Loki Composer Natalie Holt Talks Crafting the God of Mischief’s Sound

We’re officially five episodes into Marvel Studios Loki, and it’s safe to say that the Disney+ series has taken fans on a wild ride. Spinning out of the events of Avengers: Endgame, the series opens with Loki (Tom Hiddleston) having stolen the Tesseract in 2012, a chain of events that brings him into the world of the Time Variance Authority. Joined by characters including Mobius (Owen Wilson), Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), Sylvie (Sophia di Martino), Loki has been on a quest to explore his own destiny — and, in the process, his journey has absolutely captivated Marvel fans.

One of the most buzzworthy elements of the series has been its score, which establishes a fantastical, trippy tone that the rest of the series absolutely rises to meet. That score is courtesy of composer Natalie Holt, who previously worked on titles such as Paddington, Knightfall, and Victoria. Over the past five episodes, Loki has introduced Holt’s talents to a whole new audience — and, based on the ever-growing number of covers and tributes online, established a lot of new fans for her as well.

ComicBook.com got a chance to chat with Holt just prior to the release of Episode 5 about her work on Loki, and how she brought the series’ unique sound to life. We also spoke about what musical moments are still in store for the series, what her favorite sequences have been thus far, and so much more!

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ComicBook.com: In previous interviews, you mentioned that Loki was one of your favorite characters. I was curious what drew you to Loki, and to the idea of being a part of his solo series?

Natalie Holt: I mean, opportunity drew me to the project. They were looking for someone, and I didn’t even know what it was when I signed up to do it. So I would have never dreamed of… I kind of felt like it was out of my league. And when I found out that that’s what it was, I was just totally blown away. It wasn’t like I pursued it. It just feels like good fortune, that it came along to my agent, and that [director] Kate [Herron] and I seemed to gel, and she liked my pitch and it all went on from there. I just feel so lucky to have landed the job, basically.

And I think Loki, just as a character, really appealed to me because he’s sort of… I don’t know. He’s mischievous and cheeky and he does these terrible things, but you kind of… he’s like a sort of naughty child in a way. You forgive him and you’re fond of him, even though he’s a bit naughty and wrong. I feel like, as his character gets fleshed out as well, you become more fond of him.

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I really love your main theme for Loki. It makes so much sense for this character, and it feels like it should have been with him forever. What was your approach to creating a theme for Loki, and having it be this definitive part of the character?

So I had the job interview, and then I had to pitch on a scene. And the scene for the pitch was the Time Theater, when they’re coming down the elevator in episode one and going into the Time Theater. And I just kind of put that theme, as he was walking down the corridor with Mobius, I was playing it on the piano, just the low end of it. I didn’t come up with the string rips over the top until later. But his theme came really quickly after I’d read the script, and the very first day I was kind of working on it.

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What was your approach to some of the other characters on Loki? In the past, you’ve said Mobius was almost a ’90s Bon Jovi influence. I was curious — with Mobius and with Ravonna and some of the other characters in Loki’s orbit — how you approached that musically.

Mobius and Ravonna felt connected to me. They’re old friends and they seem to have a connection as well. Ravonna’s theme, definitely… I think because she’s kind of a judge and she sits in this position of power, I took the Mobius theme and tried it on a kind of high organ. Her theme’s sort of got lots of effects on it. It’s got string tremolandos as well, but it’s an organ version of the Mobius theme. So their themes are connected.

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What was the process like of recording for the series during the pandemic? I’ve spoken to other composers who have worked on projects in this stretch of time, and they’ve said that trying to do it virtually was very odd and interesting, so I was curious how that was for you.

It is so weird, because I think Kate and I… It’s funny, we’re both from Kent. We’re both only children. We both kind of love animals and stuff. We have quite similar tastes, I think. I feel like she’s a pal, and I can’t believe I’ve never met her. She just blows my mind, because we’ve kind of been through this really kind of incredible experience together and created this art — I suppose you can call it.

It’s so crazy to have done that all remotely. It’s like a weird social experiment that’s actually turned out really well. Who knows? We might meet up — we’re meant to be meeting up to do a podcast together next week. So maybe we’ll meet up and be like, “Oh wow. I really don’t like you at all.” I don’t know. I’m sure we won’t. I’m sure it will be really nice. It’s just bonkers, the whole thing. I’ve not met anyone in real life who’s worked on this.

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Doing this remotely, were there any kind of sources of inspiration or influences that you added where you were like, “I cannot believe that this is the thing that I’m making work”?

I have to say, I think the most I was able to push it was in episode six. I can’t really say more than that, but episode six feels… I scored the end of episode six first, so I knew where I was going, and everything felt like it was seeding that whole kind of thing. I definitely was like, “This is so cool that I can do this, and I’m being allowed to do this.”

And all the things I was asking for, like a huge brass section and a big choir. We weren’t talking about that at the beginning, but it just kind of grew and grew. And the forces that I was using were becoming bigger and bigger and they were just like, “We’ll support you. If this is what you need to do what you want to do, then we’ll give it to you.” And I thought that was amazing, to just have the support and the resources. It’s been an amazing process and I’ve just been supported in my vision the whole time. It’s like a dream, to be honest.

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What would you say has surprised you the most while working on the score for Loki?

The freedom. For me, I kind of thought Marvel had — I mean, I’m a big fan. I love their shows, I’ve watched all of their films before I started. Except for Ant-Man, that was the only one I’d not seen, but now I’ve seen it. And Thor was one of my favorite ends of the spectrum, so it’s so cool to be involved with that side of this story. I felt like maybe there was a slight kind of formula, or there was a certain in-house way, of like “This is the Marvel way of doing things.” And then when I got the job and started working for them, I realized that they’re totally up for just totally smashing that. They were just like, “Don’t be bound by anything we’ve done before. We want this to be totally different, and you can kind of do whatever you like.” It’s just amazing. It was just total freedom and creative support. It was really cool.

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Is there a moment that you’re the proudest of in the score for season one?

I love the moment when Mobius is pruned. When I came up with that blend of the Mobius theme and the Loki theme, and when he’s walking slow motion down the corridor, feeling totally desolate. I just felt really kind of in tune with that moment, and kind of happy with how that turned out.

There are some moments coming up, which I’m really proud of as well, but I can’t [give] spoilers to be telling you about those.

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What has it been like to see the response to your score thus far? Just seeing on Twitter and social media, it seems like people are really vibing with the music.

It’s amazing. I’m so blown away. People have been writing to me, and music students have been analyzing stuff. And seeing the tribute versions — I guess that’s what you call them. Before I released the album, people were doing versions and putting them on YouTube, and they were having a hundred thousand hits. That was bonkers. I can’t believe it. It’s amazing to have created a soundtrack that people seem to kind of click with. It’s really a really good feeling.

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New episodes of Loki will drop on Disney+ on Wednesdays. If you haven’t signed up for Disney+ yet, you can try it out here.

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