Eilish’s title track for the 25th Bond film was unveiled last Friday, with Marr on guitar alongside orchestral arrangements from renowned composer Hans Zimmer.
Speaking at the BRIT Awards ahead of the track’s live debut, Marr said he had backed Eilish to perform the track before she was officially announced as the latest Bond artist.
The guitar legend, who is also working on the film’s score with Zimmer, explained: “We were already working on the film when I heard Billie had done the song and that was already a good idea to me.
“Before I’d even heard the song, I thought it was just a smart idea and this was before all the Grammys and stuff.”
Marr said that he was “thrilled” to provide guitar on the track, explaining: “Growing up as a British boy in the late 60s, 70s, 80s, to me, the Bond theme should have guitar in it – especially the John Barry stuff.
“The sound of it to me, the guitar riff. It’s a super thrill to do it.”
As for the track itself, Marr praised Eilish’s efforts as “fantastic” and said the minimalist ballad created by Eilish and brother Finneas O’Connoll was a “brave” choice.
“When I heard the song, I thought ‘this is fantastic’. It’s very brave, being very minimalist. It’s her sound, and then the trick was to Bond-ify it,” he explained.
“It was already a great song, but from a sound point of view, to Bond-ify it without doing the obvious. It’s really easy to be bombastic, so it was a case of less is more, and making it work with the film.”
Praising Eilish, he added: “Billie’s just the best new, I don’t wanna say pop act, but it’s great when someone that cool is that popular, individual and a lot of people can relate to her. She’s a really good musician, and her family is a really musical family, very soulful. I know a great musician when I see one.”
Marr, who has previously worked with composer Zimmer on films including 2010’s Inception and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, also opened up on how he enjoyed the pressure of working on film scores.
“There’s always pressure, and it’s more pressure than you think, even though you know that it’s exciting,” said Marr. When I did Inception, that was intense. Spider-Man was intense for different reasons. This has been intense because there’s been a real time limit on it and a lot of guitar to play. The movie is getting more interesting and the director [Cary Joji Fukanaga] really knows what he’s doing.
There’s a whole load of things that happen when I work with Hans, and partly with interesting directors, that don’t happen when you’re at the front of a rock band. It takes me out of my day job.”
Check back at NME.com for more from the BRIT Awards 2020.