Thanks everyone for your fantastic questions and interesting Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. It was a pleasure being here. Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

If you'd like to hear more about the music on Breaking Bad, our good friends at SlashFilm just posted an interview I did on their "The Ones Who Knock" podcast.

Be sure to check out our websites as well for information regarding all of our projects:

Hi Reddit! Very excited to be here! I've had the honor of working on some amazing television projects and am looking forward to your questions.

Thomas Golubić is a Los Angeles-based music supervisor, DJ and Grammy-nominated record producer. His music supervision credits include the AMC series Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, The Killing, the HBO series Six Feet Under, the Showtime series Ray Donovan, and The New Line film After The Sunset among many other film & television projects. Thomas was twice nominated for Grammy awards for producing volumes 1 and 2 of the Six Feet Under soundtrack album, and with former partner Gary Calamar was responsible for the use of Sia’s “Breathe Me” in the final scene of the series. It is considered one of the most memorable uses of music in television, and launched Sia’s music career in America.


Comments: 731 • Responses: 73  • Date: 

RustyTank724 karma

Hey Thomas, first I'd just like to say that Breaking Bad wouldn't have been the same without the excellent choice of music thought the series, so thank you for that. I was wondering how long you guys held onto the "Crystal Blue Persuasion" song before you used it in the first half of the fifth season? It seems like a perfect song for the series. Thanks!

thomasgolubic_smv423 karma

Hi Rusty, great to be here. We periodically create new mixtapes for Breaking Bad. This happens a few times every season. When the Blue Meth became a character in the show, we put together a whole batch of "Blue" themed songs in case they would ever come in handy. That song was included on one of those mixtapes in the second season, so it's been hanging around for a while. It was Vince Gilligan, our showrunner, who pulled that choice out from those mixtapes for this amazing montage.

pwaves13572 karma

so. Was Blue (Da Ba Bee) suggested as a song?

thomasgolubic_smv784 karma


mrninja101286 karma

I absolutely loved the music in Breaking Bad, but my favorite musical moments happened during the end credits (at least in the netflix version of the show), where you would remix an important sound that occurred during the show into a song. For instance, the moment when you put hector's bell into music was utterly fantastic as a viewer and a listener.

Now comes my question. What is your favorite song in real life, and what was your favorite song in the show?

thomasgolubic_smv298 karma

Hi Mrninja101. I should point out that the end title music for each episode of Breaking Bad is created by our very talented composer Dave Porter. He creates all those elegant call-backs and does remarkable work for Breaking Bad. There are two soundtracks of his work available online. Check Amazon. Well worth picking up. Can't speak to my favorite song or favorite song in Breaking Bad. There are too many wonderful ones, and you wouldn't ask a nun what her favorite child was in the orphanage. There's my diplomatic answer....

ImNotJesus259 karma


thomasgolubic_smv161 karma

That was all Dave Porter, our very talented composer for Breaking Bad.

jacobchapman246 karma

Welcome, Thomas! The moment that cemented my love for Breaking Bad was the final scene of Season 1, at the impound lot with Tuco. Gnarls Barkely's "Who's Gonna Save My Soul" plays the scene out, and it couldn't sum up Walt and Jesse's realization of how deep in shit they are any better.

What has been your favorite music related scene or piece you've worked on, and why?

thomasgolubic_smv537 karma

I can't speak to my favorite as I love them all, but am really happy to see you pointed out Gnarls Barkley's "Who's Gonna Save My Soul" at the end of season 1.
We actually had a dilemma with that episode in that the writer's strike at the time ended our season early. There were originally going to be two more episodes one in which Jesse Pinkman was going to be killed. Thank God that didn't happen! When we got to the end of episode 107, which was going to be a relatively straightforward episode ender, we realized that this was suddenly going to be the season finale. By chance, I happened to be in Park City, Utah for a DJ gig at the Sundance Film Festival and bumped into my old friend Daniele Luppi, who had been working on the 2nd Gnarls Barkley record. I didn't even realize there was one in the works. When I got back to LA, I reached out to Danger Mouse and got an early version of that album. That song struck me as being a perfect way of being able to make more of the scene than was originally there. It worked out and we closed out the first season in style.

mrsparckle144 karma

Why "Knife Party - Bonfire"?

That was the most startling moment for me in all of Breaking Bad.

thomasgolubic_smv191 karma

We have Walt Sr. and Walt Jr. both acting like clowns. Writer Sam Catlin and Director Rian Johnson made a product placement opportunity into something really fun and story-specific and a bro-step rager like "Bonfire" felt right for it. Glad you liked it too...

Quakespeare140 karma

Hey bud, so you're the chap who came up with Apparat's Goodbye for the scene where Gus walks towards the retirement home?

I'd like to shake your hand someday, maybe.

thomasgolubic_smv145 karma

Thanks, Quakespeare. I will be happy to share in that handshake. That was another scene that I am particularly proud of. I remember that when Vince Gilligan first watched that scene with that song, he said it was one of his favorite music moments in the series up to that point.

onefinelookingtuna122 karma

Was there ever a song that you wanted to use in Breaking Bad but couldn't find a way to fit it in?

thomasgolubic_smv568 karma

There are tons of them. Someday I'll look into putting together an 'almost made it onto Breaking Bad' mix and upload to our website, or Spotify.

Josh1511103 karma

Hey, as everyone's probably already said, I think that the music in Breaking Bad is a large part of what makes it so great. How did you build up such a great knowledge of music to use for the show? Every song used seems perfect for the situation. Also thanks for getting me into a bunch of artists from the show!

thomasgolubic_smv140 karma

Thanks, Josh1511. I am very proud of the music in our projects and when you have the great benefit of working with fantastic storytelling, as we do in Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Six Feet Under and Ray Donovan, it helps enormously in finding the choices that best tell the story being told. Clear storytelling makes interesting music choices much easier. I was a DJ at KCRW 89.9 FM for 10 years and listened to an absolutely enormous amount of music - sitting in for every show from Reggae, to Country, to Gospel, to Blues, to Classical music to Rock and Dance. You learn so much just by listening and learning about music. I've also spent most of my life watching and studying films. By learning the craft of storytelling through those efforts, one skill help another skill. I believe it all comes from passion and work. When you love doing something you do it over and over again gladly. Those that work the hardest, often end up doing some of the best work. I hope to someday include myself in that category.

dummystupid86 karma

Do you ever walk around with head phones on and try to score the world with the perfect music?

thomasgolubic_smv189 karma

All the time. Every moment you are alive is an opportunity to be creative and playing music through your adventures in life is a very nice way to spend it. IMO

timmylawlessyo72 karma

Hi Thomas, thanks for all your work on the show! The music you chose gave Breaking Bad an even greater atmosphere than it had on its own.

Are there any good stories for the song "Negro y Azul"? How did you find that group of musicians? What made them stand out?

thomasgolubic_smv174 karma

The creation of the narcocorrido "Negro y Azul: The Ballad of Heisnberg" was one of the most challenging efforts on Breaking Bad, and one that I am very proud of. Vince and the Breaking Bad writers had found an amazing video to a narcocorrido online and sent it over to me. "We want to make one of these about 'Heisenberg'" was the directive.

I looked into existing artists in the narcocorrido field but found that everybody I spoke to either had an outstanding warrant, or had immigration issues or otherwise needed to be paid in cash, which wasn't an option. Sony Picture Television wouldn't allow us to work 'under-the-table' so I reached out to one of the Godfathers of the genre Pepe Garza who runs a radio station that plays narcocorridos and also writes songs. He was hired to adapt a song that was written by the writers, and we reached out to Sony Music Latin who brought Los Cuates De Sinaloa to the table. It all came together in a low-key studio in Burbank and we shot the video on location in Albuquerque. It was a great adventure...

Guido_Cavalcante70 karma

Hi Thomas - Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. The tone of Breaking Bad gets much darker as the season go on. How did you try to capture that with the music? (genre, etc.)

thomasgolubic_smv123 karma

That's a tricky question. I would say, we always work with picture and with the story we are telling. By making sure we are always sensitive to that, we will deliver the right answers. In some cases, when the story in Breaking Bad is at its darkest - for example Ozymandias, this season - we ended up presenting a song to Vince "Take My True Love By The Hand" that was deceptively upbeat, but it did speak to the story we were telling and allowed the audience to take a little breath after the brutal actions that had preceded it.

SmokingPopes64 karma

One of my favorite parts about the series was it's ability to use silence just as well as music to create tensions and dramatic moments.

We're you involved at all in the decisions on where to add music but also where silence would be more effective?

thomasgolubic_smv81 karma

Excellent question. You guys are asking some really smart ones... We have what is called a 'music spotting session' where the showrunner, or director (for a film) and the key producers, editors, music editor, composer, music supervisor and often the key sound effects and dialogue supervisors all gather together in a room to watch the episode from start to finish and discuss all music, foley (sound effects) and dialogue (ADR) needs for the episode. This is a very creative session and we present, or come up with all the creative directives there. Then we each go back to our studios or workplaces and assemble the options or elements to deliver to the producers. In the case of Breaking Bad, we are very careful to use silence as a key ingredient in our creative palate.

no1partyanthem56 karma

Hi, Thomas. Thanks for the AMA. I realise there might be several questions from Breaking Bad fans about that final scene in Felina, so I'll get mine in early. Before Vince Gilligan suggested Baby Blue, did you have any other songs in mind? How aware were you of Badfinger's work?

thomasgolubic_smv89 karma

Hi no1partyanthem, I was already well aware of Badfinger's work, and that song "Baby Blue" was in one of my mixtapes, but not one I sent off to Vince. I liked the song, but didn't really have a scene in mind for it. It was Vince who pulled it from his iPod when he was first working on the final episode, which he wrote and directed. Before I saw the scene, I pulled together a number of ideas - one which I thought worked pretty beautifully against picture: The Bees "No More Excuses" - but once I saw that beautiful shot, and saw the scene in context, I realized why Vince was so strongly attached to the Badfinger song. It's tricky for us as music supervisors in that we keep pulling together ideas and revising them. None of us know the right answer until we are at the very end of that process and have cut and locked picture to work with. Vince is just really talented at knowing what the final effect he is looking for, and knew early on that Badfinger's "Baby Blue" was the right choice for what he was looking to do. It took until the final picture was assembled that I was able to also see what a fantastic choice it was.

BillWeld54 karma

You had me at Out of Time Man. What a ride! Thank you so much!

I read somewhere that you tried to talk Vince out of the Badfinger piece in the finale. Is that true? If so, what did you want? I think the way it turned out is fine but I have to admit it feels very different from the other season finales. But then, the whole episode is very different.


thomasgolubic_smv128 karma

Hi Bill, Thanks for the call-back to the pilot episode. There was a Rolling Stone interview that kind of mis-represented what I said. You know how journalists sometimes try to create drama where there isn't any. I think that writer went over-board in trying to imply that I was against Badfingers "Baby Blue" or trying to talk Vince out of something. I was looking into lots of different options for the scene as I always do. Nobody really believes what's printed in Rolling Stone anymore, anyway... :)

Morrison_2144 karma

Why did you chose "Breathe Me"?

Excellent choice, by the way.

thomasgolubic_smv65 karma

Thank you, Morrison 21. Myself and my former partner in SMV, Gary Calamar, were both introduced to Sia when she guested on the Zero 7 record many years ago. We were big fans of that record and reached out to her management in Australia for more of her music. Gary and I were both DJs at Los Angeles radio station KCRW at the time. Folks don't remember this, but Sia's "Breathe Me" was actually used in the trailer for Season 5. Alan Ball loved the song so much that he decided it was what we should use to build the final sequence of the show, and that's how it came together. There's a much longer story about the complexities of making it work, but it was another mixtape discovery.


How hard was it to decide the music for the Breaking Bad ending? Did Vince have a say?

thomasgolubic_smv70 karma

Vince always has a say. Breaking Bad is great because of Vince Gilligan's talent and generosity. He encourages all of us who work on the show - whether it be Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and the rest of the case, or Michael Slovis, our incredible Director of Photography or any of the members of his team, or the rest of the crew - to do our very best work, and he guides all of us to the best creative answers based upon the options we deliver to him. So, Vince has say in everything. It's his tireless work and generosity of spirit that make the show so special.

gottafeelyourlines28 karma

Hi Thomas! Thanks for doing this! First off, major props! Six Feet Under and Breaking Bad are two of my favorites and a lot of that is indebted to the music used.

As for my question, I wanted to ask you about how one would get music to you. I work for an independent music publishing company and we've been trying to find the best ways to get our music to big time music supervisors but have found it's difficult to be heard. Our music is all pre-cleared and from unsigned artists which I know can be helpful, but we still haven't quite gotten our foot in the door. So I was hoping you could give me any advice for how to get to supervisors of your caliber and specifically what your requirements are when considering music. Thanks!

thomasgolubic_smv43 karma

We receive too much music at this point to be able to get through it all, and unfortunately have had to put a 'no unsolicited music' policy into place. That said, if you go to our website: and check on the contact tab there are instructions on how to get music on our radar. I would also strongly recommend getting the music you are most proud of out to blogs. All music supervisors check out music blogs and if we are excited about hearing something from Hype Machine or a blog we love, we will chase down the contact for licensing. Good luck.

composeradrian27 karma

I have a bit of background in clearances for musical works. I'm curious what difficultly you've had in obtaining sync licenses for certain songs in the course of your career (especially given that producers/writers/directors/etc. may really depend on getting those specific selections)?

thomasgolubic_smv59 karma

Breaking Bad was a very poorly budgeted show. The entire production really strained to get the job done with the budget were afforded. It was because of Vince's stewardship and the quality of the scripts and production that everyone brought their A-game to the table. It would have been a lot easier if we'd had a more reasonable budget to work with. As far as sync licensing, we did our best to make the case for licensing music within those very narrow parameters and were very lucky in the generosity and understanding that was afforded us by our film and television licensing colleagues. Smart directors and showrunners recognize that we are the experts in licensing and when we let them know that something is unlikely to be affordable, they will entertain additional ideas that we present. It's always a struggle, but we do our best to be fair and honest with everyone about what we can and can't offer.

Lethrom23 karma

Oh man, I don't have a question for you or anything, but I DO want to compliment you on using Breathe Me for Six Feet Under. That's probably my all time favorite series finale, just because of that one scene. It completely ruined my day when I finally saw it, but in the absolute best way possible.

Also Tv On the Radio's 'DLZ' in Breaking Bad was another stellar choice.

Thanks a ton for those moments!

thomasgolubic_smv12 karma

Thanks, Lethrom. Those are some of my faves as well. Cheers, Thomas...

violet_mist22 karma

Thanks for introducing me to Ana Tijoux and Knife Party.

Goddamn you're good at what you do.

thomasgolubic_smv16 karma

Thanks, Violet. Appreciate the kind words. I can give props here to Tom Schnauz's lovely wife Maya for presenting Ana Tijoux to the show. That was her idea. As I mentioned earlier, it's very much a group effort.

NumberZeroFourNine21 karma


thomasgolubic_smv25 karma

El Paso was a scripted choice by Vince, who wrote the episode. Limeliters was a song we found when working against picture on the scene. Thanks for the kind words. It's been an amazing challenge and we are very happy with the results of our work on Breaking Bad.

strengthofstrings19 karma

How was "Crapa Pelada" chosen for the scene at Gale's house? And did you ever consider using "Albuquerque" by Neil Young at any point for the show?

thomasgolubic_smv45 karma

that's a good question. As much as "Baby Blue" and "Crystal Blue Persuasion" are both pretty on-the-nose, we generally don't do too many literal song choices in the show. Also, Neil Young is notoriously difficult to license so we tend to avoid pitching his songs. "Crapa Pelada" was a song I discovered on a compilation of music from the 1930-1960s of Italian pop music from the Sugar Label. It's one of those songs I would DJ out when I had painted myself into a corner and needed to cleanse the proverbial palate. When we discovered that the very talented David Costabile, who played Gale Boetticher, was also a talented singer, it gave us a wonderful opportunity to showcase that skill. Gale always seemed like a character that would travel the world with great love and enthusiasm and would want to learn the local languages and learn the local songs. This was a particularly difficult one to sing, but David knocked it out of the park. Also check his full-length version of Gale singing 'Major Tom' in a Thai karaoke joint. It's a genius performance.

blatheringbard17 karma

What were the reasons you chose Tom Wait's Hold On for Beth to sing in Walking Dead?

thomasgolubic_smv20 karma

That was a song that then showrunner Glen Mazzara chose for the scene. I love Tom Waits - I wore a "Tom Waits for No One" pin on my jacket in highschool - and had spent the better part of a decade looking for a home for one of his songs without any luck. We almost found a home for "Big Black Mariah" in a scene in Six Feet Under when Nate has a fantasy sequence that he is in the afterlife waiting room in a restaurant with his dead dad, but we ran out of music budget and couldn't afford it. I was thrilled that Glen was up for using "Hold On" and actress Emily Kinney did a great job singing it.

Torquedo15 karma

What was your favorite piece to work on for Breaking Bad?

thomasgolubic_smv27 karma

Great question, Torquedo. I am not sure. There are so many wonderful scenes that I've spent countless long sleepless nights working on. I love what I do, and there is a special magic when you find that perfect song that falls beautifully against picture and tells your story in a unique and surprising way. There's nothing quite like that feeling. Sometimes it comes very quickly and sometimes it takes days or weeks of digging to find. So, I can't really answer that. But if you take a look at our website:, myself and my team have assembled clips of a few of our favorites. cheers....

immorta114 karma

Will you be working at all on the spin off show for Saul Goodman? Do you know anything about it that you could tell us?

thomasgolubic_smv26 karma

We'll see. Nobody has asked me yet. Fingers crossed.

mikeb3rd9613 karma


thomasgolubic_smv9 karma

Thanks for sharing that clarification. Thomas...

ecto_biologist13 karma

If you could be any character from Breaking Bad or The Walking Dead, who would it be?

thomasgolubic_smv86 karma

Badger :)

Mchootin12 karma

Thomas! Just wanted to say I love the opening song to The Waking Dead as well as Breaking Bad (even though it's very short).

Wanted to ask you how you came up with such a concise representation of Breaking Bad in just those few seconds!???

Also thanks so much for not having a constant track behind the dialogue of the shows you work on. That's seriously bad form. (I'm looking at you Grey's Anatomy)

thomasgolubic_smv19 karma

Hi Mchootin. The main title to Breaking Bad was created by Dave Porter, the composer for the series. And the main title to The Walking Dead was created by Bear McCreary, the composer to that series. We music spot (decide where music goes) very sparingly on both series and try to make the most of each moment, whether it's score created by the composers or songs delivered by myself and my team.

Savvy_Sav10 karma


thomasgolubic_smv25 karma

Great question Savvy_Sav. I will go back to the experience that I think started it all for me: Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey". My dad brought me to the Nickelodeon Theatre in Boston for a screening of the 10th annniversary of the film. I was 10 years old and completely mesmerized by the experience. I still think all of us are working our way up to what Stanley Kubrick did in 1968.

grey_small10 karma

playing Gounod’s Faust in the the scene with the schwartze's was genius. whose call was that?

thomasgolubic_smv14 karma

I can take credit for that one. I grew up listening to classical music, and read a lot as a child. I know the story of Faust and that particular piece of music and we knew that we could have some fun with "scoring" Walt ambushing Gretchen and Elliott and at the same time wanted to make sure that the music choice felt like something realistic they would program into their very expensive modern house alarm/music system.

skazzz10 karma

That Digital Animal song by Honey Claws is ridiculous, and I would never have heard it without you. Thank you.

thomasgolubic_smv12 karma

My pleasure. It was a great way to end that sad and desperate episode for Jesse. That's a good example of where affordable music is presented to me and works really well against picture. We had very little source music budget left in that very music-intensive episode and because "Digital Animal" was affordable to us, and creatively worked really well in the scene, it got to take us out of the episode and turned a lot of folks onto Honey Claws.

valueape9 karma

Did you consider Bob Dylan's "It's AllOver Now, Baby blue" for the BB finale? Seems like a dumb question but what a great song about tangled webs, no?

thomasgolubic_smv48 karma

Love the song, but it's been used too many times in high-profile scenes. I try to not to re-use songs that have been used really well before against picture. Martin Scorcese's "Goodfellas" took a lot of amazing music off the creative table for us, as did Paul Thomas Anderson's "Boogie Nights". Hopefully we used music in a creative dynamic and exciting way on 'Breaking Bad', 'The Walking Dead' and 'Ray Donovan' and those songs have a strong home in the imagination of fans.

AlanDorman8 karma

Do you have any pointers for people who just want to put some of their original songs or compositions up online and no worry about copyrights, massive storage costs, etc?

"Windy" (1967) was genius, guys, by the way!

thomasgolubic_smv14 karma

Soundcloud does the trick pretty well.

prariedan8 karma

Hey Thomas. Do you do record/produce/create your own music? If so, what is your setup gear wise?

Also, how big is your record collection?

thomasgolubic_smv20 karma

Great question, prariedan. I do produce music. I have a mash-up music production project called 'The Arbiters'. You can download two EPs of music for free from my bandcamp site: The first EP was inspired by Brian Burton aka Danger Mouse's "Grey Album" and was completed in 2006 and called "They Are Biters". The song "Sure Side of Fame" which was a mash-up of Lou Reed "Walk on the Wild Side", David Bowie "Fame", St. Germain "Sure Thing" and vocals by Biggie and Tupac got a nice amount of club and radio play. The second EP "Arrival" was released in 2010. You can download them both from that website. I use Ableton software to create them and work with co-producers who polish my ideas nicely.

chrisilett8 karma

Have you ever regretted a either using, or not using a certain song, or piece of music? Any particular faux-pas spring to mind...?

thomasgolubic_smv24 karma

That's a great question. On Breaking Bad there is only one song that I didn't love, and we placed it because of a clearance problem at the very last minute. For the sake of discretion, I don't want to point it out. But that project suffers from almost no mis-steps. I don't really think it's my job to look back at the work and judge it. That's for you folks to do...

harvarduniversity7 karma

Were any of the musicians whose music you used in BrBa fans of the show?

thomasgolubic_smv15 karma

Absolutely. We brought Steve Perry from Journey to the Breaking Bad premiere and he is just about the nicest guy you could ever meet....

decenthappiness7 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA! How many genres will you typically experiment with when trying to choose music for a scene? Or do you typically immediately have a feeling for a direction you want to go in when working on visual/musical pairings? Do you examine lyrical content when choosing non-English songs (like Quimey Neuquén in the "Buried" episode of BrBa)?

thomasgolubic_smv15 karma

that's an excellent question, decenthappiness. We put thought into everything on 'Breaking Bad'. Vince Gilligan is absolutely meticulous about every detail of the show and we make sure that the music has also been thoroughly thought-through. If a song is in a different language, we are sure to have and often present the translation. There was a lot of effort involved in translating "Crapa Pelada" which is in an extinct Italian dialect specific to Milan. We will often take poetic license with songs, but always want to make sure that it feels right to the audience whether they speak the language or not. It's one of the joys of Breaking Bad. Nothing is by accident.

gottafeelyourlines7 karma

Another question I wanted to ask you about is regarding song ownership. How do you and your colleagues feel about non-exclusively represented songs (specifically music libraries that re-title the songs)? Thanks again!

thomasgolubic_smv12 karma

I'll be quick on this one... We hate re-titling. It's a bad idea, it creates confusion, it allows for a lot of illegitimate tagging of songs, and crediting writers who didn't write a song. We try our best to avoid working with companies that do retitling. I would suggest the same to any artists out there. Regarding exclusivity, that's a judgement call for individual artists. If you meet someone that wants to represent your songs and you trust that they will do great work, and the terms they represent feel fair, I think an exclusive arrangement is ideal. You trust them, they trust you and you see how it goes. I would give this a good year window and if it doesn't seem to work out, move your songs elsewhere. I would NOT recommend giving anyone your publishing, unless they truly act as a music publisher. Hope that's helpful.

Baazar6 karma

Hey Thomas, can you talk about working with Dave Porter and how often you would have to communicate to determine what would need original score music versus what would need a licensed song?

thomasgolubic_smv12 karma

I love working with Dave Porter on Breaking Bad. I had known Dave and his work prior to the show and introduced him to Vince and our producers when we were first looking for a composer. He has done stunning work on the series and hopefully this will be one of many amazing projects he does. Dave Porter rulez!!!

scooby46 karma

Hey Thomas, can you talk a little about how you became a music supervisor? Do you also play any instruments?

thomasgolubic_smv17 karma

Hi Scooby4. There is a "Huffington Post" interview that gets into some detail about my road into music supervision. I'm sure you can find it with a quick search. In short... I went to film school at Boston University, and ended up getting into journalism because of the war in Yugoslavia in 1991, and ended up working as a writer and journalist for the next 10 years or so. I started an internet magazine in Los Angeles called the "LA Magnet" Los Angeles Magazine on the Net. But lost a lot of money trying to keep it alive. We were too early, and there were no city-oriented online magazines at the time. I volunteered at KCRW 89.9 FM a radio station here in LA, and was offered a job doing A&R (artist & repertoire) and realized I would be terrible at it. Somebody suggested I look into music supervision, which I didn't even know was a job. I met G. Marq Roswell through my friend Gary Calamar and started working for his company as an intern. I worked as an intern for a year, learned the basic ropes and then broke off on my own, where I spent the next two years eating Ramen noodles and barely making rent. But I learned a lot, and with hard work and perseverance, I was eventually able to make a living at it and build the company I have today.

t0mn0mn0m6 karma

I was pleasantly surprised by some of the music choices in breaking bad like bassnectar and knife party. How did these choices get pitched and ultimately accepted into the series?

thomasgolubic_smv17 karma

They just felt right for the scene. Vince Gilligan really trusts his collaborators and if he doesn't know the music, or at times may not even like the music, but does feel they are right for the storytelling, he greenlights those choices. The breadth of music selection in Breaking Bad is as much a tribute to Vince Gilligan's bravery as it is to my obscene music collection.

7370005 karma

How much does the cost of a song factor into your decision for using it? will you typically price up songs before even attempting to suggest them? or is everything considered from the start?

thomasgolubic_smv13 karma

Excellent and very intuitive question. Budget makes a HUGE difference in what makes into Breaking Bad. As I mentioned earlier, the music budget for the show was inadequate from the start was a constant challenge. We tend to pre-clear (as much as possible) every choice we deliver to showrunner Vince Gilligan. In the few times when he selected something we couldn't end up affording, it was such a disappointment, we never wanted to revisit that experience again. So, in short, the cost of a song is a very big factor in our decision making.

rocketshipotter5 karma

I can't think of a question, but your dog is cute.

thomasgolubic_smv15 karma

Thanks, Rocketshipotter. Eddie is the best dog in the world.

the_birdie_finger5 karma

from Iron Maiden?

thomasgolubic_smv9 karma

Nope. My friend Fred has his birthday on the day I met Eddie the dog. He was from the Long Beach animal shelter and had just barely survived being put to sleep. Fred became Ed, which became Eddie.

BillWeld5 karma

What was the work flow--would they edit scenes before or after they had the music? Or both?

Love love love the music!

thomasgolubic_smv11 karma

This wouldn't by chance be former Massachusetts Governor William Weld, would it? Just kidding. Our work-flow depends on the episodes needs. Sometimes we would send music ideas to the writers so they could work a song into the script, other times we would send music ideas to the directors and actors to get into character or choreograph a sequence. For example the narcocorrido "Negro y Azul: The Ballad of Heisenberg" was worked on at the script stage and then developed before we ever shot the episode. Other times, in fact most times, we work with picture and try to find the right answer once the episode is in editing.

lula24885 karma

Do you have any projects lined up for the future now that Breaking bad has finished?

thomasgolubic_smv15 karma

We do.
The Walking Dead - Season 4 (premeries Oct 13th, I think) Ray Donovan - Season 2 (Showtime) Back in the Game - Season 1 (ABC) Halt and Catch Fire - Season 1 (AMC) Turn - Season 1 (AMC)

Lots of work ahead....

Trinastyles4 karma

I have a question about the Six Feet Under theme. I absolutely LOVE the part where the flowers wilt. It's so fitting with the music and the show as a whole. 1) Is that something you talk to the editors about when putting together opening credits?

2) Also, in season 5, Billy and Claire's manic scenes were accompanied by frenzied music. How did you choose the songs for those scenes?

thomasgolubic_smv5 karma

In the case of the 'Six Feet Under' theme, that was actually written by Thomas Newman prior to the creation of the opening main titles by a Seattle company called Digital Kitchen. Ordinarily, the visuals and music are created at the same time, or the music is written to accompany visuals. In the case of the Main Title to 'The Killing', I worked with both the company that designed the visuals 'Sarofsky' and the band that created the music 'We Fell to Earth' and we worked back and forth to make that come together. Most of the time, music is created for the existing visuals. Six Feet Under worked in the opposite manner, but what a beautiful result! For your question 2. We worked against picture for the scenes with Claire and Billy. Their relationship was a fun one to work on as they both brought out the best and the worst in each other, we spent a lot of time trying to get the music choices right for that.

TimmyTheHellraiser3 karma

I just want to thank you for introducing me to Unga Bunga.

thomasgolubic_smv6 karma

Yeaah Boy!!!!

hunter18552 karma

ey Tom,

love love love your work. Music: such a key, yet often overlooked aspect of TV and Film. Congratulations on being a part of such wonderful shows and thanks again for your talent!

thomasgolubic_smv1 karma

Thanks, Hunter1855. Appreciate the kind words.

MostNutsEver2 karma

Hey Thomas,

I saw you at Bonnaroo this year while you played a soundtrack for the Harold Lloyd silent film Safety Last. This was a really cool experience and something I hope more people get a chance to see. Do you have any plans for doing more events like this?

thomasgolubic_smv4 karma

How nice that you were there! It was great fun. I was actually invited by Bonnaroo to perform a live DJ re-score of the film "The Road Warrior" but wasn't able to get permission from Warner Bros to do it. We then tried to get them to ok a live DJ re-score of "Blade Runner" but got the same response. A last-ditch effort to get approval for doing a hip hop re-score of "American Psycho" was also met with a denial, so Sue Lloyd, Harold Lloyd's granddaughter was kind enough to let me perform a re-score of Harold's classic "Safety Last". I would love to do another one, maybe next year at Bonnaroo or some other music festival. Fingers crossed somebody asks me. Glad you got a chance to see that one. It was great fun!

Pibbface1 karma

Did you realise Breaking Bad would be such a hit, or where you going on a hunch?

thomasgolubic_smv5 karma

I loved the pilot to Breaking Bad the first time I saw it. I don't think I am particularly talented at guessing what will be popular, but I am pretty good at figuring out what is of high quality with people who are talented and enjoyable to work with. I've been lucky enough to be on a few of those projects over the years.

DJJDJ1 karma

Hey, Thomas, thank you so much for doing this AMA and for your amazing work on "Breaking Bad." I wanted to ask you what you would recommend in regards to discovering new music and new acts? Are there any go-to sources you have used that have worked well?

Thank you again and I hope to hear your response!

thomasgolubic_smv3 karma

The internet is a field day of wonderful resources for new music. Have fun exploring....

General_Hardware1 karma

I read that you were born in Boston but that last name is very familiar to me, whereabouts are your parents from?

Also, do you have any personal compositions that have made it to air?

thomasgolubic_smv4 karma

I was actually born in New Haven, Connecticut, and moved to Princeton, New Jersey and then Boston as a kid. I grew up mostly in a town just outside of Boston called Needham. My mom still lives there. She was born in the north of Germany and grew up there. My dad was born in Zagreb, Croatia (Yugoslavia at the time) and they both came to the U.S. before I was born in 1968.

gripmastah1 karma

If you could work with one composer today, who would it be?

thomasgolubic_smv1 karma

Alive or dead? Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich. Alive: Arvo Part.

LittleChinaski1 karma

What's the most consistently underrated band you love?

thomasgolubic_smv2 karma

There are many. One of my favorite underrated bands that I was sure I would find a home in Breaking Bad was 'The Bees' or 'Band of Bees' as they are known in the U.S. Sadly, we never found a song to work magic in a scene. Hope people will get to know the band and explore their music.

mrmdmb081 karma

Please bring some clarity to the debate; was Daft Punk's Random Access Memories any good?

thomasgolubic_smv3 karma

It's just my opinion, but I do think it's great. What's wonderful about Daft Punk albums is that they don't always show their charms on the first listen and they don't always feel like coherent or even contemporary statements. But they are always interesting, and always ahead of the times. I think "Random Access Memories" is one of those albums you'll enjoy pulling out and listening to 10 years from now. I'm not sure I'll feel that way about Justin Timberlake's "20/20 Experience".

danidoooo1 karma

hi thomas!! happy saturday! i just moved to LA and want to intern at SMV. is that possible? i'll be your assistant's assistant. or i'll walk eddie, i just really wanna get my foot in the music supervision door. thanks so much!

thomasgolubic_smv5 karma

Thanks Danidooo. Welcome to LA. Thanks for the offer, but we already have a full staff at SMV and young Eddie is walked often enough. Appreciate the offer.

TheCodexx1 karma

I'm relatively new to listening to music, having only started a couple of years ago, and my collection is really small. I'm a huge fan of the stuff on Breaking Bad, and a lot of the music is really diverse. How would you recommend I go about finding new music I like and can add to my collection?

thomasgolubic_smv1 karma

Unfortunately, we were not able to release additional soundtrack albums of songs for Breaking Bad. It's too long and heartbreaking to get into, but when it comes to soundtrack albums there are a lot of companies involved and they don't always make releasing a creatively exciting album a priority. We didn't want to release a creatively compromised or crappy album, so it didn't come together. I would recommend doing a simple search on Wikipedia, which lists all the songs we use in the show and then adding those songs to a spotify playlist (there's probably already one out there), or collecting the Youtube links. Have fun...

TravisG151 karma

Was there ever a disagreement between you and Vince on choice of music? I've heard he's pretty easy to work with but I've wondered if he's ever put his foot down.

thomasgolubic_smv2 karma

There was never a disagreement. Vince knows his story better than anyone else does, and we all follow his lead. I've learned more about storytelling with music on "Breaking Bad" than any other project and have Vince to thank for that. We always arrived at the right answer for the story and the characters, and I think the end results speak to that.

Baazar1 karma

Hi Thomas! Thank you for this. I read your interview on Rollo And Grady so I know you are inundated with new music all the time with questionable authenticity, but what advice can you give to those of us who have the knowledge and experience writing music for tv, but still want to submit music to you without being lost in the abyss of thousands of emails? Thanks!!

thomasgolubic_smv1 karma

A soundcloud link at the end of your question is certainly a good start. cheers.

Solvbjerg1 karma

Just wanted to say that you did a brilliant job, you only made the shows even better


thomasgolubic_smv1 karma

Thanks.... aw shucks...

maxlgold251 karma

Hey Thomas, huge local fan. How much interaction does it take to match music with the editor?

thomasgolubic_smv2 karma

We work closely with all the editors on our different projects. Everyone is working toward telling the story in the best way and often it's the editors that can make something work seamlessly. What Kelley Dixon (editor) and Michelle MacLaren (director) did with Moira Walley-Beckett's script for "Gliding Over All", episode 508, is remarkable. The integration of all those elements in the "Crystal Blue Persuasion" sequence is a tribute to that. It's very much a team effort.

SamboD1 karma

In that case sir I have a rather large bone to pick with you chap. Why did you use fever ray - If I had a heart after it becoming the intro song to vikings?

thomasgolubic_smv4 karma

We were there first, chap. We licensed "If I Had A Heart" by Fever Ray before Vikings. They copied us....

HeisenburgerAndFries1 karma

Did you ever get to hangout with the cast of breaking bad? If so, who would you say it most fun to be around?

thomasgolubic_smv1 karma

Indeed! We have a very happy family on Breaking Bad, and I've had the chance to visit the set in Albuquerque a number of times and to DJ our wrap parties, which is always a blast. We all really like each other and appreciate each other's work, so it always feels like a family reunion. Aaron Paul's Hollywood Forever Cemetery screening of the finale was a highlight of that. There was a lot of hugging and tears to be shared.

hinesh1 karma

How do you find the music you put into shows? Do you have to search for it or have you listened to so much that you can just pick it from your head.

thomasgolubic_smv1 karma

There is a lot of effort that goes into finding the right music for Breaking Bad. We put together mixtapes with different ideas throughout the season and send them to Vince and the writers and producers. We work with the directors of episodes sometimes and also very closely with the amazing editors on Breaking Bad, Kelley Dixon and Skip MacDonald. Although myself and my team Yvette Metoyer, Michelle Johnson and Garrett McElver listen to an enormous amount of music ideas come from all over the place. The trick is selecting the best ones, being able to clear them and present them in the right way, which is done with our very talented music editor Jason Newman. It's very much a collective effort.

cameroncoxII1 karma

Hey Thomas! A lot of the music is Season 5B was very dark and chilling, such as the scene where Jesse goes to Walts house with thd gascan. Where can one find music like that? Thanks!

thomasgolubic_smv2 karma

Dave Porter's music is collected on two soundtrack albums of Breaking Bad score, both available on iTunes and on Amazon. Great albums both.

leontes1 karma

I've often wondered if for musicians and composers for television that occasionally something emerges that is memorable and authentic, that would have not existed without your catalyst. How often do you feel that alchemy that something new has emerged and transformed through the addition of your music?

Do any moments like this come to mind for either Breaking Bad or Walking Dead?

thomasgolubic_smv1 karma

It's all in the chemistry... :)

drunkhoboboy1170 karma

Why haven't you used dubstep?

thomasgolubic_smv5 karma

We have.... Check Jesse's party sequences in 402-404 and Knife Party in 504 when Walt and Walt Jr. buy new cars.

choptimusgrime-1 karma

Why was that knife party song used in that episode of breaking bad where walt and his son get new cars?

was there a reason behind it or did you just want them to seem superduper cool in that scene?

thomasgolubic_smv2 karma

I am superduper cool. :)

[deleted]-3 karma


thomasgolubic_smv2 karma

I think RJ Mitte rocks those breakfast scenes like nobody else. No music help was needed. He made the most important meal of the day pretty special all on his own. :)