The new Apple TV+ series Bad Sisters has a score/soundtrack by PJ Harvey and composer Tim Phillips arriving in October, and the first single is a cover of Leonard Cohen‘s “Who by Fire” from 1974’s New Skin for the Old Ceremony. They keep the charm of the classic original intact, but PJ brings her unique flair to it and she and Tim give it a cinematic feel that seems like a perfect fit for the “darkly comedic murder mystery series” that is Bad Sisters. PJ says:
It was a very enjoyable day spent recording the version of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Who by Fire’ for Bad Sisters. I had spoken to [executive producer and star] Sharon Horgan in advance of the recording session, so I understood why she felt the song’s lyric was so perfect for the series, but also understood what nuances of Leonard’s performance she most loved, and therefore what to try and recapture but in my own way. Tim Phillips and I worked together on my performance for the song. I found Tim to be an inspiring and exciting work partner which made the whole experience flow.
I thought of the words of ‘Who by Fire’ soon after the series was picked up and thought how perfect it would be. Pretty soon after that, I thought of Polly’s voice singing those words and asked Apple if we could make that happen. I had been a fan of Polly for years and was nervous when we zoomed with her. I don’t have a musical vocabulary, but I know what I wanted. But we told her our ideas and about the series – it was quite fledgling at that stage, just photos and words, nothing filmed to show her, but she got it and loved it. We paired her up with Tim Phillips who had scored Shining Vale, so we knew he was genius at what he does. The tone of the whole series is effected by the music and Polly’s voice. I still can’t quite believe we pulled it off.
The first two episodes of Bad Sisters are out now, with new episodes premiering every Friday through October 14. Stay tuned for more info on the score/soundtrack.