YAHOO!: "Eyes Open" turned out to be a much louder and more anthemic song than "Safe & Sound." It was definitely a surprise that the first song was so quiet, and maybe now it feels surprising that the other song isn't. Did you want to get across two pretty different moods with the two contributions to the soundtrack?
SWIFT: "Eyes Open" and "Safe & Sound" are two songs that I wanted to represent different relationships in the story. To me, "Safe & Sound" represents the empathy and compassion Katniss feels for Rue, Peeta, and Prim in different parts of the book. "Eyes Open" is more of a depiction of Katniss's relationship with the Capitol. She knows she can't trust anyone in the government, and that's why I wanted the song to feel more frantic—like the sound of being hunted or chased.
YAHOO!: How was getting into the mind of Katniss to write both these songs different from, say, getting into the mind of Taylor Swift? Did those mindsets feel close enough for comfort, even though you're not running for your life in a futuristic dystopia?
SWIFT: I really liked writing in character. I write so personally and so autobiographically most of the time, so it was actually refreshing to put on someone else's emotions and draw from them, instead of from my own. Katniss's world, motivations, and priorities are different than mine. I liked focusing on basic human emotions like compassion and fear, because that's all you have when you're simply trying to survive.
YAHOO!: It's been fun to watch you and the Civil Wars sort of circle each other as mutual fans and finally hook up to surprise everyone and work together. What was it like to collaborate with someone you admire like that who's so stylistically different from what you usually do?
SWIFT: I really loved writing with the Civil Wars because I'm a huge fan of what they do. I'm always trying to learn from people who I admire. One of the most impressive things I've ever seen was recording the song after we'd written it, and seeing Joy and JP come up with these intricate harmonies in a matter of minutes. They're so in sync musically, it was like watching a pair of twins speak a secret language. I think "Safe & Sound" is different than anything I've ever been a part of before, and I'm so proud of it.
YAHOO!: You and T Bone are two of my favorite music people, and I fully expected the two of you to work together someday, or some year, but not quite so soon, since he's better known for working with artists who are decades into their careers.
SWIFT: Thanks! One of my favorite things about T Bone is his tranquility and general confidence that music will just happen if you put the right musicians in a room together. He doesn't bring any level of stress, and he doesn't over-think the production of a song. He puts the song in the forefront and lets everything else exist around it. He facilitates things coming together, and they do.
YAHOO!: Looking at the track list for the Hunger Games album, it almost looks like the lineup for the Americana Awards, not the soundtrack you'd expect for a blockbuster. What do you think about so many of the songs being acoustic and reflective—with "Safe & Sound" really setting that tone— and not necessarily what people expect to accompany a young-adult-oriented action thriller?
SWIFT: One of the reasons I wanted to be a part of this soundtrack is that the people in charge of putting this movie together are obsessed with making the music match the tone of the movie and the emotions expressed in the book. They are in love with the characters and have thought about every detail that has gone into this movie. When I first met with the people from Lionsgate and T Bone, they said, "We're trying to make music that reflects what Appalachian music will sound like in 300 years." That authenticity was why I wanted to write music for this soundtrack.-( yahoo.com)