Are there other extended versions of songs on the soundtrack? I can't imagine an extended version of "Human Music."
Elder: "Human Music" is on there! There are a couple of music cues that I wrote just as cues that I get a lot of requests for full versions of. One is when Jerry is saying goodbye to Doofus Rick in Season 1, and it's this emotional piece of music, and especially the music when Rick is reading Unity's letter at the end of the Unity episode -- this kind of emotional guitar-piano-bass thing. Both of those I extended into full songs. Also, some of the thematic elements that I used in "The Rickantis Mixup," which is the [Season 3] episode with tales from the Citadel of Ricks, I've made a full version of that song all blown out, with orchestral elements and rock elements. It's pretty cool. I'm excited for people to hear that.
What's the weirdest story behind one of the songs on the soundtrack?
Elder: The song "Fathers and Daughters," which was in Season 3, came together very late in the process. The episode was basically done. We were mixing it in a week and we needed a song that could go into a montage of Rick and Beth interacting together, doing something as father and daughter. And Justin and Dan both wanted a folky, emotional, Harry Nilsson or Cat Stevens kind of a thing there. And I had written the song and I knew they were going to have Dan sing something over it. I didn't know what the lyrics were going to be, so I just, in order to make Dan's job easier, I just put some scratch vocals in there, of me singing "Doo doo doo, doo doo doo," right? Just as a placeholder. And I could have chosen any syllable, I could have chosen "ooh" or "la" or anything, but I chose "doo" randomly. And if you listen to the song, which is now commonly referred to "Doo Doo Butt," Dan really took the "doo doo doos" and and ran with them.
When you're writing a song for an episode that is a parody of a particular pop culture property -- like the episode that parodies Zardoz -- do you watch the things Dan and Justin are riffing on and consciously channel some of that music? Or do you just see what Dan and Justin come up with and go from there?
Elder: I think it varies. For that episode, I did not rewatch Zardoz -- and it definitely is worth a re-watch -- because it's sort of in the fiber of the episode instead of in a very specific moment where I can really play to it. An example I can think of where I specifically did listen to a soundtrack is a post-credit scene that is kind of an E.T. parody, I think in Season 3, and I absolutely knew I have to listen to the E.T. score just for fun, but also to listen to get this scene and make sure that my music is really selling a joke of it being an E.T. parody. And I did it in "Anatomy Park" too, when there's the "welcome to Anatomy Park" bit, it's very clearly a Jurassic Park reference. I knew I needed to get that right too.
Is there anything particularly interesting in the story of how the album got put together?
Elder: I got to work a little bit with .clipping. I gave them the audio stems for the main title theme for them to sort of mine for inspiration on their track, which was great. Both Chad VanGaalen and .clipping did original songs inspired by the show for the soundtrack and they're both very good and pretty exciting to hear. I was pretty, pretty involved in the whole process, from basically the beginning. Once we brought Sub Pop on board [as the record label] and it really started to take shape, stuff really started moving. But it was always kind of the idea that I, along with Sub Pop and people at Adult Swim, would curate the entire soundtrack. And frankly, I'm a child of the '90s. When I found out Sub Pop was producing the record, I was so excited. Huge fans their work. They were, like, my favorite record label in college.
What are some of the Sub Pop bands that you were listening to?
Elder: I mean, Postal Service was number one, when I was out first out of college. Give Up. For me, it was one of the most important records of my post-high school life. It was sort of like, "Oh, this is what music is going to be like going forward now." I love that record. And then of course, when I was in high school, it was Nirvana. No question.