Boots Riley created the soundtrack for his film Sorry to Bother You, but the director admits he may have made “different songs” for himself had he not been behind the project.
“As an artist, I might have wanted to make different songs,” Riley told The Hollywood Reporter’s Songwriter Roundtable about crafting the soundtrack for his film, which he also wrote and helmed. “As a director, I had to kind of make myself make certain songs.”
“I needed to make music that I believed that [the characters] would be listening to in the world — which is not necessarily my music,” Riley told the Roundtable. “We don’t sell platinum records.”
He further explains that “the soundtrack is only happening when the characters (played by Lakeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson) can hear it,” yet the score (composed by Tune-Yards) plays throughout.
Riley’s debut album, Kill My Landlord, was released by Wild Pitch Records in 1993. Sorry to Bother You is his directorial debut.
This article originally appeared in THR.com.