the soundtrack hopes to accomplish?

Douridas: I never even think about a soundtrack album until I first address the dramatic needs of the script. With “House of Lies,” from the beginning it’s been my goal to find songs that allow the viewer a way into the heart of the main character, Marty Kaan, played by the great Don Cheadle.

Of course, I only present ideas I really, really love to the director and producers, so no matter what ends up in the show, I will love them all in the end. And at that point, I will have a pile of great things to consider for the resulting soundtrack album, if we’re lucky enough to release one.

Sundial: Is there an aspect of this season’s soundtrack you believe makes it more indelible than seasons past?

Douridas: Yes, I feel we were finally able to reveal the deeper side of Marty Kaan in this new season.

Sundial: Your work as a DJ is certainly as prolific as your work in film and television. Do you at all find it difficult to transition between multiple positions?

Douridas: On the contrary. My work as a radio host at KCRW feeds everything else i do. i populate all of my film and TV projects and even my School Night series with the music I champion on my radio show.

Sundial: How meticulous is the process in producing the final product? Is the final track listing one that had been essentially the same since its inception, or does the musical choice change drastically from its beginning?

Douridas: I started with a playlist of all the songs I feel should be considered. Once the label came on board (Strange Cargo/Manhattan/Capitol), I worked closely with my co-producer and label head Larry Klein on narrowing down the list. Then once we had the songs cleared, we started to experiment with the running order of the songs. Near the end of the process I received the rough cut of the season finale and realized we had an amazing scene that begged for an incredible song.

Since we began the show, I’d always been wanting to work with Michael Kiwanuka, a young UK singer I’d been championing at KCRW and at our School Night event in LA, where he made his US debut. Unbelievably, the day I saw the rough cut of the season finale, I discovered Kiwanuka was actually in LA writing and recording with Black Keys bassist, Gus Seyffert. I reached out to Michael and we set up a meeting so I could show the two of them the scene. A few days later Michael sent me a demo of “It Always Comes Back Around,” a stunning new song that is now featured in the show’s finale episode (airing April 6th) and closes the soundtrack album.

Sundial: What final words can you offer fans in terms of what to expect musically and stylistically this season?

Douridas: Check out the resulting soundtrack. Everything we feature this season is on the album.

The consensus? The resulting soundtrack is fantastic. Eclectic, darkly moving and what is sure to be a fantastic accompaniment to a phenomenal program, the “House of Lies” soundtrack is a compendium of music to give a listen to.

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