Graham Coxon talks ‘The End of the F***ing World’ soundtrack, solo music and Blur

Blur guitarist speaks to NME in new interview

New Channel 4 and Netflix dark comedy The End Of The F***ing World has been this year’s massive breakthrough hit, featuring the most loveable teen misanthropes since Richard Ayoade’s Submarine. Just like Alex Turner’s memorable score for that 2010 film, Graham Coxon has delivered a soundtrack for End Of The F***ing World that delves into the show’s very core: at times angsty, other moments carefree and all the while bewitching.

With Coxon recently releasing the soundtrack digitally (a vinyl release is scheduled for March), he spoke to NME about working on the score, plus upcoming solo material and – of course – Blur.

You’ve just released the soundtrack to The End Of The F***ing World. How did your involvement come about?

“Matt Biffa, who is a music supervisor, contacted me about the show and Jonathan [Entwistle], who co-directed, wanted me to do it. We met and talked about it, and I read the scripts and I sort of bought myself a copy of the comic book. Scripts are interesting to read, they’re not like novels.”

How did you approach work on the soundtrack?

“I just started making music based on it. We sort of talked about how to approach the music and it was pretty much an organic soundtrack. I listened some of the temporary music that was in it, and I just started writing and writing. I wrote tons of stuff which worked.”

Did you ever think the show would become such a hit?

“I had no idea. I know why I like it but I like all kind of things that no one else likes. It’s not something you can always judge subjectively. People can get obsessed with that kind of stuff and identify with the characters. Obviously I’m not a teenager, it’s not like I can identify so much with the characters but I remember when I was a teenager being the same.

“There’s the characters themselves, for me when I first watched them, they weren’t really likeable. Like there is this ungrateful, gobby girl and then there is this really weird boy who speaks in a detached way. But of course people do identify with it, that’s what is good about it. After series one I liked the characters more, and that inspired me more and more. They got a lot nicer and funnier and the boy went less weird. Characters go through a gradual change which you hardly notice. You suddenly think ‘I really like those people’. So it’s more and more exciting.”

Do you know whether there will be series 2? If so would you want to do the music for it?

“
I have no idea if there is gonna be one. Obviously there is two ways of looking at it, if you want to keep the great work as is or take a risk to take it further. Of course I’d love to be involved.”

You said that you wrote lots of music for it. Are the unused songs going to be released in some form in the future?

“There is possibly going to be some recycling involved. There are short instrumental pieces and half-finished ideas. Because it was a soundtrack I wanted to write things like they have always been there, to have the quality that they had been around for ages. That’s why a lot of these songs are kind of economical.

For me there is acting on the episodes but I was acting as well. I was trying not to be me. There is a song called ‘In My Room’ but it’s not really me. There is angry me when I’m not really being me. It’s Graham Coxon’s soundtrack but it’s Graham Coxon’s soundtrack of acting with other people.”

Graham Coxon

Graham Coxon

Do you think your soundtrack work will inform the way you make music in the future?

“Yeah, I like someone saying ‘I like that’. Actually, the speed of getting songs together: I didn’t know could get five or six songs together in just one day. It’s insane. That’s purely because of being inspired and having a brief and a time limit on it. So I get up, start working in my dressing gown at 8am. I was barely awake, musically I can be a lot more fluid before my brain is waking up. I learned so much, especially how simple songwriting can be.”

How has the reaction to it been?

“I didn’t expect people to love the soundtrack so much, the lyrics kind of wrote themselves. And it was written and recorded pretty quick, I didn’t think about how I was gonna sing it, it was just the first-take vocal. It was lovely, people really liked it.”

You recently released a one-off single called ‘Falling’. Are you were working on a new solo album?

“I am interested in soundtrack stuff because I had such a good experience with this. But I’m working on my own things as well. I’m still working on an album I recorded a while back when I was doing work with Blur. Those were some good times.”

Can fans expect a new Blur album any time soon?

“We haven’t discussed it. We are just doing what we are doing.”