Meet Patrick Kirst, the man behind the music in ‘The Kissing Booth’ films on Netflix

As ‘The Kissing Booth 2’ streams online, Los Angeles-based composer Patrick Kirst talks about weaving tension into onscreen romance with his score. Plus, an update on ‘The Kissing Booth 3’!

At a time when darker and mature romantic comedies are favoured, the world of The Kissing Booth (2018) has an early 2000s romcom feel to it. Perhaps that is what drew German-born composer Patrick Kirst to the quirky project. Now, the film’s sequel is out on Netlix and Patrick is thrilled to follow the young characters — portrayed by Joey King, Jacob Elordi and Joel Courtney — on their journeys.

Over Skype from his Los Angeles home, Patrick says he had focussed on creating character themes as well besides the anthemic for the film. “Throughout The Kissing Booth 2, I was able to develop these themes more emotionally because the story has matured with Elle and Noah in a long-distance relationship,” he says.

Composer Patrick Kirst

Composer Patrick Kirst
| Photo Credit:
John Green

With a long-distance relationship comes a lot of uncertainty and fear — both of which are strongly enveloped by love — and Patrick was mindful that the music reflects this. These moments, after all, were not so present in the first film. “We are planting a lot of question marks in the movie, so we have to musically weave tension in and out accordingly,” he adds.

Though the film features popular songs such as ‘More’ by The Eiffel or ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’ by The Foundations, Patrick’s score can be heard during romantic montages or in a scene depicting emotional crossroads. The composer enhances the emotion already present with strings overlaid to pull the viewer in deeper. “The film industry does this quite a bit, actually. It should come across as though the strings are part of the natural arrangement already,” he says.


From the start

Patrick admits that his collaboration with the film’s director Vince Marcello has been an interesting one. “In the first film, we struggled to find the tone; it’s a romantic comedy so we wanted to have a balanced combination of youthfulness, nostalgia, love, laughter and more. It’s a nod to the John Hughes movies of the 80s,” he describes. “You can easily go overboard with the comedy to make it silly, so we had to be careful. It’s hard work for musicians!” Perhaps the John Hughes reference makes the project particularly special, as The Kissing Booth films also star Molly Ringwald, who is famous for her role in Sixteen Candles.

Recently, Netflix announced that The Kissing Booth 3 too had been filmed before COVID-19 outbreak. “We are in the process of finessing the edit. The beginning few weeks, for me, is about procrastination. I just want to get it right because I’m very analytical,” Patrick says, admitting that he had come on board the film series unsure of what to expect.

He was baffled when he saw a rough cut of the first film, but continued to work on compositions because he knew he was part of ‘something special’. “When I was travelling, I would converse with strangers and when I would say I worked on these films, they would get super excited and talk about how the film impacted them,” he adds.

The Kissing Booth 2 is streaming on Netflix

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