Composer of Disney’s Star vs the Forces of Evil and NBC’s upcoming sitcom, Abby’s, Brian H. Kim, chatted with Hidden Remote about his work on both shows!
Music makes a show. How many times have you watched an episode and felt yourself emotionally swayed in one direction or another by a song or melody? Harmonies can indicate tonal shifts and even inform you about a character. Star vs the Forces of Evil is a great example of a show that utilizes its score this way. Brian H. Kim, the composer of Star vs the Forces of Evil, chatted with us about his work on the show, his feelings on its final season, and his upcoming NBC sitcom, Abby’s.
Hidden Remote: What are your feelings going into the final season of Star vs the Forces of Evil?
Brian H. Kim: It’s bittersweet. We’ve been working up to this moment for a long time and we’re really excited for us and for the viewers, but at the same time when you’ve been working on something for this long you get pretty attached to it. The crew becomes like a family.
HR: I can imagine. I’m sad as a fan of the show so I’m sure it must be difficult for you guys who have been there every day. You mentioned working with the actors, so do you get to collaborate with them?
Brian H. Kim: There are a lot of songs weaved in and out of the show. I was a huge acapella nerd in college, so when I got out here and started working on songs the showrunners would ask me if I was comfortable coming in and directing the singers and I was like “yes!” because it was fun for me.
I would get to produce the session and tell them what we wanted the song to be and my temp vocals would usually be there so they would have a reference track. I would let them do their own thing but also steer them in the right direction. I got to work with a bunch of the actors, like Eden Sher and Adam McArthur, the two leads, and then the guest actors like Patrick Stump and Nick Lachey.
HR: Is it cool to see people, like Nick Lachey, singing the music you wrote or is it hard to watch someone else singing your lyrics?
Brian H. Kim: I’m fine with it! Even though I sang in college, I’m one of those people who doesn’t really like to listen to himself sing. I never go on stage to do karaoke, my friends are like “you’re a professional!” but no, it’s not me. Especially with somebody like Nick Lachey, who I grew up listening to, to see him sing something I wrote was super fun. And he was great in the studio, he was enthusiastic and brought tons of energy.
Same thing with Patrick Stump, I’ve always been a huge Fall Out Boy fan and it was one of those cases where he would do a take and ask me my opinion and I’d be like, “It was great! I’m so happy you’re doing this! Let’s do another one!” They were so professional because these guys have been doing it for so long and they come ready to roll.
HR: That’s awesome you get to work together on creating the songs. Do you have a favorite character to write music for on the show?
Brian H. Kim: The character Eclipsa (voiced by Esmé Bianco) is my favorite. Her story is so tragic. Everybody thought she was evil when she was queen so they froze her for centuries and then her daughter was taken away, her husband was taken away. Then she’s unfrozen and the world she knew was gone and her daughter turned out to be evil and she had to fight her own daughter! The emotional through-line for her was gratifying to watch unfold and to score.