Soundtrack: HBO's <I>Euphoria</I>
Issue: May/June 2022

Soundtrack: HBO's Euphoria

HBO’s Euphoria is a dramatic series that follows a group of high school students as they navigate drugs, sex, identity, trauma, social media, love and friendship. The show was created, written, directed and executive produced by Sam Levinson, and stars Emmy winner Zendaya. It’s produced in partnership with A24. Season 2 runs eight-episodes, covering intertwining lives in the town of East Highland, where 17-year-old Rue (Zendaya) must find hope while balancing the pressures of love, loss and addiction. 

According to supervisor/sound designer Wylie Stateman, sound plays an important role in the show.

Euphoria delivers a highly-stylized experience, much like a precision coordinated baton pass in an Olympic-sized relay race, with picture editorial working hand-in-hand with the sound design and mix. At its core, creating Euphoria was run-and-gun filmmaking with a rolling-mix approval process.”

Sean O’Malley is production mixer on Euphoria, and adds that the show presented the sound team with a number of unique challenges. 

Photo (L-R): Wylie Stateman and Sean O’Malley

“All musical performances were recorded live, on-set, capturing raw emotions that would otherwise be lost in a pre-record,” O’Malley explains. “The audio for stunts and large crowd scenes were also recorded at 32-bit float with a Holophone 5.1 microphone, avoiding the need for loop groups and creating a more immersive sound experience for the audience. The combined power of live vocals, environmental sounds and musical instrumentation is central to the show’s authentic sentiment.”

Season 2 premiered on January 9th with the finale airing on February 27th. HBO announced plans to renew the show for a third season.