HBO’s ‘Vinyl’ – Scorsese’s Music Supervisor On Working With Iggy Pop, Mick Jagger & more

In its current golden age, it wasn’t going to be long before acclaimed director Martin Scorsese joined the TV party. We just didn’t know he’d be bringing such an impressive posse with him.

Rolling Stone Mick Jagger, rock ‘n’ roll hyena Iggy Pop and The StrokesJulian Casablancas are just some of the music royalty that swapped ideas on the HBO set. But more often than not, it’s those without the flashy surname that contribute the most.

Take Vinyl music supervisor Randall Poster for instance. He might not have toured the world in a rock band, but he’s worked with some of film’s greatest auteurs in Wes Anderson and Richard Linklater, and he’s been Scorsese’s go-to soundtrack guy for years. Not a bad resume huh?

We sat down with the illustrious yank to talk rock ‘n’ roll, the spirit of the ‘70s and which tracks to look out for later in the series.

Don’t forget to check out our exclusive Randall Poster-curated playlist afterwards, it’s inspired by Vinyl character Hannibal (Go to the bottom of the page).

So Randall, we hear you’re an NME reader?

Of course!

Good to know. What was it like working with Mick Jagger and Martin Scorsese?

We’re all in New York and we’ve grown accustomed to each other’s perspectives and work habits so were a pretty tight-knit group. I’ve worked with Marty on a bunch of stuff – The Aviator, Hugo, Boardwalk Empire and The Wolf of Wall Street. Mick was a great inspiration in terms of being a leading figure of the time period. We used The Rolling Stones as a focal point in picking the music.

There must have been a boss though, right?

I think Marty is the visionary… He directed the pilot and then we had other directors working on the various episodes. It’s a different process to working on a feature. There was a lot of collaboration going on.

Any disagreements?

There was a healthy dialogue…

Mick’s son, James Jagger, is in the show. Did they ever clash?

I think Mick was giving James the space to do his thing. Jimmy was working on a song which Mick came into focus at the end. That was his most hands-on time with The Nasty Bits.

You got some massive artists to record the soundtrack – Iggy Pop, Julian Casablancas, Charli XCX to name a few. How’d you manage that?

They all seemed really up for it. Julian, who I’ve worked with before, is pretty much the foremost expert on Lou Reed so he was an obvious choice. Charli was really up for doing the Iggy track. She came straight off the plane, right into the studio and absolutely nailed ‘No Fun’ and that’s not easy to do.

For all the tracks, we worked with our New York house band that was led by Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth). A lot of other artists respect and are eager to work with him, so that helped a lot.

What about Iggy?

He did a great psychedelic take for us called ‘I Dig Your Mind’. We use a lot of The Stooges in the show so Iggy’s voice was always there. He was punk before there even was punk. Lenny Kaye put together the original Nuggets Collection, and we had these songs that I always wanted to revive. We always felt like Iggy would kill it and he did!

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Out of everyone, who embodied the spirit of Vinyl the most?

We recorded a lot at Jimi Hendrix’s studio, Electric Lady, and we really set the stage for the time transport. I thought Alison Mosshart really nailed the moment in time but still brought something really present and vital to it. It’s a great group, maybe NME could help us organise a concert?

Now there’s an idea! Got anything special lined up for future episodes?

Yeah! There’s a dance band on the label [American Century] called Indigo that nobody’s been paying attention to. They have a track off their new record called ‘Kill The Lights’ which we recorded specially. We shot the scene in this underground club and the songs would play over and over again for them to dance to. We found people on set were trying to Shazam it as we were shooting so that was a kick!

Watch the next episode of Vinyl at 9pm Monday on Sky Atlantic.