After the cliffhanger finale in Part I, fans of Netflix lupine eagerly waiting for the premiere of Part II, as Assane Diop has become the most wanted man in France. This Friday, the wait is finally over as Netflix will be releasing the next five episodes. Before the premiere of Part II, we spoke to Mathieu exclusively about his work on the show. Read the full interview below.
If you are new to the series, lupine follows the professional thief Assane Diop, the only son of an immigrant from Senegal who came to France to look for a better life for his child. Assane’s father is accused by his employer, the wealthy and powerful Hubert Pellegrini, of stealing an expensive diamond necklace, hangs himself out of shame in his prison cell and leaves the young Assane an orphan.
25 years later, inspired by a book about the gentleman thief Arsène Lupine that his father had given him for his birthday, Assane sets out to take revenge on the Pellegrini family’s crimes. The score by French composer Mathieu Lamboley adds to the tension and emotion of the show. Mathieu constructs a very unique musical landscape for the series and creates a hybrid sound that mixes both classic writing with hip-hop beats.
WoN: Can you tell us how you originally started with lupine? What attracted you to the script?
My French agent heard about the project and the producers organized a pitch. There was a competition with several composers working on some scenes and it managed to get me into the square. I immediately suggested a subject, which ended up being the Arsene subject, the main subject of lupine. What I liked about the script was the fact that the series isn’t a remake of Maurice Leblanc’s books, but rather a way of continuing the book’s legacy into the present with this character of Assane living in 21st century Paris .
WoN: How would you describe your score for the series?
If I had to describe it in one word, I would call it “hybrid”. When I started working on lupine, I spent some time thinking about what the show really stood for. Me, lupine it’s all about inheritance, a father who inherits a literary legacy to his son, and the son carries on the legacy in the present. The question then is how do I translate this into music? I decided to work on hybrid music: mixing my classical heritage with more modern sounds, as if I was trying to bring my musical heritage to life in the present. And that can be heard in the soundtrack: classic writing that merges with hip-hop beats.
WoN: Part II of the series was directed by Ludovic Bernard and Hugo Gélin. What kind of input did each of you have regarding the score for your episodes?
Every director has his own way of talking about music. But on a show like lupine It’s also about unifying the season across all episodes, and it’s part of my job as a composer to create that unity. Ludovic’s episodes were really easy to edit as their aesthetics absolutely matched what I had composed for the first few episodes. Hugo was responsible for the final episodes, especially episode 10, which contains a musical sequence filmed at the Theater du Chatelet. Hugo really wanted to make this last episode huge, like a grand finale, so I had to come up with something really new! A fantastic challenge for me because I ended up composing a symphonic piece.
WoN: How does your score for Part I differ from Part II?
In Part I, I introduced the main themes and really explored Lupine’s hybrid style of music.
Part II was a great opportunity to dig deeper into my writing. That’s what I liked about the series format. It’s a fantastic opportunity for a composer because you have time to develop your ideas. In the further course of the episodes you can go much further in terms of creativity, because the audience has become familiar with the collective palette of sounds and themes of the show. For the final episode, I wrote a rich symphony in which all the themes of the show are mixed together. In any other episode it would probably have been too much, but it was very appropriate for the Part II finale.
Won: lupine gives a meta-twist to the stories of master thief Arsène Lupine, created by Maurice Leblanc in 1905. In some stories, Lupine even crossed Sherlock Holmes. Were you familiar with Leblanc’s stories before you started working on the series? Have you since come back and read them?
As a kid I was a real fan of Arsene Lupine books, I’ve read a lot of them so I knew the character and already loved him. When I started working on the Netflix show, I stopped reading it, maybe because I was too busy composing, but also because I think my mission was to create a unique soundtrack for the show compose not to be an Arsene Lupine expert. Overall, I was mostly inspired by the show itself, but always had my childhood memories in the back of my mind.
WoN: Do you have an orchestra for them lupine Result? If so, can you say where you recorded everything?
In different studios, in France and Macedonia. It was important to work with real people. When you hear a bass clarinet lupine, someone actually recorded it. For my symphony in the last episode, we were lucky enough to work with a great French orchestra: the Orchester National d’Ile de France. We had 72 talented musicians playing my piece. We have excellent musicians here in France and it was important to me to show that too.
WoN: There were four directors between Part I and Part II. How do you get a consistent sound between all the different creative inputs?
When you’re working on a show like this, you spend a lot of time finding the right color during the first few episodes, which basically defines the DNA of the music. There are long and rich discussions with all of the producers, showrunners, and executives at Netflix. Once that language is established everyone will respect it as an essential feature of the show. The music becomes another main character. Just like with characters’ personality traits, once you have them, you play with them and develop them even further. You wouldn’t completely change them from episode to episode just because of the director.
WoN: One of the things the critics rave about is getting to see France up close through the show, with your score making it even more authentic. Since you are French yourself, how do you think your tone and style of music differs from American composers?
I am definitely a French composer who studied at the Paris Conservatory and my favorite composers are Ravel and Debussy. You can certainly hear that in my music at some point. But most importantly, I think I’m not trying to sound American or “international”. I accept my inheritance. Like the whole show, she does not try to erase her “Frenchity”. I think it’s part of the interest of a show like this that has gotten a wide international audience. People see Paris, French culture, they can hear our language. And I tend to think that I can share French music too. In production, we are happy to show our know-how, which corresponds to international standards and at the same time retains our personality.
Won: lupine is a French series but has gained popularity around the world. Part I was projected to be seen by 70 million people. What do you think people like about the show?
I think it’s part of the appeal of showing off French culture, maybe even more so at a time when people couldn’t travel easily. And then it’s just a good show! I think people enjoy Arsène’s character the most. Omar’s rendition is fantastic, playful, friendly, and fun with this touch of low-fi tricks. He makes Assanane deeply human, isn’t that what it’s about, isn’t it?
Lupine Part II is coming to Netflix on June 11, 2021.