Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Interview with Macabre Musician Spookhaus
Fatally Yours got chance to chit-chat with musician, composer and all-around spookmeister Spookhaus! His varied musical compositions invoke nightmarish landscapes and lurid fantasies. We’ve wormed our way into his rotten core to see what makes Spookhaus write such deliciously dark melodies.
Fatally Yours: How long have you been playing/writing music?
Spookhaus: I’ve been playing and writing music for bout 21 years.
I started playing Bass in a band at about 20 without knowing much about playing music, let alone playing in a band. I had to learn real quick because the band had a bunch of gigs lined up.
I learned how to play music under pressure.
My bass playing led to songwriting. I was naturally artistically creative, so creating bass lines and song structures was easy.
My songwriting led me to the desire to explore playing other instruments: Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Keyboards, mandolin, theremin, drums and of course exploring the art of recording which is widely practiced at The SpookhauS Laboratory.
Fatally Yours: What software/hardware do you use to create your malicious melodies?
Spookhaus: I use old ADDATS on some stuff and I run ProTools and Nuendo on a massive gig hard drive. I still like the warmth of the old ADDATS because the digital information goes to tape.
I have a whole list of gear and gizmos that I keep in The SpookhauS Laboratory, check out my myspace page- myspace.com/spooktunes for details.
Fatally Yours: What interested you about creating music for horror films?
Spookhaus: It all started when I was a small child. I lived in San Antonio Texas and there was a Creature Feature Show that played old Black and White Horror on TV in the afternoons.
My first taste of horror was Ghost of Frankenstein (Universal 1942).
Soon after I became obsessed with Monsters and Horror. I collected Famous Monsters of Filmland and all of the Horror Movie ‘zines.
I drew Monsters, created Monster plays and had a spookhouse in my parents garage in the summer, attracting hundreds of kids from around town.
In my late 20s, I began an obsessive collection of Horror vids and was buying them second hand for cheap.
I was watching hundreds a month, absorbing the soundtracks and actually taping some of my favorite musical/visual moments on a separate tape for reference.
The soundtracks leaked into my compositions and slowly took over my songwriting. I was compelled to write dark music.
Fatally Yours: Which horror movie director would like most like to work with?
Spookhaus: Argento would understand a lot of my musical concepts. So would Fulci.
Fatally Yours: Is there a particular genre type of horror you most enjoy scoring? Zombie, Supernatural, Slasher, etc.?
Spookhaus: I love all aspects of the Horror Genre. There isn’t a movie in this genre that I wouldn’t score. I support Horror in its many forms.
Fatally Yours: Are you open to doing other types of movies? Action, Drama, Comedy, etc.?
Spookhaus: Absolutely…..NOT!! I dislike most other types of movies and my headspace is not in to those types…my headspace is floating in Darkness and Atmosphere. I am Deadicated to Darkness. After all, I am “The Artist of Darkness”
Fatally Yours: Were there any particular scenes from the movies you’ve done that were fairly difficult to score?
Spookhaus: It’s never easy to score any scene. I mean, there are many ways to interpret a scene musicaly. Sometimes silence is best…
Fatally Yours: What do you think is the most memorable horror movie theme?
Spookhaus: It’s a toss up between the creepy simplicity of Carpenter’s Halloween theme and the complicated dramatic classic that is Bernard Herrmann’s Psycho theme.
Fatally Yours: Are there any horror movies that utilized little to no music that you thought were good?
Spookhaus: The Blair Witch Project comes immediately to mind. But Blair Witch didn’t have anything; no special fx, no gore, no lighting or camera work, or cool sets or witches…shit, everyone at the theatre that I seen it at were sayin’ “when we gonna see the witch??”
But the movie was scary without all the extra stuff to make it “scarier”
Fatally Yours: And also do you find that a break in the music or an extended period of silence can help to build suspense and tension in a film?
Spookhaus: I am not a believer in soundtrack overkill. I mentioned silence earlier as one of the scariest sounds in a horror movie.
If a director wants me to score his movie and wants me create a lot of silence in it, then I respect his decision. Hey…and less work I gotta do!!
Fatally Yours: If you could work with any film composer, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Spookhaus: Ennio Morricone. The man is a genius, an innovator that’s willing to explore and experiment with music and sound. We would create some Fascinating Monsters in The Spookhaus Laboratory, no doubt!
Fatally Yours: What is your favorite type of music to listen to outside of film scores and soundtracks?
Spookhaus: I listen to prog metal, industrial bands like Opeth, early Metallica, NIN, Rob Zombie.
Psychedelic, atmospheric stuff like Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream, Jean Michele Jaree.
I dig Johnny Cash, Prince, Beck, James Brown, Alice Cooper, David Bowie and Jim Morrison and The Doors.
I dislike new country and most popular music.
Fatally Yours: Thanks for your time, Spookhaus! You can check Spookhaus out on his Myspace, www.myspace.com/spooktunes.