Danny Elfman reflects on “intense and insane” Coachella 2022 set

The composer performed songs from 'The Simpsons', 'Edward Scissorhands' and 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' during his set last weekend

Danny Elfman has reflected in a new interview on the “intense and insane feeling” of performing at this year’s Coachella.

The 68-year-old composer, singer and songwriter’s set was one of the unexpected highlights of last weekend’s edition of the annual Indio, California festival, during which he performed his theme from The Simpsons as well as compositions from Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Speaking to Variety in a new interview about his Coachella performance, Elfman said that he “was just relieved to have made it through in one piece”.


“I was joking to a friend before the show, ‘Look, we have 30 minutes to set up a show that’s never been performed before with 50 musicians on stage. What can possibly go wrong?'” he recalled. “And then I’m sitting there before we went on, thinking, ‘Fuck, man. That was a joke, but it’s no joke’. There were a hundred things to go wrong.

“But in the end, the one thing that I really wasn’t planning on was a dust storm, an actual sandstorm, in my face. Everything else came together really well.”

Elfman added that he “read a lot of tweets and stuff where people were kind of confused and rattled and startled and like, ‘What’s going on?’ — and ultimately that’s what I wanted”.

“I wasn’t expecting to get such a reaction, and some of the crazy headlines — like, Yahoo said, ‘68-year-old Elfman and 20-year-old Eilish make festival history’,” he continued. “And I just thought that was hilarious, Billie and I being the wunderkind and the elder statesman of Coachella. Stuff like that was priceless in its weird way.”

Elfman said that the reaction to his Coachella performance has “been amazing and an intense and insane feeling”.


“Going into it I knew it was going to be a really risky endeavour. I don’t think anybody’s tried that before, mixing up these kinds of elements in this kind of insane musical mash-up. When you’re trying a conceptual idea, you don’t know what’s going to happen. But in the end, not having a safety net is also extremely exhilarating. It’s what it’s like when you’re up there on the high wire and the net is down and you know that the chance of just like falling into an abyss is extremely high. That, of course, is super exhilarating in itself.”

Elsewhere at last weekend’s Coachella, Arcade Fire performed a secret set, Dave brought up a fan on stage to rap ‘Thiago Silva’ and Doja Cat was joined by Rico Nasty and Tyga for her set.

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