[Photo by Kyle Cassidy]
The Master of Horror film has turned his creative mind to music. In the past few years, John Carpenter, creator of some of the most unforgettable films ever made (Halloween, The Thing, Escape from New York, etc.), has released two albums.
Lost Themes I and Lost Themes II are “soundtracks to the film in your head.” On July 9 at the Keswick Theater, Carpenter and his incredible band will be there to play some iconic tracks from his films and cuts off of his new records, like the one below!
Lost Themes I & II are pure symphonic joy for anyone who grew up on Carpenter’s films, many of which he scored himself. Somehow the thundering synthesizers and keyboards feel like something out of the past and present at the same time. The driving tracks really set you up for an emotional rollercoaster that expands your imagination outwardly to explore the story unfolding in your head.
Not only are the albums beautiful to listen to, but they’re beautiful to look at. The artwork for both albums were shot and created by local photographer and geek-about-Philly, Kyle Cassidy.
I had the amazing good fortune to chat with John Carpenter for a few minutes about music, touring, and horror cinema.
When did you first become interested in learning to play music and creating your own?
I grew up with music. My father was a music teacher and it was like second nature. I just picked up a bunch of instruments.
I always wrote music because I loved the Beatles and was inspired by them. I also started because I was scoring my low budget and student films.
How does creating music that exists on it’s own differ from creating a soundtrack for a film?
It’s so much fun! It’s an absolutely pure situation. Writing music is pure joy. I get to work with my son and godson. We have a band. It’s pure joy.
What does your song writing process look like? Do you have a particular place you like to write songs or an instrument you start with?
It all depends. It’s all improvised. Sometimes it’s a chord or a single note or a melody. I typically write at logic pro setup I’ve got downstairs.
Your albums have a very distinct style that is reminiscent of some of your film scores. Do you have plans on adding more instruments or orchestration on future songs? I noticed a bit more acoustic guitar on Lost Themes II.
Maybe, we’ll see.
You’ve used synthesizers and keyboards in the scores for many of your movies and they’ve featured heavily in your two albums. What is it about those instruments or those particular sounds that keeps you interested?
Because you can sound big! I love the feeling you get and the electronic sound.
Do you think of your albums as soundtracks to a film you haven’t made? Do you feel that there a story arc within the music?
Lost Themes 1 and lost themes 2 are the soundtracks for the movie in your head. Get in your car and drive around and listen and you’ll be in a movie. You get to bring your own imagination.
How do you feel about playing to a audience live and instead of sharing your imagination in a darkened theater at a film premiere? Are they similar?
It’s great fun. I’m playing with my son and godson and we recently did a tour of Europe and played in Primavera, Spain. We had a grand time and I’m having a great time at my age playing live shows.
Who would you say are your biggest musical influences?
For rock and roll? The Beatles and Rolling Stones. For soundtracks, it is Bernard Herman , Dimitri Tiomkin, and Tangerine Dreams.
What is one new horror film that we shouldn’t miss?
Let The Right One In. It was the first movie to really reinvent vampires.