If you've watched The Witcher Netflix series then there will be one thing that has been haunting you ever since. Not Geralt's steely glare, or Yennerfer's on point eyeshadow, but bard Jaskier's catchy little song, "Toss a Coin to Your Witcher". We spoke to the people who came up with the song, found out what they think of the reactions, and discovered there's a secret rap version yet to be released.
"We've had that song stuck in our heads since November 2018," says composer Giona Ostinelli, who along with Sonya Belousova created all the music for the series. "We were confident it was going to be a really fun song. Now did we expect such a viral success? You can never expect that."
The pair is humbled and thrilled to see all the various versions, from death metal covers to Russian choirs, and revealed that they have their own alternative version from the making of the show.
"There was a certain point when there was a version of 'Toss a Coin to Your Witcher' in rap format," says Ostinelli.
"We might consider releasing it as a bonus track at some point," laughs Belousova.
The rap version exists because of the exhaustive process Ostinelli and Belousova went through to create the soundscape of the fantasy world, from creating special instruments to giving showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich a huge choice of options.
"For every song we wrote for Jaskier we had about five or six versions, because all these songs were written before the show even entered production," explains Belousova. "We wanted to make sure when we were presenting songs to Lauren we were presenting her a whole spectrum of different styles and genres. We tried to go from something very medieval and renaissance to something very contemporary."
Belousova says in her mind, Jaskier is like the Freddie Mercury of the magical continent, so they wanted to make sure they were representing that musically.
"That's why when we just meet his character and he sings the song You Think You're Safe, it's a very simple song - just voice and lute - and the reason for that is we wanted to create this musical evolution of his character. So when he sings 'Toss a Coin To Your Witcher', musically you can see that journey that he goes through from the tavern to becoming the rockstar of the continent."
Ostinelli and Belousova applied the same intense thought process to every aspect of the series' score. They recorded soloists, ensembles, and had instruments specifically built for The Witcher. They explain that the world of The Witcher is so diverse and unique, they wanted to reflect that in its music.
"A lot of instruments were built in the United States, and a lot came from Russia, from Hungary, from Malaysia, from China, literally from all over the world," says Belousova.
Those special instruments included a recreation of a traditional medieval hurdy-gurdy, a Chinese Ocarina called the Xun - which became a major part of Ciri's theme - and a Brazilian Berimbau, to name just a few.
"We actually calculated, between Giona and I we recorded 64 instruments, which is crazy now that I think about it."