A couple of weeks after Berlin Station’s launch, its original soundtrack has been digitally released by Lakeshore Records on iTunes and Amazon. During this year’s SoundTrack_Cologne, we talked to composer Reinhold Heil about his score for the new Epix original series.
About ‘Berlin Station’
Alongside Graves, Berlin Station is one of the two first original scripted projects to be picked up as a series on Epix. The response has been very positive so far, with a renewal for a second season seeming highly likely. The story follows Daniel Miller (Richard Armitage), an undercover CIA agent stationed in Berlin, tasked with identifying a whistleblower who goes by the name of Thomas Shaw. The first season launched in October and has just passed its mid-season finale. Composer Reinhold Heil has lended his musical talent to many movies and TV series before, including Land of the Dead, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, The International, Cloud Atlas, Syfy’s Helix and the recent hit series Deutschland 83.
About Reinhold Heil’s soundtrack for ‘Berlin Station’
With Berlin Station, Heil has scored another series set in Germany. “The fact that I as a German am doing the score now, wasn’t a necessity”, he told us. “I could get into the matter intellectually, and that was very important. When I was on the phone with the two creators, I had read up on some things, and then they grilled me so-to-speak and wanted to know how I’d approach [writing music for the series].” And indeed, Heil is more than just familiar with Germany and its capital city, having spent a big part of his life there before moving to California in 1997. Heil has since built a reputation as a composer of electronic scores for film, starting with cult classic Run Lola Run in 1999, the first movie ever to have an entirely original techno soundtrack.
For Berlin Station, the creators first considered having a score only consisting of percussion. “I thought it was a cool idea”, Heil said. “In the end, the percussive score didn’t happen. But this kind of thing stays in the back of your head, and you think: ‘Maybe there are going to be some moments to include it.’ And I really tried to do that.” Much of the score has indeed ended up being very percussive while still creating a great variety of moods within a cohesive set of stylistic elements. The electronic music – its driving pulses, eerie pads, and kick-ass bass lines and drum beats – not only lends itself perfectly to the action, but also to the whole setting of contemporary Berlin.
As a CIA flick, Berlin Station needs to make an active effort to stand out, and its soundtrack certainly plays an important part in achieving this. Heil is aware of this responsibility: “People could say, for instance: ‘Why, Homeland has done this before, the CIA being in Berlin.’ But this is really an entirely different approach, it looks totally different, it feels totally different, and I think it has a bit more vérité, in that it’s closer to how things really are. I find it really thrilling, and I also think the actors are great.”