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Scoring Horror: Interview with MARCO BELTRAMI (Part 2 of 2)

Posted in 2013, Action Movies, Barry Dejasu Columns, Based on Comic Book, Marvel Comics, Movie Music, Music for Film, Mutants!, Scoring Horror, Soundtracks with tags , , , , on July 3, 2013 by knifefighter

Scoring Horror Presents:
An Interview with MARCO BELTRAMI
By Barry Lee Dejasu
(Part 2 of 2)

Composer Marco Beltrami

Composer Marco Beltrami

Part Two: THE WOLVERINE

 TheWolverinePoster

Directed by James Mangold (with whom Mr. Beltrami worked on 3:10 TO YUMA), THE WOLVERINE stars Hugh Jackman as the eponymous character, a metal-clawed (and indestructible) mutant of the X-MEN franchise, left wandering the world alone in the wake of the events of X-MEN: THE LAST STAND (2006).  Logan’s travels take him to Japan—where his own mysterious past comes back to haunt him in ways that could challenge his whole future.

BLD: Superman, Indiana Jones, and many other staple cinematic heroes have a central musical theme—something to identify them with as soon as it’s heard.  How did you approach the character of Wolverine, in these regards?

MB:  THE WOLVERINE is a very unique take on the superhero movie.  In that respect, it’s a very stylized picture.  Most of it takes place in Japan, and there’s a little bit of a mystery to it, almost a noir-ish mystery to it; the character Wolverine is a bit of a loner.  Having said that, there is a sound and melodic structure and harmonic structure that is used for him, but it’s not like a Superman type of theme; it’s much more reserved.  I used early on when you see him, in the woods, (a) harmonica.  The harmonica has a fairly strong thread throughout the score, as Wolverine’s sound.  Sometimes it’s processed and treated, other times it’s fairly straight, but it seems to work well for him, and it goes well with the harmonic structure that’s used for him.

Hugh Jackman as Logan, AKA Wolverine.

Hugh Jackman as Logan, AKA Wolverine.

BLD: The fact that the movie is set in Japan immediately puts into mind, of many a typical American moviegoer, images of exotic locale and culture.

MB:  Things that we consciously avoided, musically.  I think the last thing that Jim (James Mangold) and I wanted to do was Japanese music associated with Japanese places.  There’s a reference; I do use Japanese instruments, (but) not really in a traditional way; koto is used, but as a percussion instrument.

Koto, a Japanese instrument used in the score.

Koto, a Japanese instrument used in the score.

There’s Japanese flute stuff, but it’s treated in more of a Western way; it’s not really based on any pentatonic scales.  There’s echo tunnel drumming that takes place in there, but often times it’s processed, and different effects are put on it; so it’s nothing really traditionally Japanese as part of the score.

BLD: How was it to work on this (particularly unique) superhero movie?

MB:  It was really refreshing.  It really went smooth.  Jim was really into the stuff; he’s very musical, and had really interesting comments and ideas that would spur me, creatively, in different ways.  It was a lot of fun.  Again, it was a short schedule; we started on it…it doesn’t seem that long ago, but it was sort of fast, and there was a lot of music in it.  It goes off in a lot of different directions.  The ride goes from the woods of the Pacific Northwest to part of urban Japan.  It’s a really fun movie to watch.

***

Part Three: In Closing

BLD: In what portion of a movie’s production do you usually come aboard?

MB:  It’s different in every project.  This, THE WOLVERINE, was all shot except for a couple of pickup shots, and I had a full edit.  The next movie I’m doing, which is called THE HOMESMAN, a Tommy Lee Jones project, they’re just finishing shooting right now, and we’ll start talking about stuff (in the) next week.  It can be early in the process, which I like, because it gives time to think about a new way to approach things.  There’s a certain time factor; if you rush what you’re doing in too short a time, it can handicap the process of exploration.  Coming on a little bit earlier is a bit better.  Although, having said that, I don’t like working from scripts; if someone sends me a script, I usually don’t start working right away, because it’s really deceiving.  I’ve tried that in the past, and stuff that I’d come up with invariably (had) nothing to do with the movie that was shot.  It changes dramatically.

BLD: What particular (or non-particular) movies would you most want to work on, if you had the opportunity?

MB:  The movies most influential to me are probably the (ones) scored by Bernard Hermann—you know, the Hitchcock stuff; the spaghetti westerns (scored by Ennio) Morricone, and the Fellini movies by Nino Rota.  And to some extent, I’ve been able to do some Western stuff, which I really enjoy doing.  Just…the way Morricone was able to make non-orchestral sounds part of the score, that really inspired me.  Similarly, the Rota scores, the music doesn’t take itself seriously, and it skipped genres, and plays with a lot of different colors.  There are some I haven’t done much of yet, but are something that would be very appealing to me.  They don’t make movies like that now, but if there were, I think that’s what I’d be most excited about.

BLD: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

MB:  You know, maybe, I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to work in a variety of genres, and I’ve had a lot of fun exploring musically.  The worst thing to me would be to keep repeating things over and over, and (to) repeat the work of other people.  To explore other areas is what I find interesting about film scoring, and I hope that I can continue to be able to do so.

THE WOLVERINE opens on July 26th.

© Copyright 2013 by Barry Lee Dejasu

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Scoring Horror: Interview with MARCO BELTRAMI (Part 1 of 2)

Posted in 2013, Apocalyptic Films, Barry Dejasu Columns, Based on a bestselling book, Film Scores, Movie Music, Music for Film, Scoring Horror, Soundtracks, Zombie Movies, Zombies with tags , , , , on July 2, 2013 by knifefighter

Scoring Horror Presents:
An Interview with MARCO BELTRAMI
By Barry Lee Dejasu
(Part 1 of 2)

If you’ve seen any of the following movies…

  • ·         SCREAM (1997)
  • ·         MIMIC (1998)
  • ·         SCREAM 2 (1998)
  • ·         THE FACULTY (1998)
  • ·         SCREAM 3 (2000)
  • ·         THE WATCHER (2000)
  • ·         DRACULA 2000 (2000)
  • ·         ANGEL EYES (2001)
  • ·         JOY RIDE (2001)
  • ·         RESIDENT EVIL (2002)
  • ·         BLADE II (2002)
  • ·         TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES (2003)
  • ·         HELLBOY (2004)
  • ·         I, ROBOT (2004)
  • ·         FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX (2004)
  • ·         RED EYE (2005)
  • ·         LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD (2007)
  • ·         3:10 TO YUMA (2007)
  • ·         THE HURT LOCKER (2008)
  • ·         MAX PAYNE (2009)
  • ·         SOUL SURFER (2011)
  • ·         SCREAM 4 (2012)
  • ·         THE THING (2012)
  • ·         THE WOMAN IN BLACK (2012)
  • ·         THE THING (2012)
  • ·         TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE (2012)
  • ·         WARM BODIES (2013)
  • ·         A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD (2013)

…then you’ve also heard the music of Marco Beltrami.

Composer Marco Beltrami

Composer Marco Beltrami

To date, he has scored almost sixty films and a number of television shows, in just about every genre.  Mr. Beltrami is recognized not only by the sheer abundance of his résumé, however; he was nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Film Score for his respective work on 3:10 TO YUMA (2007) and THE HURT LOCKER (2008).

Earlier this year, he’d scored the “romantic zombedy” WARM BODIES (partnered with fellow composer/producer Buck Sanders), as well as the latest adventure of John McClane (Bruce Willis), A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD.  This fall, moviegoers will also hear Mr. Beltrami’s music in the CARRIE remake, as well as in the post-apocalyptic snowbound train thriller SNOWPIERCER.

At present, however, moviegoers will be thrilled with the double-assault of two big summer tent pole films featuring Mr. Beltrami’s work, WORLD WAR Z and THE WOLVERINE.  Mr. Beltrami was kind enough to carve some time out of his busy schedule for an interview about his music in these films.

***

Part One: WORLD WAR Z

 world-war-z-poster03

This is the story of the end of the world in the rise of a zombie apocalypse, and humankind’s attempts to end the threat.  A former UN investigator, Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt), is forced to leave his family to help in the war against the undead

BLD: This movie, as just about everybody knows, faced an unusually long and bumpy ride in its production.  When did you become involved?  And did you have to keep up with any of its final changes (including the filming of an entirely different ending)?

MT: I started a year ago, last October.  We had a movie to work from, to look at, to get ideas from.  They had some additional photography they were doing, and some reshoots and stuff, and during that period, I stopped working, because there was no picture to work on.

BLD: So during all the reshoots, did you have to just sit and wait, or did you try to keep working at the score on the side?

MB:  It’s a long time to be on a film, and plenty of times (I had) ideas as the footage came in.  It actually wasn’t that long of a time; I already had things fleshed out for some scenes, but in terms of getting things written, it was time consuming, and the picture was not really locked (because) even then things were changing.  So it turned out to be a short schedule for something that was a long process.

BLD: Was it hard to stay focused, or did you have a general plan that you stuck to?

MB:  No, I had ideas.  We had a really good music editor that guided us on it, John Finklea, and he really stayed in close with the editorial team and the producers and was able to get a good sense of what they were looking for.  There were different people involved, creatively, and anytime there’s more than one person involved, it becomes a little bit of a translation thing, to figure out what exactly is the common ground for everybody.  (John) was really instrumental in deciphering that and helping the process go smooth.

BLD: This film focuses largely upon one particular person (Brad Pitt) and his plights in the zombie uprising.  How did you approach that dynamic of individual empathy against the backdrop of worldwide horror and survival?

MB:  For me, the story was at once epic, but also intimate.  There’s a universal nature to a horrific thing that’s going on.  There’s also the very personal nature of this guy, Brad Pitt’s character, trying to save his family.  The interesting thing is where these (plots) intersect, because thematically, I think the same themes can play for both, because every man’s journey is the journey of mankind.  Sometimes it became a question of instrumentation and orchestration.  There’s a thematic continuity between the epicness and the intimacy.

Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) and his wife (Mireille Enos) struggle to protect their family in WORLD WAR Z.

Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) and his wife (Mireille Enos) struggle to protect their family in WORLD WAR Z.

BLD: Did you incorporate, or even create, any unusual instruments for the score?

MB:  The original thought of the score was that it would (follow) the first scene in Philadelphia, when all hell breaks loose and things are going bad (and it) cuts to this  emergency tone.  It always did, from the first time I saw the picture.  When Buck (Sanders, composer) and I first looked at it, we thought it’d be really cool to use that emergency broadcast signal as a musical start, or like a motive, from which everything else could be derived.  So we began to research what was involved in that, and it turns out that the pitches were something that can be used melodically as well, so that became a basis for much of the music.

The other thing that we thought would be neat, rhythmically, was the nature of zombies using their teeth, so we needed something that related to that.  It turns out that there’s a… (laughs) Actually, Tommy Lee Jones told me about this; I remember I was talking to him, and he told me that in Texas they have these wild pigs called javalinas which actually communicate with their teeth.  So I did a little bit of research, and so that became a pretty important part.  I figured it might be neat to have all the rhythmic parts derived from these jawbones, or these teeth gnashing together; so when we recorded in London, that was something I focused on.

The skulls used in the score.

The skulls used in the score.

BLD: Sometimes a film falls into one particular genre, but the composer approaches it with a different angle.  (For instance, Christopher Young scored the original HELLRAISER as a twisted romance).  How did you approach WORLD WAR Z?

MB:  From these melodic and rhythmic approaches, everything else could be derived.  At heart it’s very simple.  One of the challenges on it was that there was this idea of the intimate versus the epic.  There was the thought that, on one hand, the score should be a biblical, sweeping score, and on the other hand, it’s something much smaller, where you hear the rosin on the bow kind of thing, to give it that urgency and immediacy, and aggressiveness.

So this was the first time I had ever done this, but I actually recorded the score two different ways, in two different studios, one at Abbey Road, which was a bigger group, and simultaneously we also recorded at a smaller place called British Grove, and there we were able to experiment a little bit more with the sounds, and the more aggressive sound of the orchestra.  The sound engineer, John Kurlander, was then able to mix all the elements together, and take advantage of both the smaller and the bigger scores and mix them together in a neat way.  So that was, at least for me, a greater approach, this idea for the score.

WORLD WAR Z is in theaters everywhere now.

(END OF PART 1)

© Copyright 2013 by Barry Lee Dejasu

Scoring ACTION: An Interview with BRIAN TYLER (Part 2 of 2)

Posted in 2013, Action Movies, Barry Dejasu Columns, Interviews, Magic, Movie Music, Scoring Horror, Soundtracks, Superheroes with tags , , , , , on May 25, 2013 by knifefighter

Scoring ACTION Presents:
An Interview with BRIAN TYLER
By Barry Lee Dejasu

Part Two: NOW YOU SEE ME and the Future

NowYouSeeMePosterBARRY LEE DEJASU: With a film that deals so much with magic, and the stage, and all eyes on the performer, how did you evoke that kind of mood for this movie?
BRIAN TYLER:
NOW YOU SEE ME is a really interesting combination, tonally, as a film, and I don’t think it necessarily has been done like this as a film before, so musically it needed to go along with that tone.  You’re combining two different genres; you’re combining the idea of magic and illusion, which the music at least will give you that kind of sense of… You might think of HARRY POTTER and LORD OF THE RINGS, and things like that, and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS (1977), where you have that, but on the other hand, you have this heist movie.  These guys are pulling off a heist (and) rob a bank in Paris, and pull off all kinds of different, crazy things like that, which goes more toward things like CHARADE (1963), like cool ‘70s heist movies all the way up through retro-heist and retro-chase movies like CATCH ME IF YOU CAN (2002).  These kinds of music don’t typically go together, so I kind of came up with this sound like a ‘60s James Bond/CHARADE/Henry Mancini kind of vibe, crossed with LORD OF THE RINGS and HARRY POTTER! (laughs) And that kind of thing is like, how does that work?  It turned out to be this great combo, and it’s got elements of groove, and fun, and upright bass, and drums, and vibraphone, and kind of retro ‘60s stuff, with also a magical, shimmery element that was the London Philharmonic.  These two unlikely kinds of pairs, kind of like the underground New York jazz club from 1962 meets the London Philharmonic, strange bedfellows.  It ended up being one of my favorite musical experiences, and the fact that also feels like sleight music, like the music is beating you in one direction, like, look over here, or look closely here, but you’re looking in the wrong place, you know.  It was like a giant puzzle, this whole score, and I can’t wait for people to check out this movie and hear the score.

BLD: There seems to be a lot comedic elements at work in the movie.
BT:
Very much so.  You have this team of four magicians that are thrown together.  They’re definitely kind of a motley crew; they don’t necessarily like each other at the beginning of the movie—they’re thrown together for this mission, and it’s hilarious; they’re great together.  It’s really funny, and it’s got a lot of twists, and it keeps you guessing.  I’m just interested in magic from the point of view of illusion, myself.  Each one of the characters, it’s like there’s a corollary in real life, like the Woody Harrelson character, he’s like this mentalist like Darren Brown, and you have Morgan Freeman, who’s like a debunker, like James Randy, who goes around and calls out people that claim to be psychic and are full of it.  You got a guy that’s more like David Blaine that’s more like close-up magic, street magic, things like that, (and) a dude that’s more like (David) Copperfield; he does big illusions in Vegas.  To put all these people together, you needed to have the fun.

Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, and Dave Franco in Now You See Me

Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, and Dave Franco in NOW YOU SEE ME.

There’s an action element to it, of course, as well; there’s a streak of THE BOURNE IDENTITY(2002), well, not in terms of it musically, but more like the film, where there’s something at stake here.  It’s fun the whole way, and you’re constantly guessing, and the whole movie is actually kind of like watching a really cool magic show unto itself.  The story is really the illusion, and the mystery you have to try to solve while you’re watching.

BLD: The fact is it’s still an audience watching a performance.
BT:
Yeah—for sure.  It’s almost like you’re pulled into it.  It doesn’t rely on special effects, it’s more like the trickery of how does someone outwit the other person with what is obviously not real magic, but with illusion.

BLD: Can you speak of any projects you’re attached to, or circling?
BT:
There are some directors that I work with that are working on some movies.  There’s STANDING UP, from DJ Caruso, who directed EAGLE EYE; I’ve done a bunch of movies with him.  There’s also a movie (also by Caruso) that I’m hopefully going to be doing very soon called INVERTIGO which is great, a really cool story.  And John Liebesman, who I work with a lot, has NINJA TURTLES; we’ll be doing that together, and he’s great, he’s amazing.  Steve Quail (FINAL DESTINATION 5, 2011) is directing a movie called BLACK SKY, and there’s some other things that may be coming up as well.  I would love to work with Marvel again, and of course Shane is a fantastic director, so we’ll see what’s on the horizon here.

StandingUpPosterBLD: If you could re-score any pre-existing film (but preferably older ones, and the older, the better), which might you choose?  (Previous answers have often included NOSFERATU and GODZILLA.)
BT:
I don’t know if I could improve on it, but I’d love to take a whack at MANOS: HANDS OF FATE (1966).  (laughs)  I just would love to write some music for something that’s that strange.  There was so much blank space in it, filming outside of car windows, driving alongside it endlessly… It would just be cool to go back and score something like that.  I’m sure I could pick something that’s actually good, but I have a thing for films like MANOS: HANDS OF FATE.

ManosHandsofFatePosterBLD: There are tons of films always in the works.  If you could choose and score anything in particular, which would you jump for?  (Anything from a new documentary to, say, one of the new Star Wars films?)
BT:
Also MANOS: HANDS OF FATE! Or (its sequel), TORGO RETURNS! (laughing) It’s a good question.  Walking into something like STAR WARS would be amazing, of course, but John Williams is the impossible bar to reach.  I would love to just see where the Marvel universe would go; that’s really interesting to me.  And also something that I would love to do is just a historical drama of some sort, to just sort of mix it up, but it’s something that I personally love.  The things I watch most of on Netflix are documentaries, that kind of thing, and my major in college was history.  It would be great to dive into something historical.

© Copyright 2013 by Barry Lee Dejasu

IRON MAN 3 is now playing.
NOW YOU SEE ME comes out in theaters on May 31st.

Scoring ACTION: Interview with BRIAN TYLER (Part 1 of 2)

Posted in 2013, Action Movies, Barry Dejasu Columns, Interviews, Movie Music, Scoring Horror, Soundtracks, Superheroes with tags , , , , , on May 24, 2013 by knifefighter

Scoring ACTION Presents:
An Interview with BRIAN TYLER
By Barry Lee Dejasu

CONSTANTINE. WAR. RAMBO. THE FINAL DESTINATION. LAW ABIDING CITIZEN. BATTLE: LOS ANGELES.  Do any of these films sound familiar?  That’s probably because they’re tent pole examples of summer cinema from the past decade—big-screen tales of action-packed suspense.  There’s something else that they all have in common, however: the vibes of epic excitement and suspense were in no small part the result of the musical contributions of film composer Brian Tyler.

Composer Brian Tyler

Composer Brian Tyler

With a resume reaching back into the 1990s that runs the gamut of comedies, dramas, made-for-TV specials, and horror movies such as FRAILTY (2001) and DARKNESS FALLS (2003), Brian Tyler been making an increasing splash for himself with scores to numerous franchises, including the third, fourth, and fifth movies in the FAST AND FURIOUS series and both EXPENDABLES films.  He’s also done a bit of work on video games and TV shows, including TERRA NOVA and HAWAII FIVE-0.

Most recently, Mr. Tyler lent his talents to the first major blockbuster of 2013, a little something called IRON MAN 3.  This film furthers the adventures of genius billionaire inventor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.), in the wake of the explosive events of THE AVENGERS (2012), as he faces a mysterious and powerful new enemy, the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley), as well as Stark’s personal demons in his efforts to protect the woman he loves (Gwyneth Paltrow).

Later this month, moviegoers will hear Mr. Tyler’s music in NOW YOU SEE ME, an all-star suspense caper about a group of stage magicians utilizing their talents to conduct mystifying thievery.

Mr. Tyler was kind enough to share some of his time to dish about his work on IRON MAN 3, NOW YOU SEE ME, and his musical approach to suspense and thriller films.

***

Part One: Brian Tyler and IRON MAN 3

BARRY LEE DEJASU: What was your first instance of “noticing” music in movies?
BRIAN TYLER:
My first memory, I’d say, would be STAR WARS (1976).  Huge STAR WARS fan.  I wanted the music to go along with the action figures.  The double-album (was) pretty amazing.  I really walked out of that thinking, “Wow, this is cool!  This is something I want to listen to.”  And as I started playing instruments and started writing music, it was just kind of… I always had scores around, I always collected them, and I was into it.  So it naturally kind of influenced the music that I would write, and it led me to what I do now.

BLD: With the majority of the movies that you score falling into a suspense/action vein, you obviously enjoy them to some extent.  Do you find that you’re just drawn to them, or does the work just get brought to you?
BT:
Yeah, where I seem to have landed in my career is partly what I like to watch.  I love all kinds of movies, so I’m not really genre-specific in that sense, but I love genre films.  I love scifi, I love horror, I love action, and pretty much everything.  But certainly, I got started in offbeat, quirky films, some quirky horror stuff like BUBBA HO-TEP (2002) and FRAILTY, and then it just kind of expanded into different kinds of adventure films.  IRON MAN 3 is such a great canvas to do a superhero film.  I’ve done movies based on comics before, but never a legit superhero.  So that was really cool to jump on board.

IronMan3PosterBLD: How did you come about jumping on board this movie, following Ramin Djawadi’s and John Debney’s respective scores for the first and second films?
BT:
(The filmmakers) were looking for something very specific.  The music for the first two was a little more rock-based, hybrid-orchestral kind of vibe.  On this movie, for the majority of the score, they needed something that reflected the post-AVENGERS sort of world of IRON MAN 3.  Tony Stark used to be this billionaire, playboy, inventor dude, who’s brilliant, but he had this vibe of kind of devil-may-care smartass kind of thing, which is great, and I think that worked with the score with the Black Sabbath songs and AC/DC and all that, and that kind of had his attitude.  Then all of the events happened in THE AVENGERS, and he fell in love with Pepper, and he has something that he really cares about now.

Robert Downey, Jr. is Tony Stark, “Billionaire, playboy, inventor.

Robert Downey, Jr. is Tony Stark, “Billionaire, playboy, inventor.

The post-Avengers world, in Marvel, you can mark everything pre-Avengers and post-Avengers, kind of like pre-9/11 and post-9/11.  And it was such a huge event that the stakes are raised, and all of a sudden, the music for Iron Man can be superhero music; a legitimate superhero theme.  Even though he’s a reluctant superhero—he’s been thrust upon this position, in a way—it still nonetheless needed one of those soaring melodies.  In the first two movies, it just wouldn’t have worked; it would have been strange to hear that.

So (IRON MAN 3 writer-director) Shane Black, and (producers) Kevin Feige at Marvel, and Stephen Broussard, and Dave Jordan, (and) a lot of other Marvel people… I had no idea, but for years they’d been listening to my soundtracks, and really loved the thematic writing, the melodies, and things like that on films that I did that were not as well-know, like THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED (2005) and ANNAPOLIS (2006), and films like that that had big, soaring melodies.  They wanted a melody that you could walk away with and be like, “Oh, that’s Iron Man,” the way that (the melody in) RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981) is Indiana Jones, the melody, the march, it’s like, “Oh, that’s him.”  So that was the drive; that was the goal, so I did my best, and it’s cool seeing how people have reacted to it.  It was my best whack at that kind of thematic writing.

BLD: It must have been pretty flattering and an honor for you.
BT:
For sure, and as a fan, as a kid before the IRON MAN movies, you know, (I read) Iron Man, and Tales of Suspense (and other comics).  It was great, it was really cool.  To have had the fortune to happen to have landed this, and to come to different projects like STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE (TV series, 2003) and ALIEN VERSUS PREDATOR: REQUIEM (2007), and RAMBO (2008)…all these different kinds of established franchises there, I’d come into as a fan long before I began writing for them.

BLD: How do you approach genre-blending films such as BUBBA HO-TEP (2002) or BATTLE: LOS ANGELES (2011) and right up through IRON MAN 3 and NOW YOU SEE ME, in which radically different genres are mashed together?
BT:
(Laughs) All these things kind of tap into something that, for me, probably just comes from being a movie fan.  I can’t help but think of my favorite alien invasion movies when I watch BATTLE: LOS ANGELES., but at the same time, it had a tone like SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1998) or PLATOON (1986) or something.  You end up subconsciously merging (and) doing genre mashups in your head.

IRON MAN 3 has a lot of different things going on there, because you have this great writer in Shane coming along, and I think that wanted to use something that was risky, and he uses dialogue in a certain way that’s snippy—all these different things that went into the story.  I think that Kevin Feige over at Marvel, and Shane and I, all of us were genre film score fans and comic book fans.  IRON MAN 3 is an example of the inmates running the asylum.  (laughs)  We’re all really big fans of film, and we got a chance to do what we really wanted, and that’s hard to do, and it’s rare, when you talk about how expensive movies like that are to make.  That’s why I love those guys so much; they’re kind of like me—they just got into it because they love movies, and so it’s really not far removed at all from what goes into making something like BUBBA HO-TEP, in a way.  For me, I approach it the same way; just like, “Hey, this is cool, let’s try to do something that’s really great, that will give audiences something to walk away with that actually has some kind of emotional impact.”  It’s definitely not like churning out a product; none of the people involved on IRON MAN 3 had that approach—they approached it like film fans.

BLD: Going all the way back to silent movies, film music can be light and cheery when the heroes are on the screen, then drops to “dun-Dun-DUN!” when the villains appear.  How did you approach this pairing-off for IRON MAN 3?
BT:
(Laughs) Well, sometimes you go with conventions, sometimes you don’t.  I think the most important thing for me to keep track of is how the whole thing works together, and writing scenes that will embed themselves in the subconscious of the viewer.  (If you’re) watching the scene, and all of a sudden you do some melody over on the English horn way in the background of a character that’s not even on the screen, you start to think of that character, subconsciously, even though you don’t know you are, you know?  I do a lot with identity in the IRON MAN 3 score, and if you go back and watch it a second time, you realize certain themes for certain people are playing at the times that you might not think would be—should be—playing, but it all makes sense when you see the whole movie.

I think you can also put convention on its head slightly when you do things that are melodic-based, because you can play melodies in so many different ways that you don’t expect.  There’s a scene where Tony Stark is dragging the Iron Man suit through the snow, for instance, and in that scene you could have gone with something really powerful or whatever.  I don’t think many people would have thought, “Gee, let’s have a solo instrument for Tony, what’s it going to be?  Oh, it’s going to be a harp!”—but that’s exactly what it is, it’s a harp, and it feels really, really lonely.  Those are sometimes the things you try to give it a flavor that really resonates (even if) it might be really out of the box.

Tony Stark dragging his Iron Man suit through the snow

Tony Stark dragging his Iron Man suit through the snow

And certainly the Mandarin’s music is kind of quasi-religious and spiritual, almost as if he sees himself as some kind of televangelist, in a way, but there’s this artifice as well, like he’s kind of full of shit, a little bit.

So all of these things kind of come together, and you try to make it work as a whole, and I kind of thought how the original STAR WARS had such a great grasp on how music works in a movie.  (There) you have the score theme playing super lonely and sad when he’s looking at the twin sunsets on Tatooine, but then you can have it during the Death Star battle and it sounds badass, but it’s the exact same melody, and it’s triumphant at the end in the throne room, and you don’t necessarily realize it’s the same melody when you’re watching it.  I think people remember the main theme and the Imperial March as good guy/bad guy, but there’s a lot of different nuance in there that I find to be the fascinating part of scoring.

BLD: It’s kind of impossible to watch a film like this one and talk about the score without making some kind of cliché comparison to the sound as being industrial, especially in tracks such as “War Machine,” where there are literally clangs and pulses.
BT:
It was a combination of different stuff.  The majority of the sound was the London Philharmonic, you know, that’s kind of the base sound of it.  Then of the little extras, about ten percent of it, you get those sonic little “hinges” that are unique to your film.  There’s choir work in there that’s sometimes kind of big and heroic, and other times it feels like a falling choir, like you’re falling towards the ground, and instead of a literally falling, the choir goes in reverse, it goes up.  I scored the scene where they fall out of the plane and are plummeting towards the earth, so instead of being like they’re falling, the music is really like the earth is coming up towards you, so actually that cue goes upward.  Things like that, I was like, “Ooh, I want to take a twist on that.”

People falling from an airplane in a memorable scene]

People falling from an airplane in a memorable scene]

And certainly for “War Machine,” and for “Iron Man,” I used literal metal.  Not metal like Pantera, but hitting big chunks of metal, you know, anvils, big brake drums from a truck, and hit them with a hammer, things like that, give it some “clankiness.”  And then there is, with “War Machine,” since the story kind of takes it in kind of a dark turn with War Machine, there are some manipulations of some old 1970s synthesizer stuff, distorted and kind of weird and floaty, and you combine it and it all just sounds kind of weird on paper, but somehow, internally, it all makes sense.  Even when you’re dealing with like instruments from score to score, it sounds very different, just like the Beatles’ “She Loves You,” and “Black Dog” by Zeppelin, and there are the same instruments, but do they sound anything alike? No; you know?  So it’s also the way the actual instruments are played and written for.  So for IRON MAN, I tried to make it match the personalities of the characters, and make it tweaky, and kind of unexpected for the scenes.

DifferentSuitsLineupBLD: What were some challenges in scoring this film?
BT:
The challenge was definitely finding that main melody, wanting to make something that was memorable, and that’s of course one of those things that’s of course very subjective.  But I did my best to kind of find the voice of Iron Man in a way that also, since it’s this sort of post-Avengers/pre-Avengers scenario, I needed to find something that the director wanted, which was to build this instant nostalgia, so you hear the theme and you go, “Oh yeah! I know this is Iron Man!,” even though it’s brand-new; that was the thing—it wasn’t established yet, this type of theme.  I had to build in.  It’s like buying games that are trashed already when you get them; (we) wanted the music to sound like it was always there.  That was a huge challenge.

BLD: Were there any favorite scenes that you scored?
BT:
No, I totally hated all the scenes.  No, I’m kidding.  All the scenes, one to the next, I loved it.  To pick a favorite is like, “What’s your favorite cute puppy of the litter?  You have to choose.”  So I guess the finale is pretty awesome; it was a great scene that I loved scoring, (SPOILERS) with all the different Iron Man suits showing up, and the big battle, with Tony running around and doing a lot of his work outside of the suit, which I thought was so cool; he was just a man having to use his cleverness.  It was a lot of fun doing the whole last ten minutes of the movie, which included the end title sequence, which was kind of a retro thing; that was a lot of fun, too.  If I kept going, I love the scene where he’s dragging the suit across the snow, and so much of the ramping-up of the music as the movie kind of reveals one twist after another; that’s always fun as well, because you can build in little Easter eggs in the music, and they’re certainly all over the movie.

BLD: Would you like to work on other superhero films?
BT:
Oh, sure!  I love superheroes, and the movies are just such a great canvas, because there really are not a lot of borders to what you can do, musically, and IRON MAN 3  was just a total joy to score, no question about it.

© Copyright 2013 by Barry Lee Dejasu

“Scoring Horror” Interviews THEO GREEN

Posted in 2012, Barry Dejasu Columns, Family Secrets, Movie Music, Scoring Horror, Soundtracks with tags , , , , , on September 26, 2012 by knifefighter

SCORING HORROR:
Theo GreenTalks About HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET
By Barry Lee Dejasu

Film composer Theo Green

“Films that play effectively on fears are a fascinating, frightening experience,” says composer, Theo Green.  No stranger to horror and other genres in film, Mr. Green’s resume includes DREAD (2000), PROWL (2010), and a previous collaboration with HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET’s director, Mark Tonderai, 2008’s HUSH.

“Audiences get these very real physical reactions from the tension, shocks and fear when watching movies like that.  More so than they do on a rollercoaster where they really are being physically thrown about. And the music has the instant ability to connect a viewer emotionally to a scene or a character, which is a part of producing those reactions. So that’s a big appeal, to be able to connect to an audience in such a visceral way.

When asked to talk about his experiences and thoughts in scoring this film, Mr. Green graciously obliged—but was wary of divulging certain aspects of the film’s plot.  “It’s the kind of film where one accidental answer might spoil the plot for everyone,” he said, “so I’ll try not to do that.”

Alright then, so how does the film end?
Nice try! It definitely doesn’t end with an alien invasion… or a zombie shootout.

What is it about the horror genre that you are drawn to?
Well, I love all kinds of movies and genres, but most of all I love it when films have the power to truly shock—I don’t mean jumps and scares, but deep emotional shocks that take days of thought to fully process. I think that can be a healthy, cathartic thing.

I’ve always been in awe of 70s films like THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974), Italian Giallo films, and also oddities like THE WICKER MAN (1973), since way back when I was too young really! Maybe for that reason it’s hard to find films that have much surprise for me anymore. The scenes and ideas that get me most scared these days are often not in genre horror films.

Hard to think of a perfect example. But… you know the scene with the guy having what appears to be a sudden stroke behind the Twinkies cafe in David Lynch’s film MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001)?  Well, the whole movie is soul-chilling, but that moment—with its context in this limbo world somewhere between sanity and insanity—uses the sound design and score to give you a virtual heart attack, and it shakes most people up pretty badly! In a horror film that scene probably wouldn’t have that strong effect on me. And it’s the same musically: small doses of various things you weren’t expecting can go a lot further towards scaring people than shrieking, pounding noise throughout.

So I relish the surprise of those moments of horror in films that are not totally in the genre. And I love it when a film you thought was going a certain way suddenly twists and goes in a new, darker direction, explaining the questions you have been asking yourself all along.

It’s what Nigel Kneale, the writer who created the early sci-fi horror series QUARTERMASS (1979) referred to as a “revelation of terror”—that moment when you realize the full truth, and your uncertainty becomes terror at the revelation of how big and dangerous the real horror is.  HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET has some great moments like that. I suppose I seek out films like that both to watch and to compose for.

Theo Green’s latest soundtrack was composed for HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET.

Most of the films I’ve worked on so far live in between psychological thriller, drama and horror, rather than relying on extreme violence for their fear factor. Many of my favourites like Nicolas Roeg’s DON’T LOOK NOW (1973) and Roman Polanski’s “apartment trilogy” films like THE TENANT (1976)  have this effect of shock and horror, but they build up to it stealthily. Then they hit you hard where you least expected! You follow the characters and begin to feel for them. Eventually you descend into the horror of their insanity or folly. That approach still has the power to terrify me.

Recently I think French shockers like INSIDE (A L’INTIEUR, 2007) and MARTYRS (2008) showed a great mixture of some old-skool stealth and surprises, a bit of modern gore, but stylistically they are right up to date, with very modern textural scores.

While blockbusters and other big-budget films often feature voluminous scores, genre films often rely on silence as part of their presentation.  (Just look at the original Dracula in 1931—which featured no music whatsoever.)  Where does House At the End of the Street fit in this range?
It fits in between, with 60% or 70% of the film accompanied by score, roughly.

I think in Tod Browning‘s 1931 DRACULA, it was partly the difficulty of syncing music to early film reels that left it without score. Sometimes they would play records over the openings of films like that!

One of the better long-banned horrors, I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (1978) was completely without score. I’m sure there are other examples of horror without music post-1970s, but it’s unusual.

It tends to work best not to have music in scenes where an extra dose of realism and voyeurism is needed, which is perhaps why it worked so well for I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE.

The thing is, music can help people suspend their disbelief, wrapping scenes in atmosphere to suggest surroundings that maybe only exist in fiction. So the heavy presence of music in blockbusters makes sense, as their settings are often costly fantasies. But overusing music to convey pace and atmosphere can come at the expense of a sense of truthfulness you get when a director lets you experience something, without score there to assist you. Being left alone without music can be more disquieting than even the scariest score—it’s as if the person who has been reassuringly holding your hand throughout suddenly leaves you on your own in a dark room!

The stars of HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET

Some films without a first-rate cast use music in every scene partly to help underscore and reinforce the actors’ performances throughout their dialog. But with actors of Jennifer Lawrence, Max Thieriot and Elisabeth Shue’s calibre that was obviously not a consideration. So HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET has a full range, from dramatic scenes without music, to music that plays a real role in guiding and suggesting responses to the characters…. to music that makes you experience utter panic!

Then the main theme, starting as a distant female vocal, is hinted right at the start and throughout the early part of the film and it comes out more clearly later. It relates to the main mystery of the film. And it functions as a very subtle clue to what’s going on. And that’s as much as I can say!

Did you have a hand in any of other sounds in the film (e.g., effects)?
Only little things—I made one or two scary sounds, and sequences like the introduction, which is an audio-visual assault I had a hand in assembling.

But the talented guys at Deluxe were responsible for the fantastic sound mix and design, which has already got them an award nomination!

What, if any, were some of the challenges in scoring this film?
The film needed a bit of a split personality musically. There is a mother-daughter thread, a romantic aspect, a thriller mood and also plenty of sheer terror. It can both be softly menacing with strings and bass guitars, or it can be a murderous rampage of percussion.  So the challenge was to find ways to fit those two worlds together, to suggest a bit of each in the other.

Then it lives somewhere between independent horrors and blockbuster thrillers, which as you noted, are musically often very different worlds. I have not only the director, Mark Tonderai, but also Relativity, FilmNation and A Bigger Boat who produced, to thank for supporting and encouraging the solutions the director and I used to address those challenges, as it paid off and achieves that stealth effect.

Did you employ any unusual or experimental methods, instruments, sound effects, etc. for this film?
Yes, although less experimental techniques on this than some movies I’ve worked on. Mark’s first film (HUSH, 2008) was a thriller set on the road with a trucker as the antagonist…. The score for that film featured processed sounds of brakes squealing, hydraulic drills, rusty metal being twisted… which made for a very industrial soundtrack. This film has more complex emotions, more characters to describe. So, subtle melody and unsettling string textures were important in parts. That said, the ways I got the orchestra to abuse their precious instruments, smacking objects against the cello strings… that could be described as unusual. Or do I mean unpopular! No, they were great about it, and no actual lasting damage was done…

Do you know if there are plans to release the film score as an official soundtrack (online or on CD)?
A soundtrack album release might be in the works; if so it would be released by Relativity Music.

Who were some of your biggest influences, filmic and otherwise, upon your work?
Some of the films I mentioned earlier are an influence in general, but not so much on this.

Hmmm… I think the biggest influences, the things that made me want to do my job, came first of all from school teachers with a passion for music or film. A teacher played the JAWS (1975) soundtrack to our class when I was 7, explaining to us how the different moods and textures affected the viewers’ responses to what they were watching. Straight after that lesson I begged him to lend me the cassette of the score and wore it thin listening to it. Good teachers are so important. Especially ones who forgive mangled cassette tapes.

Two years after that I got the chance to see James Horner at work on one of his first scores, BRAINSTORM (1983) —I was one of the kids he chose from a school choir to sing the scary harmonic clusters throughout! It’s a good score, much more experimental than his later blockbuster style.

Mark Tonderai, who has a musical background, always plays me tons of stuff to listen to, so I can get a rough idea of what he’s imagining. That’s much better than just hearing one or two things he likes, as those could then become too strong an influence. I prefer listening to saturation point, then rinsing it all out of my head before starting the work for real. That way I can sense the right ballpark for the score, without having any pieces of music stuck in my head.

Are there any particular films in the works that you would want first dibs on scoring?
I wish first dibs existed on film scores! I don’t know, I used to think it would be amazing to compose for the great directors whose films I always loved, when they made a new film. But now I’m not sure it would be the same as meeting them and working together on their first films… I’d rather be developing what I do alongside the next great directors, finding ways of working that suit us, finding a shorthand that we can use to discuss and try ideas out with. I think some of the people I’ve done that with, like (2011’s RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES director) Rupert Wyatt and like Mark Tonderai, are very much in that next wave of directorial talent, and I’m very proud to have worked with them early on in their careers.

Let’s say you had the chance to score an older, pre-1970’s film, even one that’s well-known for its music.  Which one(s) would you choose, and why?  (And what might you want to do, specifically?)
I’m sure I’ve thought of some good ones before… but now I’m asked, I can’t remember many!  You’ve heard Philip Glass’s new score to that 1931 DRACULA, right? Perhaps Tod Browning’s other classic, 1932’s FREAKS would be an interesting one to attempt. I sort of like how it is though.

I wouldn’t want to redo something known for its music; that would be tough.

THE WAGES OF FEAR (1957), directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot is a great adventure thriller.  I can’t remember the music if there is any, but I remember thinking it would be fun to score an old movie with a nervous pace like this one. Tangerine Dream did a great job on the 1970s William Friedkin-directed remake, SORCERER.

THE HILL (1965), directed by Sidney Lumet, doesn’t have a music score nor does it really need it! Sean Connery being broken in a military prison camp is drama enough. But it would make an interesting test, for anyone without a film to score, to try this.

Those are all films without real scores…. a more recent film that I love is the Dutch horror-thriller film “SPOORLOOS” (THE VANISHING, 1988, directed by George Sluizer)…  the soundtrack is effective, but very much of its 80s time. Whereas the film itself is absolutely timeless. That one would be interesting to attempt.

What’s next on your professional horizon?
I’m working on a score for a great British thriller starring Paddy Considine, called HONOUR.

Would you like to add anything else?
Hmm – as this interview is for Cinema Knife Fight – there is this brief moment in HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET with a knife, that gives me chills every time. It’s one of Mark’s signature shots—he has a real eye for unusual camera angles that bring you closer to the action—and together with the score, the moment just rings true, which is a surprise in itself. When knives and guns turn up in movies, they often seem a bit derived from other films. This little moment convinced me that it would be just that way in reality. Enjoy it!

Thanks for your time, Theo!
My pleasure.

© Copyright 2012 by Barry Lee Dejasu

Scoring Horror: An Interview with MIDNIGHT SYNDICATE

Posted in 2012, Barry Dejasu Columns, Movie Music, Scoring Horror, Soundtracks with tags , , , , , on August 22, 2012 by knifefighter

SCORING HORROR
An Interview with Midnight Syndicate
By Barry Lee Dejasu

Walk into almost any haunted attraction, and you’re bound to hear eerie music playing in the background, often accompanied by screaming victims, clanking chains, monstrous howls and assorted other sound effects.  Compilations of such soundtracks are widely available for this entertainment market, but there are few groups that exist solely to create such music.  One of the most prolific and hard-working groups in this field is Ohio-based Midnight Syndicate.

Comprised of Edward Douglas and Gavin Goszka, the group specializes in creating gothic horror soundtracks to films that exist not in the cinematic medium, but through the images that they invoke in the mind of the listener—and almost exclusively through synthesized orchestrations, keyboard melodies and sparing uses of atmospheric sound effects.  To date, they have produced fourteen releases, including two compilation albums, a collaboration with singer Destini Beard, an official soundtrack for the classic role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons, and the scores to two films, THE RAGE (2007) and THE DEAD MATTER (2009), the latter of which was also directed by Edward Douglas.

Edward Douglas and Gavin Goszka were kind enough to share their thoughts on their take on this medium, and in particular, their influences and inspirations of horror cinema.

Have either of you ever considered making one of your albums into a film (or having one made by others)?

Douglas: It’s come up a lot over the years. The idea behind Midnight Syndicate has always been that the music is designed for the listener to come up with their own ideas for what is going on in a certain song or disc. That’s a really important part of what we’re all about—escapism. If we did a film we’d want to be careful not to proclaim it as the “official” interpretation of a disc. That being said, I’ve always wanted to do a film on the Haverghast Asylum and family members (featured on the Gates of Delirium and The 13th Hour CDs).

Let’s say such a thing happened: would you score a whole new soundtrack, or would you oversee that the film be “truncated” to fit the existing album?

Douglas:  Interesting question. I definitely think we’d score a whole new soundtrack and work in some material from the original CD when possible. Music is such a critical part to any movie. If we were making a movie (any movie), I would want the score to elevate the film as much as possible. The score needs to serve the film’s needs first and foremost. That means crafting the score around the story, characters, and action of the film, once it’s pieced together. I would never want to “force” existing music in to that. Although the music can sound similar—writing a score to a film and writing for a Midnight Syndicate album are very different.

Goszka: I agree about scoring a new soundtrack. I think it would be more difficult to try and develop a film around an existing album. Bringing in existing themes, as Ed mentioned, is always an option, but I think we’d want to let the film itself guide the music rather than the other way around.

What are some stories/themes/locations you’d like to visit in future albums?

Douglas: There’s so many worlds we have yet to explore—that’s exciting.  I see us doing a CD geared towards Lovecraft (although we touch on that in The 13th Hour). We’ve also had fans asking for a Christmas-themed disc since we started, so that’s just a matter of time. Steampunk, werewolves, other fantasy settings, a horror sci-fi, the world of Poe… I could go on and on.

With the Dungeons & Dragons album, you created a soundtrack to a role-playing game. Do you have any plans for any other non-film scores, maybe to a video game or even a novel?

Douglas: Absolutely. We had some of our music used in Baldur’s Gate 2: Dark Alliancefor X-Box and the online role-playing game, Shadowbane. Scoring videogames is definitely something we would like to do more of in the future. It’s funny you mention it, because putting our music to a novel and a board game is something we are in talks with a company about doing right now. Hopefully we’ll have something to announce on that front this year.

Will you be scoring other films in the near future?

Douglas: Yes, we begin work on the score to BUNYAN this June. BUNYANis a great, fun film directed by Gary Jones (XENA, BOOGEYMAN 3) that’s a dark contemporary take on the Paul Bunyan legend. It’s got Grizzly Adams (Dan Haggerty) in there, along with Joe Estevez and some other genre veterans. A cool film which will definitely stretch us into new areas, musically.

Directing?

Douglas: I’d love to direct again. The fan response and reviews for THE DEAD MATTERhave been great and that has set us up to do another one. At this point, it’s just going to be determining when the best time will be. 2012 is an extremely busy year for us between the scoring, a new Midnight Syndicate CD, and other projects. Music is always our primary focus but I do hope to direct again soon.

With THE DEAD MATTER, you released both an official motion picture soundtrack as well as an album called Cemetery Gates. What was the “idea” of this album?

Douglas: The Dead Matter: Cemetery Gatesis like any other regular Midnight Syndicate CD, only for the theme, we pulled from the elements in THE DEAD MATTERmovie (cemeteries, the living dead, vampires, Egyptian relics, etc.).  Looking back I wished we had called it simply Cemetery Gatesas I think we caused a lot of confusion over the title (people thought it was the actual soundtrack to the movie).  Still Cemetery Gateshas become one of our most successful and critically-acclaimed discs. It spawned our first two music videos (Dark Legacy and Lost) and was just a really fun disc to work on.

Goszka: Working on the album’s bonus tracks was a treat as well. We’ve had limited-edition remixes of our music available at some of our CD release parties in the past, but it was nice to finally make one of these remixes available as part of an “official” album. It was also great to explore some of my rock/industrial leanings a bit in a way that was completely keyed in to the film.

If you could re-do the score any already-existing genre film, which would you choose, and why? (Particularly older, pre-1970s, films?)

Douglas:  Perhaps the (1931) DRACULA. That would be fun because there wasn’t music on the original release. I would like to take a stab at the original THE OLD DARK HOUSEas well. I love those old black and white films for their atmosphere.

Goszka: Definitely the original THE HAUNTING (1963) for me. That film was all about subtlety and suggestion and I think it would be a great challenge to create a soundtrack that could be effectively creepy without becoming too obvious or overbearing.

There are numerous films currently in development, such as the PET SEMATARY remake, an adaptation of Guillermo Del Toro’s THE STRAIN, the INSIDIOUS sequel, etc. If you had first dibs on scoring any of them, which would you do, why, and what would you bring to them?

Douglas: All of those sound awesome. Pet Semataryis one of my favorite Stephen King books and favorite movies, Del Toro is absolutely amazing, and the paranormal horror theme of the INSIDIOUSfranchise couldn’t be more up Midnight Syndicate’s alley. I would love to work with Hammer Films. The Hammer Films of the 50s-70s were a huge influence for me creatively. To work with that company at anytime would be a thrill.  I’ve loved all of the films they’ve put out recently. WAKE WOOD was so good!

Goszka: I’ve been keeping my eye on the film adaptation of Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely. Caroline Thompson (A NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, etc.) has signed on as the screenwriter, which couldn’t possibly be more perfect. I literally could not put that book down—I think I finished it in something like six hours, which was certainly a personal record! It offers a darker take on the realms of Faery, and I think its atmosphere would be a real treat to explore musically.

Would you like to add anything else?

Douglas: I’d like to invite people to visit us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/midnightsyndicate) or on our site. 2012 is going to be a busy year for us, with lots of cool releases (including a new CD, a new Destini Beard CD, a re-release of THE DEAD MATTER, and more).  Our latest CD, Carnival Arcane has received a lot of accolades lately, which is cool. I’d invite people who aren’t familiar with us to check it out (especially if you enjoy carnivals, the Victorian era, or SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES).

Midnight Syndicate Discography:
Carnival Arcane (2011)
Halloween Music Collection (2010)
The Dead Matter: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2010)
The Dark Masquerade (with Destini Beard) (2010)
The Dead Matter: Cemetery Gates (2008)
The Rage: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2008)
Out of the Darkness (Retrospective: 1994-1999) (2006)
The 13th Hour (2005)
Dungeons & Dragons: Official Roleplaying Soundtrack (2003)
Vampyre: Symphonies From the Crypt (2002)
Gates of Delirium (2001)
Realm of Shadows (2000)
Born of the Night (1998)
Midnight Syndicate (1997)

Interview © Copyright 2012 by Barry Lee Dejasu