Daisy Jones and the Six: how we created the Amazon Prime series’ unique musical sound

 (Lacey Terrell/Prime Video)
(Lacey Terrell/Prime Video)

Search Daisy Jones and the Six on Spotify, and you’ll easily find their album Aurora; in fact, with more than a million monthly listeners, they’re a musical group on the up.

Except they don’t exist: the band itself, and its distinctive sound, was actually created for the new Prime Video show of the same name.

Set in the 1970s, the TV show (and the book by Taylor Jenkins Reid on which it was based) tells the story of a band very like Fleetwood Mac, whose rise to fame and subsequent collapse makes them one of the most famous bands of the era.

To make a show about musical legends, the team behind Daisy Jones had to develop their own distinctive musical sound, as well as a tracklist worthy of their fictional protagonists.

To do that, they called on Tony Berg and Blake Mills. Berg is a veteran music producer who has been in the industry since the Seventies; Mills is a musician, and he brought together a crack team to get the job done.

“I actually experienced a lot of what is talked about in the book,” Berg explains. So when Amazon came knocking at the door, the opportunity was too good to pass up.

The band on stage (Lacey Terrell/Prime Video)
The band on stage (Lacey Terrell/Prime Video)

“It enabled Blake to do a lot of writing and producing; for me to work with the cast members and musicians. And that was wonderful. But secondarily, and the thing that I find most impressive is… they trusted Blake to provide all the songs for the show. And to my knowledge, that’s unprecedented.”

As part of the pair’s songwriting process, they enlisted artists such as Marcus Mumford and Berg’s own daughter, the musician Z Berg, to create an evolving sound for The Six, which would reflect the band’s rise to fame and improving musical prowess.

They already had a good place to start: Jenkins Reid, who wrote the original novel, had included a tracklist for the band’s magnum opus, Aurora, in the back of her book – as well as lyrics for each of the songs.

Did any of those lyrics end up making the final cut? Sort of.

“We didn’t draw upon the lyrics specifically, but instead of the spirit of them, and the intention,” Berg says.

“What we came up with were lyrics that don’t attempt to advance the action, as you might in a musical, but instead, to evoke an ethos and revisit an era without being so constrained by that, that it wouldn’t speak to a contemporary audience.”

It helped that their studio in Sound City was already set up with a lot of equipment from back in the day: a recording console, outboard gear and even guitars and keyboards that helped to evoke the sound of the era.

Part of the show’s appeal, of course, is listening to Daisy Jones and the Six record their songs live in the studio – and indeed, all of the show’s cast (such as keyboardist Karen, played by musician Suki Waterhouse) learned how to play their songs note-for-note.

“We were miming very accurately along to the music that because we had a pre-record,” says Josh Whitehouse, who plays bassist Eddie Rowntree. “Obviously they wouldn’t be recording live audio on the day for editing purposes and everything. So we weren’t playing, but we were playing along to the music that was in the show.”

Sam Claflin practising in the studio (Lacey Terrell/Prime Video)
Sam Claflin practising in the studio (Lacey Terrell/Prime Video)

“We always had a live feed going out of all of our instruments. So in the mix they may have cut in you know, if somebody does like a little cool thing and they wanted to keep it, then they could take the audio and mix it into the track as well.”

“Marcus Mumford who wrote Look At Us Now – which is out on Spotify – he was recording his solo album at the time that I was recording Look At Us Now in the same studio,” says Sam Claflin, who plays one of the band’s leads, Billy Dunne.

“There was a point, I was sat having my lunch, I remember trying to strum it on guitar, and he came he came in and him and Blake Mills who is at the helm of our music producing – they just started coming up with ideas for this song. I was just eating my lunch completely dumbfounded… [watching] two geniuses at work, just kind of bouncing off one another.”

Playing the music was one thing – Claflin and Riley Keough, who plays Daisy, actually had to sing.

“Producing actors who are singing for the first time is a delicate procedure,” Berg admits. “And it could have been a mess, except you’re dealing with two fantastic actors who began as nervous first timers. And by the end of process were more than competent – they were excellent.”

Daisy Jones and the Six is streaming now on Prime Video