How do you write music for a million universes? That’s the challenge directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (collectively known as the Daniels) gave Son Lux, which scored their new film, the Michelle Yeoh-starring and mind-blowing Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Son Lux began in 2008 as a solo recording project for Ryan Lott. With the release of a fourth album, Bones, in 2015, it became a trio with the promotion of touring band members Ian Chang and Rafiq Bhatia. Their most recent musical project outside of Everything Everywhere, Tomorrows, was divided into three separate albums released between 2020 and 2021.
Scoring this incredibly ambitious and fast-paced interdimensional film was no small feat, but it’s a task the acclaimed experimental band took head-on. Son Lux’s sprawling score for Everything Everywhere All At Once is as dynamic and whimsical as the film it accompanies.
“Seeing it hit people at the premiere — everyone around us was laughing and crying sometimes. It was a very affirming experience,” drummer Ian Chang tells Consequence. Now that the expansive, 49-track score and soundtrack are out to the world after working on it for so long, the band is thrilled to be able to, in Chang’s words, “just party and enjoy.”
The Everything Everywhere score boasts an eclectic, star-studded list of collaborators, from David Byrne to Mitski to André 3000’s flute debut. “All of these collaborations still feel so unbelievable,” Chang says.
In the below interview, transcribed and edited for clarity, band members Chang, Ryan Lott, and Rafiq Bhatia explain how those collaborations came together, as well as how their creative process transformed for the film, and the scores that inspired their work along the way.
First, I just want to know how you got involved with this film? Were you always interested in scoring a film? Or was this something that was presented to you and you said, “Wow, let’s do it”?
Ian Chang: To answer the first part of your question, scoring a film as a group is something that I think… I don’t know if we ever talked about it explicitly, but I think we all were always interested in doing it, especially because Ryan does have some scoring background —he’s scored a couple features and a bunch of other things before this. It makes sense that that would be something that we try to do as a group.
That whole aspect of it was especially kind of nice for Rafiq and I this time around, because we got to kind of learn on the job a bit; Ryan got to mentor us and lead the way.
I think [The Daniels] reached out to us in the fall of 2019, so very early on. But they’ve also been working on this movie for a while; they started writing it a few years before [reaching out to us]. It’s been a real labor of love. Six years.