A great number of micro labels have popped up parallel to the soundtrack resurgence. While Death Waltz, One Way Static, and Giallo Disco do a lot of soundtrack reissues and releases, they’ve also been at work to present new artists working in the the ‘genre.’ Acts like Videogram, Antoni Maiovvi, Metavari, and Espectrostatic — all inspired, in one way or another, by synthy horror and thriller scores. These labels and artists are the next step for those who’ve gotten into soundtracks, but want something that works more as a musical experience, rather than one tied directly to a film.
In order to understand how one takes those retro sounds and turn them into something new (and whether they feel that there’s the possibility of moving beyond those basic ideas), I’ve been speaking with prominent musicians in the field for a series of interviews about the reinvigorated genre. For our fifth outing, we spoke with head of One Way Static, Sebastiaan Putseys.
Established in 2012, One Way Static Records is one of the leading re-issue labels for horror and cult themed soundtracks and was selected by FACT magazine as one of the ‘best labels of 2014.’ They are an internationally-based record label that focuses on releasing high-quality motion picture soundtracks, experimental electronic music from all eras & modern day re-scores on high grade packaged vinyl editions.
What was your initial attraction to movie scores?
Ever since I was a kid I felt a strong attraction to the music that was playing on the background. While others focused mainly on the action I was always clearly aware that the music was responsible for at least half of the experience, even more so with films in the horror genre.
How have you branched out from there?
The music for The Last House On The Left and Cannibal Holocaust were solely responsible for me stepping into the OST business … I had to become involved and make it my mission to get these scores into people’s homes. For me, those two scores prove that the right music paired with the right images can lead to an unforgettable experience.
Are there particular artists which bridged the gap between film scores and more traditional electronic music – Vangelis or Tangerine Dream, for instance?
Obviously Carpenter comes to mind … but, in my opinion, the German electronic pioneers mostly bridged this gap: Tangerine Dream, Popol Vuh, et cetera. Particularly Klaus Schulze, the man’s a genius. We’ll be releasing A LOT of Klaus Schulze rarities in 2018.
So many folks in the soundtrack scene seem to come from a punk or metal background, given how intertwined those worlds are with horror. Was that the case?
Oh yeah, me and my partner Phil came from a total punk and hardcore background, we even used to run the reissue label Reflex Records back in the late nineties that focused on bands like Poison Idea, Government Issue etc. I know a lot of label heads come from a similar background: Spencer from Death Waltz was involved with hardcore in the UK, Kevin from Waxwork used to front metal bands, Cameron from Strange Disc still plays in a hardcore band … funny if you stop and think about it – can’t be a coincidence. There is an obvious link that connects these worlds.
How does one take those influences from horror and genre films, and move beyond them? Is there a point at which they need to be set aside?
I don’t think you need to set aside anything… but as with everything you shouldn’t limit yourself to a particular niche or you’ll be missing out on a lot of good things. This particularly applies to film and music genres.
What’s your opinion on “imaginary soundtracks” – scores for films which don’t exist?
I totally love the concept, it adds a certain dimension, you’re not only making a piece of music, at the same time you’re creating a world, a script/concept that will only live through the music instead of through imagery. The same applies to re-scores: it gives a whole new twist to a film you are familiar with, it almost makes you re-discover something you are really into in a whole new way…it’s like falling in love allover again with something that has been a part of you since like forever. And it pisses of the purists, which is always a big plus for me.
Who was the artist that made you want to start releasing original music, as opposed to soundtracks?
Stepping stone for me was probably The Laze … I heard their re-score for The Phantom Of The Opera (1925) and I was so impressed with this body of work that I just knew I had to release it. Granted, it was still soundtrack related due to it being a ‘re-score’ but this got me exploring the whole concept of releasing original music. Next up was the double saw-bladed Strange Shadows EP from Nightcrawler and now we’re working closely with Nate Utesch on his synth project, Metavari, which is raising more than a few eyebrows (in a good way).
How does marketing or publicizing original music differ from that of soundtracks?
The differences are subtle but yes, it requires a different approach. A soundtrack reissue is all about that particular score and film, the artist is either established or retired, but with original music you need to build up the artist as well as the album.
One Way Static’s latest albums are the Record Store Day releases of Popul Vuh’s Messa di Orfeo and Florian Fricke’s Spielt Mozart.