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HomeCraftsQ&A with Nora Felder, Music Supervisor for Stranger Thing

Q&A with Nora Felder, Music Supervisor for Stranger Thing


Nora Felder
Nora Felder

Stranger Things’ award winning music supervisor, Nora Felder, took the time to field some questions from Below the Line.


Q: Just for some background, please tell us how you got involved with Dead Presidents and Tank Girl.

A: This was at the very start of my career when getting my feet wet in the field of music supervision. I worked for a short time, under then music supervisor Bonnie Greenberg, for these two movies.

How did you meet the Duffer Bros.?

Through the recommendation of a picture editor that I have worked with before on many projects. I kiss his feet to this day for vouching for me wholeheartedly–which is worth its weight in gold, getting that kind of high praise.

You made it lovely instead of cringe worthy, which is easy to do. Being in high school and college in the late 1980’s, the music of that era informed my life. How did you go about conveying the 80’s aesthetic?

For all projects that I work on, my general rule of thumb is staying true to the story and the characters, which is the case of Stranger Things. Really though, I think the combination of the story, characters and music go hand in hand in thankfully making this show binge worthy as opposed to cringe worthy (laughing).

How did you work with the band who did your soundtrack, Survive?

I attended/supervised the spotting sessions in which The DufferBrothers were very hands on with the composers in creating the sound. Quite fascinating to watch/hear/listen.

How much were the directors involved in your process?

As can be the case with television, the showrunner and executive producers tend to [be] more hands on than the directors, as was the case here with the Duffer Brothers. Shawn Levy, our executive producer, also directed some of the episodes and was heavily involved throughout the process–which includes the creative aspects.

How much turnaround time did you have per episode?

With streaming shows, time frames can vary greatly, as some songs that are placed in the early stages can make it all the way through and for varied reasons, some can change in the end. Such is the nature of television, as was with this show.

What were some of the most challenging scenes to work on?

The sad news of David Bowie’s passing occurred when we were working on the series.With this news, we were forced to anticipate the possibility that [PeterGabriel’s cover of “Heroes” might not be able to clear in time, for use in the show. We had reviewed many alternative songs, however nothing seemed to come close to enhancing the emotion of the scene in the way that this song did both musically and lyrically. Luckily the song did clear and we were elated!

What are you proudest of working on this project?

I have to say that I am proud of the show in its entirety. Each and every chapter adds to its brilliance.

Anything you would like to add?

I don’t think anyone who has seen the show can argue that Stranger Things [isn’t] a phenomenon as a whole. The score created by our composers Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon has catapulted the genre known as ‘synth wave’ into a new dimension. With the songs used, it has single-handedly welcomed back an appreciation for 80’s music from the older generation of viewers; as well as simultaneously earning a renewed recognition as these songs are introduced to new younger fans who have never heard the music before. You really can’t ask for music to effectively do more than that. I believe this show truly demonstrates the power of music–and showcases its important role in the telling of stories in moving pictures.

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