Music supervisor Season Kent is responsible for two of summer’s hottest soundtracks: the sensual stripper anthems of “Magic Mike XXL” and the indie teen grooves in “Paper Towns.” She established herself as a pop influencer after assembling the soundtrack for “The Fault in Our Stars” last summer, which launched Charli XCX’s “Boom Clap” into the stratosphere. Kent now has two beloved John Green novel adaptations under her belt, with “Paper Towns” in theaters this weekend. Ahead of the premiere, Kent told Variety about her favorite teen movie soundtracks, Green’s obsession with the Mountain Goats and the disaster that would unfold if the soundtracks for “Magic Mike XXL” and “Paper Towns” got mixed up.
When did you know you wanted to go into music supervision?
I was in college and kind of trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I’ve always been a big fan of movies and music and buying soundtracks, and I was a big fan of “The OC” and “Dawson’s Creek” and all those kinds of shows.
Had you read any of John Green’s books before working on adaptations of them?
I hadn’t, actually.
How did your experience on “The Fault in Our Stars” shape your plans for “Paper Towns”?
The biggest thing is just preserving and making sure John’s books are there. As much as the script is so similar to the book, I think we’re preserving his legacy, his style and his tone. Because the movies are completely different. “Fault” is heart-wrenching, and it’s such a love story, and “Paper Towns” is a mystery and a road trip. It’s a completely different vibe. As far as tone goes, they were very different. But it’s the same themes that come up in his books. I just wanted to continue where we left off and make sure we stayed in the same realm.
John Green has been vocal about his love for the band Mountain Goats. How did you decide how much of their music to include in the film?
The first time I met John was after we finished “Fault.” I had dinner with him and they were prepping for “Paper Towns.” And he said, “Season, you know ‘Paper Towns’ is going to be all Mountain Goats songs.’” I said, “Oh. OK.”
There are all these references to the band in the book. When I met the director and we got into post, he said, ‘We have to get a Mountain Goats song into this movie for John. We have to.’ I think John was really, really excited.
“Boom Clap” by Charli XCX off the “Fault in Our Stars” soundtrack was a gigantic hit. Do you anticipate any of the songs on the “Towns” soundtrack reaching “Boom Clap” levels?
The Saint Motel song has taken off. It was already out, starting to have legs a couple months ago, but a lot of people are really excited about it. I love the Santigold song “Radio.” I think she’s rad.
And there’s some undiscovered stuff. These kids might not know who Alice Boman is, or maybe they’ll become the biggest fans of The War on Drugs. I think there are some gems on the record that might be discovered. And Vance Joy is a huge one, too. That one and Saint Motel may take off.
How did Nat and Alex Wolff’s song make its way onto the soundtrack?
It was really organic. Nat had written a song right when they wrapped production. He sent it to the director, and at first we thought it was so sweet and decided to wait and see what happened. We didn’t want to make any promises and upset him, you know?
When we were wrapping up post, there wasn’t really anywhere in the film to put the song, but we decided to put it in the end credits and on the soundtrack. We knew the fans would be super excited. Everyone loves Nat… I’m so glad that was able to happen for him and his brother.
What’s your favorite teen movie soundtrack?
“Clueless.” And I was a huge fan of “Dazed and Confused,” which was all classic rock. Anything from that movie. “Reality Bites” I watched all the time. The music is so good in that movie. Those U2 songs!
“Romeo + Juliet” was probably my tops — I mean, Radiohead when we see DiCaprio for the first time? I also loved “Empire Records.” I was hugely obsessed with that Toad the Wet Sprocket song “Crazy Life”
If you were to star in a movie about your own high school experience, what would be on the soundtrack?
Alanis Morissette, Jamiroquai, Nirvana and Sarah McLachlan.
Does your process differ based on the genre of the movie you’re working on?
I feel really fortunate to be able to work in so many different genres because I really have to keep up with new music. I’m not really stuck in just comedies or just romantic movies or in that singer-songwriter mode. I have to hear everything.
I think it all starts with the movie, and what the movie needs and what the director is looking for. It’s all different. “Magic Mike” obviously, after talking to those guys, we went for sexy R&B. Each scene calls for something. You can tell. You may need something out of left field, like Backstreet Boys.
Are you working on any upcoming projects?
I’m doing “Suicide Squad” with music supervisor Gabe Hilfer. That’s a big one. And I’m doing “How to Be Single,” a New Line movie with Rebel Wilson. So those two are pretty different.
Do you have any dream projects?
I feel like I’ve been working on my dream projects. It’s so fortunate that people are responding to what I do and that they like my taste.
What would happen if you were to switch the soundtracks from “Magic Mike XXL” and “Paper Towns”?
Ha! I don’t know. (“Paper Towns” director Jake Schreier) might be happy. He loves the music from “Magic Mike.” It would totally not have worked, but that would have been hilarious. Everyone would be very confused. Like, “Oh, this is sexier than we thought ‘Paper Towns’ would be.” And then “Magic Mike” would be so boring. But yeah, that would be funny!