The Derry Girls (and that wee English feller) are back for more adventures in series 2, all set to an authentic and deliciously nostalgic ’90s soundtrack.
After a stellar premiere last year – and record-setting viewership numbers for Channel 4 – Lisa McGee’s period comedy was picked up for a second series, before the second episode had even aired! Following the lives of teens growing up in 1990s Northern Ireland during The Troubles, the soundtrack was an instant hit, as well. Full of iconic tracks from that era and Celtic influenced music that sets the scene, fans are either rediscovering the songs of their youth, or being introduced to the best of the 90s bangers.
Series 2 is back this month and Tunefind chatted with Derry Girls music supervisors Pete Saville and Zoë Ellen Bryant of carbon logic, London to get the scoop on how they keep the music authentic, the key influence of The Cranberries, and some of their favorite music moments to come during this season.
This is a period show set in the 90s. How precise are you with matching timing of the series with the songs released at that date?
Mostly, very precise! We trawled through the UK charts of 1990-1995, and worked our way through the Now That’s What I Call Music compilations of the time. There are a few pre-90s songs, but generally speaking, it’s very authentic to the period, and Lisa McGee the writer is painstaking about the choices.
The Cranberries are such a touchstone for the series. Can you talk about how you approached incorporating The Cranberries this season?
The Cranberries are a favorite of creator Lisa McGee. You may remember a poster of Dolores O’Riordan on the wall of Erin’s room in the opening scene of series one? They’re so Irish and so 90s – ideal for the show. And I think since Dolores’ death last year, it became even more important to have their music in the show. There’s a The Cranberries song in all but one episode of series two.
What are some of the other artists and bands who help bring in the Irish/Celtic identity that is so central to the show?
Quite a few – we really wanted to feature more in this series than were in series one. We have Enya, The Undertones, Boyzone, The Corrs, The Dubliners, Shane MacGowan & The Popes, D:Ream, Bill Whelan… plus Scottish rockers The Proclaimers coming up in a later episode!
What scene has been the most fun?
A favorite is the scene that features The Cranberries’ Zombie. I don’t think we expected to find a place for Zombie in the series, as it’s such a heavy, emotional song, with such a specific subject matter – but we did, and it just works on multiple levels.
What about the most challenging?
I think the biggest challenge (rather than being a specific scene/song) was finding, deciding on and clearing the music in time for the mix dates. There are 95 music uses across the series, so it was a good amount of work!
The show has put some character-inspired playlists on Spotify. Did you have any favorite character-based music choices?
The music choices in Derry Girls are not character-driven as a priority. They are all about capturing Lisa McGee’s authentic vision and memory of the time. The music is used as stings/punctuation on purpose – the idea is to play a tiny earworm – just enough to jog your memory and set the scene of the era. But it was fun to think about what kind of song Prefect Jenny Joyce might perform during assembly (she manages to murder a well-known Christmas Pop song later on in the series)!
Thanks, Pete and Zoë!
As always, we’re tracking all of the music featured on Derry Girls over on Tunefind, complete with scene descriptions.