A musical score can raise a film to a higher level, invoke emotion, passion, tension and tell a story. Known for his horror film scores on such short films as Jeffrey Reddick’s “Good Samaritan”, Chris Notarile’s “Krueger: Another Tale from Elm Street”, Ruben Pla’s “Head” and the cult favorite series “Five Nights at Freddy’s”, composer and actor Chris Lott (Soundcloud – Scripted Eyes) is a man with the power to make you feel so much with just a note. Chris took some time to answer questions for “The Night Market” about his work, life, horror and more…
TT: So Chris, start at the top for me… Not what got you into music but what film score and/or moment led you down the path to towards working on some of these acclaimed horror projects?
CL:I think the moment that got me into scoring and led me down this path was in 2001 I believe, I got bored one night and made a short horror film called “The Note”. It was shot entirely by myself and I wanted to have it online that night, so that meant I had to score it myself. I was already creating music at the time so I just went in and did it. Little did I know how much fun it would be, that is when I decided to keep going. I started trying to find short films that were needing composers and asked around and so on and so forth until here I am.
TT: Jeffrey Reddick made his name known with the “Final Destination” franchise. He is a brilliant writer and rising director which you in 2014 you collaborated with on his short film the “Good Samaritan”. Where did this project come together for you two?
CL: I had talked with Jeffrey for years on Facebook. I admire him a great deal because for one, he is a very hardworking individual. Two, his story of how he became the writer/director we know today is a fantastic example of how if you just follow your dreams and your heart you truly can accomplish what you set out to do in life. I thought that was great. Plus, he created one my favorite horror franchises. We would stay in touch every so often and he knew I was a composer and I knew of his project, but I figured he already had someone lined up at the time so I didn’t pursue it any further. One day, I sent him a new piece I created and the next day I got a message asking me to give him a call. He explained the project and we went from there.
TT: With a very layered narrative showcases such tension, raw emotion and fright, was this an easy score to work through or does the aspect of realistic horror create a challenge as an artist because of the conflict within the story?
CL: The aspect of realism with this film actually helped me, because of the terror and tension the main character goes through it brought the ideas to me. The score was coming to me as soon as I was watching the film for the first time. I wanted to make sure all of that realism and rawness, you felt it in the score. The story was so deep and horrific that ideas were pouring to me so, all of that as an artist helped me drive the score to where it is.
TT: The score for the “Good Samaritan” is very much a pulse, extremely tense and always keeping you on edge. It is the heart beat for the film and the breaths that barely escape… What was the canvas like for the “Good Samaritan? How much experimentation and evolution did go through to find the right feel for this short film?
CL: Jeffrey had talked about certain styles he was thinking in terms of score and one of them was a very sound design styled score as opposed to a huge elaborate orchestral score. Which was great because that is what was in my head when I watched the film. There was a very short window to score this film. I had only four days to complete the score. The experimentation had to happen quickly. Meaning as I was scoring the film and sending the director the tracks, he would tell me what he likes and don’t like as I was experimenting with another scene later on in the film. I remember using metal scrapes and a distorted lion’s growl for the supernatural aspect of the film. It gave the spirit a very menacing sound which I think worked great. One of things we talked about early on was having a heartbeat that would run through most of the score. It is subtle, but it is in there giving the film a heart so to speak. Jay continues with Part II next week on “The Night Market”
You can follow Jay Kay at @HorrorHappensRS