‘Stranger Things’ music coordinator on reigniting love for Kate Bush

The woman who picked Kate Bush for “Stranger Things”, creating an unlikely summer smash, says Bush’s song allowed the world a much-needed sigh of relief after the stress of the pandemic.

As the Emmy-winning music coordinator for the Netflix show, Nora Felder takes a big part of the credit for turning “Running Up That Hill”, a song first released in 1985, into arguably the defining song of 2022.

After Bush’s song featured in season four in May, it saw an 8,700-percent boost on Spotify, hitting the numberone slot around the world.

“No one imagined what it would become. It swept the world,” Felder told AFP.

“I think the song was a way for the world to exhale, to let go of their breath.

“The primary message of the song is stepping out of your shoes and understanding what the people around you are going through, that sometimes it’s a long road to the top.

“And I think we all felt trapped and didn’t know what was going to happen with the pandemic and everything else.”

‘Kate is very particular’

Felder’s job is more than just sitting around thinking of great tunes for a scene. Her day is filled with budgets, copyright negotiations, hiring bands and composers.

“I’m usually involved in the very early stages of the scripts,” she said.

“It helps me a lot to have the stories in my head, to start building song ideas before it’s shot. When I get to know the characters, that’s when the ideas start coming to me.”

It was a tense moment when she approached Bush’s representatives, not knowing the singer-songwriter was already a fan of the show.

“Because Kate is very particular about how her songs are used, I took a lot of time preparing the context and what it meant to the story and the characters,” Felder said.

“Kate approved it because she understood and accepted the vision that the Duffer brothers (the showrunners) had created.”

It was a huge relief.

“I did have other selections but that was the best one. This song ticked all the check marks — the message behind the song, the way it built, the way it resonated with everything Max (the character) had gone through.”

‘Open their ears’ 

Felder’s other major success in season four was using “Master of Puppets” by Metallica.

She credits the love for character Eddie, who plays the song, with helping it connect to non-metal fans.

“Because the audience fell in love with Eddie, it made them open their ears to the song that exemplified him. They are tough on the outside but on the inside, there’s an emotionality,” she said.

“‘Stranger Things’ is magical. People love the characters so much that it allows them to keep their mind open.”

Metallica sent Felder flowers on the day she won the Emmy for music supervision last month.

“And they followed me on Twitter. I’m still a little kid with certain bands, and I was thinking: ‘Oh my god, Metallica followed me!'” she said.

Felder began her career in music production, assisting on albums by Paul Simon, Sinead O’Connor and Iggy Pop, before moving into soundtracks on “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion” and TV shows like “Ray Donovan” and “Baskets”.

With another season of “Stranger Things” in the pipeline, the pressure is on.

“With what happened this year, I suspect a lot of artists are going to be hoping they can be the next ‘Running Up That Hill’,” she said.

“Who knows, maybe there will be another one or two.”

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