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What the Stranger Things Theme Almost Sounded Like (Exclusive)

LOS ANGELES — Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, the duo responsible for a seismic shift in the music of film and television over the last three years due to their breakthrough success in Netflix’s Stranger Things, originally created a theme for the show that had a significantly different sound, Stein told Score: The Podcast.

The episode featuring Dixon and Stein releases Tuesday and is free to listen on Apple Podcasts.

In it, the duo talks about getting a random email from the Duffer Brothers after 'Dirge,' a song from their band S U R V I V E, was used in a trailer that helped sell the show. After working through a few episodes, Stein and Dixon were then asked to create the show's title theme.

Stein shared the original demo created for the Stranger Things theme, previously unreleased, with Score: The Podcast.

"The source of that cue started as just a little library piece that was an idea," Stein said.

“Because [the Duffer Brothers] used ‘Dirge’ in the trailer, we were kind of thinking that they wanted something like that for the theme, so most of the ideas we pitched as themes were more in that vein," Dixon said. "Then they said, 'Hey, there's something to this demo, maybe try to play around with that.'"

"I kind of felt obsessed with themes," Stein said, "and I hadn't heard one that really got your attention from any of the TV I had been watching since like Twin Peaks or something, so it was just really important to put a lot of time on the title."

The sound differs greatly from the final version used for Netflix’s hit series, but contains several recognizable musical elements.

Stein and Dixon, members of the Austin-based band S U R V I V E, used analog synths and electronic production tools to create the dark, rich emotional character of the show, and shared some of their musical inspirations on Score: The Podcast, as well as revealing they’d recorded the sound of the Wheeler family’s out-of-tune piano (on the Stranger Things set in Atlanta) for parts of Season 2.

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