Interview

Interview

Exclusive: Director Scott Derrickson on the Sounds of 'Sinister'

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Sinister scored big last weekend at the box office, and for good reason: it's seriously scary, in all the right ways. (If you haven't had a chance to see it, be sure to catch it this weekend, and beware of mild spoilers below.) When I first saw the film at Fantastic Fest, I was haunted by the amazing score by Christopher Young (Hellraiser) and the unsettling sound design by Dane Davis... and although I didn't know it at the time, an assortment of original music by many experimental bands and dark ambient music artists. Director Scott Derrickson has revealed to us that impressive lineup, and how he discovered them.
 
FEARnet: How did you arrive at your decision to use existing tracks from experimental bands for certain scenes?
 
SCOTT: I decided very early on that I wanted the Super 8 films to play full screen with music. I spent several long days, a little less than a week, I think, searching online for scary, atmospheric tracks that could set the tone for the films. I found the most help in chatrooms about black metal, scary music, dark atmospheric music, etc. The first real find was the band Ulver; it's their track that opens the movie with the “Family Hanging Out” film, and it's a different part of the same track (which is 25 minutes long) that plays during the “BBQ” film. Then I found Andrea Nebel's band Aghast Manor, which has several tracks in the film.
 
Were you previously a fan of any of the other artists?
 
The only band I was already a big fan of was Sunn O))). I'd been listening to them for years. All of the other tracks were new discoveries for me.
 
Christopher Young's score fits well alongside the source cues you collected. Did he get to listen to those tracks before he wrote his own music?
 
Yes, he wrote the score to work around those other songs. I never played him any temp track for the score.
 
Even seeing the film twice, it was hard for me to tell where the music ends and the sound design begins. Were any of the music cues altered or treated during the sound mix?
 
Chris Young and our sound designer Dane Davis worked closely together to integrate the sound design and the score. Because of this, there was never any competition between the score and the sound design in the mix room.
 
 
Scott graciously provided us with a detailed list of the tracks he used, even pointing out the exact scenes where they can be heard, and we've added links to those artists where available, as well as a couple of audio samples that I guarantee will seriously creep you out. 
 
Last warning: POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD...
 
HOME MOVIE SCENES:
 
“Family Hanging Out”: Ulver – “Silence Teaches You How to Sing” from the album Teachings in Silence. Also used during the “BBQ” film.
 
 
 
“Pool Party”: Judgehydrogen – “A Body of Water” from the album Atheistic God.
 
 
“Sleepy Time”: Aghast – “Sacrifice” from the album Hexerei im Zwielicht der Finsternnis.
 
 
“Lawn Work”: Accurst – “Fragment 9” from the album Fragments of a Nightmare. (Very little info out there on this band, but Fragments is still available for sale.)
 
 
“House Painting”: Sunn O))) & Boris: “Blood Swamp” from the album Altar.
 
 
OTHER SCENES:
 
Packing up and End Credits: Boards of Canada – “Gyroscope” from the album Giogatti.
 
 
Appearance of the ghost kids: Accurst – “Fragment 1” from the album Fragments of a Nightmare.
 
Ellison (Ethan Hawke) in the back yard: Aghast – “Enter the Hall of Ice” from the album Hexerei im Zwielicht der Finsternnis.
 
 
Ellison goes up the ladder: Aghast Manor – “Waking Cthulhu” from the album Gaslights.
 
 
Christopher Young's creepy atmospheric score will be available on physical CD October 30th, but you can buy the digital download now at most of the major vendors, including iTunes and Amazon.
 
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