For those heading out to see "Resident Evil: Afterlife" this weekend, you'll undoubtedly get your fill of creepy zombies, bloody death/action sequences and gorgeous actresses kicking undead butt, but for the more astute viewers, you'll also enjoy the unique melodic stylings of the film's composers TomandAndy.
When I caught up with Tom Hadju recently- one half of the dynamic composing duo - he discussed how they came up with their unique blended score, why it's different from a normal cinematic compositions and what attracts them to scoring genre films and other properties.
MTV: What attracted you to this film in the first place?
Hadju: We went to see a couple of scenes that had been cut from the movie and we were blown away at how stunning it was and felt like the gauntlet had been thrown to make some music that was as aesthetically interesting as what Paul [Anderson] had already created, so that was a challenge.
MTV: Regarding coming up with a new sound, how did you go about coming up with the different themes and sound variations?
Hadju: The idea was to create something new but at the same time was oddly familiar – that was the challenge… the idea was to create essentially a cinematic score that was informed by pop culture in a way. If you listen to the production, for example, it’s modern production. It’s not produced like a traditional cinematic score and yet it functions as a cinematic score. It’s oddly familiar but at the same new.
MTV: How so?
Hadju: The instruments are not the same, the way it’s mixed is not same, where the frequencies live is not the same. Sometimes when traditional score composers make music that has a rhythm to it and sounds like it’s related to pop culture, it’s not successful because it doesn’t feel real, so the goal here was to create something completely visceral and real and grounded in culture that is understandable and at the same time is completely cinematic. It’s like a genetically altered creature or something.
MTV: What recurring instruments or sounds did you incorporate into the score?
Hadju: There is my voice that’s laced throughout the film – lots of breathing and human vocal stuff. That use of the breath and human voice is laced into the track, it’s not like you necessarily hear at the front. A lot of the tracks are breathing, actually. There’s a lot of guitar- layers of guitar and lots of samples, layers of samples. Layers of drum samples layered over other drum samples that are moving at different rates so they’re punctuating each other. It’s almost like writing a track and then sampling it, and then re-putting it on top of itself, so it’s like writing a letter to somebody to somebody and then writing a letter on top of it – it kind of has this depth to it. If you look beyond the beat there is something else interrupting it.
[There's also] a cello sound that’s distorted so heavily it sounds like a distorted sound but that at one time was a cello. It’s about these sounds that as they’ve evolved they’ve degraded and become something new.
MTV: What attracts you to working on genre films?
Hadju: They’re very culturally relevant. … they’re on the tip of culture and what’s immerging from the culture space. This apocalyptic view is in the air, so to speak. Melding that with technology, really high-end 3-D technology and layers of noise is really kind of an interesting idea, and then the human voice.