Soundtrack: <I>Warrior</I>
Issue: May/June 2021

Soundtrack: Warrior

Warrior is a gritty, action-packed crime drama set during the brutal Tong Wars of San Francisco’s Chinatown in the late 19th century. Based on the writings of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, the first two seasons premiered on Cinemax and are now streaming on HBO Max, as will the upcoming Season 3.

The series returned for its ten-episode second season in October. Warrior was created by and is executive produced by Jonathan Tropper under Tropper Ink Productions. The show is executive produced by Justin Lin for Perfect Storm Entertainment, and executive produced by Shannon Lee for Bruce Lee Entertainment. 

Reza Safinia co-composed the score with H. Scott Salinas.

"The big challenge with Season 2 was where to take it from Season 1,” says Safinia. “It was a similar dilemma as many artists have with making their second album, because we had already established something that worked and had a fan base with the first season.”

Safinia says the composers wanted to build on what they had while still pushing the envelope. At the same time, they wanted to be faithful to the vibe of the show. 

Photo: Reza Safinia

“We both had our own ways of getting ourselves in the headspace to do that,” says Safinia. “For me, I focused on meditating so I could get myself into a state of flow. Once I did that I didn't have to think about it, I just picked up instruments and started playing. This led to a sound that was less produced than the first season, and more live sounding. We just set up the studio so that we could pick up any instrument and just go straight into record, either micing instruments or DI’ing. Most of the composition was done on the fly in this way, and most performances were just one take. Quite often we would just be watching the show and playing along, and then building layer by layer on top. It was really fun working this way, being so fluid and not looking back, pretty much the first idea on everything ended up being ‘the’ idea."