By now I trust you’ve seen the Game of Thrones season 7 teaser trailer, “The Long Walk” (and if you haven’t where have you been?) featuring a remix of the song, “Sit Down” by the British band, James. The group’s frontman, Tim Booth, spoke to Billboard about the decision to let HBO use their song in the teaser and his thoughts on the show.
According to Booth, HBO approached his band four months ago about the possibility of using “Sit Down” for season seven promotional material.
“We had protected that song for years from advertising, because we knew it was dear to a lot of people’s hearts, so we only allowed it to be used in a couple of things,” Booth said. “But Game of Thrones… Jimmy [Jim Glennie] – our bass player, who I wrote this with, along with two other guys – Jimmy’s read all the books, I’ve read all the books, I’ve seen the show a couple of times with my wife, with my kids, and I love it.
Booth said that he and his fellow band members had expected a highly stylized version of their song to appear in the promo. “We totally assumed they would medieval the song – they would take it and do something radical with it that fit their style more. We were looking forward to it.”
In fact, that’s nearly what happened. “They did do a weird version, that was probably more in keeping with their style,” Booth recalled. “We got sent that probably a month ago, sung by a female singer, and you couldn’t tell it was “Sit Down” until you heard the chorus lyric. It was so different, the chords were different, everything was different about it. It was pure Game of Thrones. We thought, ‘Great! Bonkers! Fantastically mad!’ We were OK with that.”
Ultimately, though, the show’s producers decided to stick with a rendition of “Sit Down” that was closer to the original. They called James a week ago to inform them that they were going to try another remix, one that “stripped” and “slowed down” the original version but left it otherwise intact. “There’s no additions to it, no changes,” Booth said. “They’ve just taken a few things out, distorted the guitar a bit, put the vocal back a bit.”
When asked why he thought HBO was interested in “Sit Down” for the teaser, Booth admitted he doesn’t know but later pointed out some of the thematic parallels between the song and the show.
“I mean, you can see what they’re connecting the song to. It’s the throne, basically, and who’s going to get the throne. So yeah, they’ve used those lyrics, and they clearly loved the lyric ‘Those who find they’re touched by madness.’ Cersei certainly seems to be heading in that direction.”