“I’m a Casting Director for Music”: A Conversation With Karyn Rachtman
Over the final 30 years, Karyn Rachtman has brought her taste and commercial enterprise grok to some of the most iconic soundtracks of all time : Clueless, Pulp Fiction, Reality Bites, Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!, and Boogie Nights, good to name a few. Rachtman, who nowadays runs her own music supervision firm, Mind Your Music, and lives in New Zealand, called pitchfork to talk about career hangups, convincing musicians to participate in disgraceful scenes, and one unforgettable dream touch .
Pitchfork: When you’re not actively working on a movie, do you look for songs to put on the back burner for future soundtracks?
Karyn Rachtman : back in the day, I was a hoarder. I could go into Tower Records with an expense bill. If I liked the artwork, if person told me about the band, if it was from a different area, I would always pick up whatever cassette was on the shelf. now, I ’ m actually appreciating the daily mixes on Spotify, even though I constantly prided myself on being that person who digs through crates. When people just send me general submissions, I normally listen to the more obscure stuff. I figure I ’ ll hear all the pop stuff anyhow, but I ’ meter not actually into toss off, and I don ’ thymine think people are hiring me on projects because I ’ m going to bring them a pop song.
Read more: The 100 Greatest Songs of All Time
Is being a music supervisor way more business-focused than people assume?
It ’ s a creative business, but it ’ south business. I ’ m like the hurl director for music. Like, tell me what you ’ re looking for, I ’ thousand going to get it for you. In the case of Quentin Tarantino, I got to put in my two cents on Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. He knew every song he wanted but he was told he couldn ’ t have them, like Stealers Wheel ’ s “ Stuck in the Middle With You ” for Reservoir Dogs. I didn ’ triiodothyronine even have the job and I was on the earphone beg and pleading Stealers Wheel members Joe Egan and Gerry Rafferty to let us use it. One of them was religious and didn ’ triiodothyronine like the idea of using their song to a scene where person ’ south ear gets cut off. And I had to be like, “ By the way, I don ’ t have any money. ”
Paul Thomas Anderson came to me because he wanted to make certain his vision for Boogie Nights was delivered and that he got the songs he wanted. It was very heavily to get people to commit their songs in a movie about pornography. It ’ s a lot of scheme and plan. How are you going to get these people involved ? Most of the clock, it all comes down to how good your film is—and in my early on career, I worked with big directors.
When you’re reaching out to musicians and labels, do you always have to describe the scene?
Absolutely—and sometimes, you play it down. Like for Reservoir Dogs ’ s ear-cutting view, I would hype up the movie, then if it ’ second anything that might turn off the publisher or the criminal record company or the artist, you explain the best you can. sometimes, you selectively leave things out .