Written by Chilean-American composer Cristobal Tapia de Veer, the title track for season 2 of HBO’s The White Lotus, “Renaissance,” touches something deep within the modern zeitgeist. The song has become her EDM anthem, a hit on social media and most recently a perfect cover of her Pigeons Playing Ping Pong in Funk His Jam His band. Greg Ormont, one of his two guitarists in the band, loves the show and recently performed it as part of the “Melting Light Festival” at his XL Live in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. We performed a jam-out rendition of the theme song on our two-night run.
It’s not an obvious song to cover. “Renaissance” has no words, instead featuring a succession of high-pitched yodels that sound similar to a herd of monkeys. It’s tense, exciting, uncomfortable, but somehow danceable. It’s a fitting prelude to this season’s Sicilian-set operatic drama, reinforcing the uncertainty of its story and characters. Greg Ormont of Pigeons Playing Ping Pong spoke variety About band covers.
“Renaissance” went viral on TikTok and took the international EDM scene by storm. Why do you think this song resonates so deeply with people?
The melody is very interesting, especially the vocal part is chopped up to give a sound close to Native American. We are accustomed to hearing normal human voices and human melodies, so when something different happens, it’s just like the big interval jumps catch the ear instead of the melody following the normal steps of the scale. and it catches the ear.
Were you surprised by the audience’s reaction to your performance?
I knew immediately who the “White Lotus” fan was, because I think anyone who liked the show would be hooked on this song. If I was in the crowd and the band started playing that song, I would freak out too. Oh, it was fun to see those people have HBO, right? It was a great litmus test to know who subscribed where.
what do you like about the show?
It’s almost hard to explain why I like it so much. It’s a very unique show and very funny. But in the end, I think it comes down to a very rich set of characters, both literally and figuratively, and their evolving relationships and the way tensions are built and then released.
The storytelling takes you down certain paths, but sometimes those paths are unresolved, undeveloped, and more like a diversion into a true storyline. Some plots were tied up and others were left wide open. What happens to Greg (played by John Gries)? Will he be caught? does this bother him? What will happen to Portia (Haley Lu Richardson)? Will she get off seemingly Scott-free? Why was Jack (Leo Woodall) in such a deep hole? What happened when Daphne (Meghan Faye) and Ethan (Will Sharp) went for a walk on the beach?
How did this song get into the setlist?
I played it for my band and it was Jeremy’s earworm [Schon, guitarist] … He went home and started watching the show. Then he dusted off the pedal, a guitar he didn’t usually use in his everyday shows, called a tremolo, and took it out so he could recreate the choppy melody. He learned melodies and taught me chords.
Usually we really take these ideas and marinate them a bit. But this was not only an instant hit with the band, it was also very contemporary. The season finale had just aired so I felt I had to play this immediately. There were a few TikTok videos floating around about that funny kind of vocal melody.
Are you looking to reach even more fans by adding to your repertoire?
Well, I’d be lying if I didn’t say it’s deep in our hearts. And this is a song that clicked on all levels and we just wanted to play it. . There are many songs that are played in our scene and in live music in general. We like trying to find that happy medium.
Did the characters on the show draw creative inspiration?
I think there’s a lot of kinship to these character situations that Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) can feel, whether she’s a billionaire or not. She builds her true relationships and she struggles to feel heard and understood. I think what’s so interesting is that the show was written in a very specific way for the character’s situation, but it was all universally relevant. I think the best comes out when you write about what you are doing and when you write specifically. For those who interpret the song, everything is drawn into metaphor, but writing about what you know makes it the most authentic and most relevant.
Also, the twists and turns of “The White Lotus” are things that part of the storyline finally resolves and part leaves you hanging, but musically it can do that too. Especially in a live concert, helping guide the audience down a path and whether or not that tension is dissolved musically are some of the different emotions you try to evoke in the audience. Whether there are winning releases or not, or if you just leave them hanging, it’s all part of the bigger picture and part of everyone’s personal experience.