We present an esclusive interview with the composer Paul Haslinger, who worked on the music for Fear The Walking Dead, the Walking Dead spin-ff recently aired on AMC.
The atmosphere in FTWD is slightly different than the TWD’s one, even with the obvious similarities. Could you say you were inspired in some way by the original series to create the right air for this fiction? Or did you start from scratch with your idea?
We made a conscious decision to start from scratch. Different show…different musical approach. That being said, we of course share some psychological qualities with the original show. We aim to be effective in the way music and sound is used in that regard.
The zombie apocalypse has yet to happen in FTWD. What kind of feelings you believe the soundtrack should inspire in the audience during these moments?
Well, the audience is always ahead of the characters as they already know what will happen, but they don’t know HOW things will happen. Much as in the original show, the central theme here is the collapse of civilization, told in a different setting and with a different constellation of characters (the patchwork, modular family).
As compared to the classics, were you inspired by other soundtracks?
While being a big fan of the genre, i try to stay as un-influenced in my musical choices as possible. My inspiration is more an accumulation of ALL the effective soundtracks i ever listened to, and my aim is to find new ways to reach that same effectiveness, which may include using a nod and a wink here and there.
Sometimes in the modern horror movies the music and the audio effects are often overdone and used only to produce jumpscares, rather than to create the right atmosphere and make the audience live the same situation as the characters. How are we supposed to avoid these ploys and create something new?
You have to allow the audience to have some fun, without ever getting too predictable, it is a balancing act. Much like any creative effort, it has to reflect our audience and our time, and support how the stories are told so they don’t feel contrived.
In the choice of the soundtracks, how close was the relationship with the director?
With TV-shows, the creative direction is mostly executed by the show runner, in this case Dave Erickson find here. He’s been wonderful to work with, as was Linda Cohen, our fantastic music supervisor.
Will the music change during the series as the epidemic spreads?
There is only one way to find out!
Do the protagonists have a sort of personal musical them? Plus, did you choose to warn the audience in some way to prevent the attack of a zombie?
I prefer music signatures to full-blown, traditional themes. One of the great opportunities with a TV-series, is that we can develop characters much deeper than any film ever could. As the characters grow and develop with each episode, so does the music reflecting the various stages of that journey.
What about your future plans?
I’m finishing a video game score for UbiSoft (Rainbow Six Siege) and hoping to squeeze in a few music projects before the start of FTWD season 2.