Interview with Zach Robinson and Leo Birenberg (composers of ‘Cobra Kai’)

“If you watch the show and think ‘the music is really hitting there’, that’s usually a part where Leo and I were really excited,” admits Zach Robinson about scoring “Cobra Kai”. Leo Birenberg adds, “I’d rather have a big swing and hit a monster home run or foul. But I’m up for both. Watch our exclusive video interview above with the songwriting duo.

“Cobra Kai” is the Netflix series that continues the story of the 1980s “Karate Kid” movies. Daniel La Russo (Ralph Macchio) now has a family and owns a car dealership. His high school nemesis, Johnny Lawrence (Guillaume Zabka), is a down-on-his-luck drummer with an estranged son. To settle rivalries and relive the glory days, the two men create competing dojos. In the show’s fourth season, they have to join forces when the “Cobra Kai” dojo is taken over. Birenberg says, “There are themes for characters, themes for dojos, themes for relationships, and some themes are much more abstract, like philosophies of karate. We must have at least 30 themes at this point that are in play at all times.

The final two episodes of season four saw all of the competing dojos come together for an epic All-Valley Karate Tournament. Robinson reveals, “The story of ‘Cobra Kai’ only works if you go as far as you can with the music. It’s kind of our thesis statement. It’s always, how big can we get before someone “Anybody tell us it’s too big? It never happens. It gives the audience permission to believe that these people are fighting to the death via karate in the valley.”

Birenberg explains, “When you go as big as you can and you have something as potentially ridiculous as middle-aged men fighting karate, you don’t want it to feel like a travesty. Sometimes when you’re going really big, it’s still a risk. So Zach and I constantly throw in the word sincerity when we score. For fans of their iconic score, the duo is hosting a concert, “Enter the Dojo: The Music of Cobra Kai Live,” on June 23 at The Troubadour in Los Angeles.

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