How Iggy Pop Inspired Music Supervisor Gary Calamar to Record His Solo EP

PETER NYIKOS/EPA /Landov  
Iggy Pop performs during his concert on the 4th day of the annual VOLT Festival in Sopron on June 2012. 

Iggy Pop provided words of encouragement to music supervisor Gary Calamar after the two collaborated on "Let's Boot and Rally" for season five of True Blood in 2012. "It might have been an off-the-cuff comment," says Calamar, "but him talking to me inspired me to take it to the next step."

Calamar, currently music supervising Intruders for BBC America, Cocked for Amazon and the indie film Tumble Down, recorded demos of a half-dozen songs and while working with Kevin Weaver, Atlantic Records Group president of Film and Television, on a True Blood soundtrack. He then received further encouragement -- a budget to finish the songs and release them digitally as an EP. You Are What You Listen To, a six-song collection produced by John Would, will be released Oct. 12. A record release party and performance will be on Oct. 14 at the Federal Bar in North Hollywood, Calif.

"I never really shopped around the songs -- I just did it for myself," says Calamar, who displays his melodic affinity for the Beatles' Revolver, Pete Townshend's power chords and Phosphorescent's Song for Zula on the EP. "Like many of us who have been listening all our lives, there are certain types of pop music or rock music where I think I know what works and am able to work in those genres."

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Calamar's taste is in evidence in his weekly Sunday night radio show on Santa Monica, Calif.'s public radio station KCRW. (Full disclosure: Calamar and I co-authored the book Record Store Days: Vinyl to Digital and Back.) Naturally, we had to ask if he truly believes the title of his EP, that we are indeed what we listen to.

"For music lovers it's a big part of who we are," says Calamar, whose collaborators on the album include Palmyra Delran, Kim Lenz and his 12-year-old daughter Zoe Calamar. "Songs trigger certain memories, certain emotions. My influences -- the songwriting of Warren Zevon, Nick Lowe and Elvis Costello, not to mention my love of the Who -- are part of my personality."

This story originally appeared in the Oct. 11 issue of Billboard.