‘The Boys’ composer explains why the show’s score sounds so imperfect

the boys homelander
Image via Prime Video

Instead of striving for Whiplash-like perfection like virtually all other composers, Matt Bowen strives for imperfection while scoring The Boys.

Yes, Bowen, who helps compose the subversive Prime Video superhero series, says “Not my tempo” and then runs with it. “The beauty of something like The Boys is that it’s supposed to have this feeling of imperfection . . . ” Bowen told Screen Rant. “You take a takedown, and typically you’d be like, ‘Okay, I see what you were trying to do there or not, now let’s back up and finesse it.’ And on The Boys, it’s this idea of polishing your score that we’ve really had to get out of our heads while working on the show.”

Bowen admitted that he resists hiring session musicians because they play too well. Naturally, this goes against many tenets of music production, and it has been fun yet difficult for him to unlearn flawlessness:

“It’s a big challenge, because you spend so much of your career learning how to polish the music and make it sound Hollywood, for lack of a better word. And this show is just all about keeping it gritty and raw and imperfect, and a lot of times that means keeping your first pass. And from a more micro standpoint, don’t double it. If I were working on something where it’s kind of glossy, I might double my guitars or something like that. Nope, don’t double it, there’s one and only one guitar, and the part wasn’t played perfectly. But most importantly, it conveyed what it needed to convey in that moment in the scene.”

Bowen has been scoring The Boys since the very beginning. In Season 3, he co-composed two episodes with Christopher Lennertz, who serves as the lead composer. Perhaps he’ll get another promotion for his deliberate imperfection as Season 4 begins production.