For the release of CAMERA OBSCURA, Abigail had the chance to speak with composer Steve Moore. Known for his work on several horror films including Adam Wingard’s THE GUEST and the sci-fi horror film THE MIND’S EYE, Moore is one half of the internationally popular synth wave duo Zombi. Abigail spoke with Steve about his process and inspiration for composing the new horror/thriller CAMERA OBSCURA.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Hey Steve, thanks for sitting down with us today! To start things off, how did you and the director initially connect about working on CAMERA OBSCURA, and what drew you to this project?
Steve Moore: Hey Abigail, no problem! Aaron B. Koontz emailed me in January 2015; it was awhile ago, at least 2 1/2 years ago. He was a fan of ZOMBI, and my music. He was really into my score for the movie, THE GUEST, and that was the vision that he had for the movie. Once he reached out, he sent me the script and I thought it was really cool and interesting, and we just kept in touch from there. Things worked out well where I had a break in my schedule and we were able to make it work.
NC: What is your creative process generally like when coming up with a score for films? I know all artists are different – do you focus more on the film’s characteristics, or are there other influences and moods involved in this process?
SM: To me, it feels like a really large collaborative process. I don’t really look at it so much as what I think scenes should be, I mean that factors in, but directors and producers usually always have a say and references that they will send you. Sometimes there’s also a temp score, where they want you to stay in the same general vibe of that, but make it work for the score. So, it depends – with Aaron, he was really open to a lot of my ideas. He really had a very specific sound in mind that we discussed a lot beforehand. And keeping that in mind, he was really open to the music I was writing.
NC: Was there anything in particular that inspired the mood for CAMERA OBSCURA?
SM: I had been working a lot and did a lot of work last year, and while I was working on CAMERA OBSCURA, I had just come off of another movie, and had another movie lined up after that. The main difficulty for finding inspiration, for me, was to get out of the world that I was just in and not get drawn into the world that I was going to be in next month. I think it was really once we had the tonal palettes that Aaron and I had discussed, it was a very improvisational thing, where I would set up a bunch of synthesizers and watch some scenes, play and record to that, and then sort of improvise along to the movie and then structure it from there.
NC: Is there a scene or segment in this movie that you remember enjoying the most, in regards to your creative process?
SM: I’ll try to be vague about this without giving away any spoilers – I think that both of the over the top, gruesome scenes in this film also had to have an element of humor to them; a really, really dark humor. At first it was a little bit difficult to find the right tone for that, but I think we were able to get it. I think it all works pretty well.
NC: Definitely. It’s funny, because when I first saw this movie, I said to myself, “man, this really sounds like Steve Moore did the score to this.” which, I had no idea about. So, I thought it was either you doing this score, or somebody who’s really trying to sound like you (laughs).
SM: (laughs) And the interesting thing there is because it is me, but it’s also me with the consideration of the collaboration between the director, producer and I – all of this factors in. I really like there to be a lot of discussion between the director and I, because ultimately it’s his film. If he’s happy, then I’m happy.
NC: Oh, definitely. And that’s always something that I’ve noticed, too – you can always tell when you’re scoring the movie, but they are all a little different because there are other collaborative elements in there too, which I always think is pretty neat.
SM: Yeah, and I like that. I like getting the new perspectives. It’s fun getting rapport with different directors who have their own ways of doing things.
NC: Do you have other movies in the works that you’re allowed to discuss working on? And is there anything new in the works for your super awesome band, ZOMBI?
SM: There’s a film that’s playing in festivals right now called MAYHEM, directed by Joe Lynch. It’s out in festivals now, and I think that’s all I can really talk about. But yeah, keep your eye out for that, it’s a very fun movie.
As far as ZOMBI goes, we’ve been keeping active – it’s been a couple years since we put out an album, but we’ve been doing a lot of touring. We just got back from five or six weeks in Europe with the band GHOST. We’ve been doing a lot of shows with them recently, which is really fun to play to new audiences. We also have started writing for the next record, which I think we’re hoping for a release next year.
CAMERA OBSCURA is out in select theaters and available on VOD and Digital HD. The soundtrack is also available for purchase at http://itunes.apple.com/album/id1243942393?ls=1&app=itunes