Interview With Christian Davis, Composer For ‘Behind You’ (2020)

Directed by Andrew Mecham (A Trip To Unicorn Island 2016) and Matthew Whedon (Nameless Days 2020), Behind You (2020 – read our review here) is freshly available from Vertical Entertainment in April of 2020. This supernatural horror movie stars Addy Miller, Elizabeth Birkner, Philip Brodie, Jan Broberg.  Below is the trailer as well as our interview with the film’s composer, Christian Davis.

As The Californer notes, “Davis began his career at Hans Zimmer’s Remote Control Studios, working closely with Rupert Gregson-Williams (Wonder Woman, Hacksaw Ridge),” including films and television series like Sony Picture’s Grown Ups, Columbia Pictures’ Just Go With It, Columbia Pictures’ The Zookeeper and AMC’s The Prisoner. Davis has also worked on Amplify’s Christmas Eve starring Patrick Stewart, and Samuel Goldwyn Films’ Just Let Go. The soundtrack to Behind You can be found on Amazon.

 

PopHorror: Where will Behind You be available?

Christian Davis: It will be available April 17th on all VOD platforms.

PopHorror: Is it harder to write music for a comedy, a drama, or for horror?

Christian Davis: They all have unique challenges. I think the challenge with horror is creating new sounds, sort of re-inventing the wheel. The music’s job in horror is always to keep our audience on the edge of their seats, make them jump. But how do we do that without resorting to the tried and tired sounds of horror film music? That can be really difficult, getting outside the box, find new solutions.

PopHorror: Similarly, do you think it’s more difficult composing music or performing it in front of an audience?

Christian Davis: Performing. I hate performing. I don’t have the nerves for it anymore. I love the control of the studio, to fix and polish a performance before showing it to anyone.

PopHorror: Behind You deals a lot with mirrors. Did the mirror concept impact the film’s score in any unique way?

Christian Davis: Yes. In Behind You, the mirrors are connected to the house. They are a portal to the evil spirit that possesses the house. In our first meeting, [co-director] Andrew Mecham talked a lot about how the house needed to have a voice in the score. So, I started thinking about how to use objects around my house. We have hissing tea kettles, chainsaw engine, kitchen percussion and bowed wood. All this to give the house a voice and also give a unique color to the score.

PopHorror: What’s your favorite scary movie that you’ve been involved with?

Christian Davis: (laughs) That’s an impossible question! I’d say the next one. Every time I start a new film, it’s this overwhelming, panic-inducing feeling. It’s like I’m at the bottom of Everest every time. And then, when I finish a score and see an audience’s reaction, it’s the most exhilarating, euphoric experience. I’m totally addicted to that vicious cycle.

Behind You
Photo: Addy Miller in Vertical Entertainment

PopHorror: What’s your favorite scary movie you weren’t involved with?

Christian Davis: I don’t have a single favorite, but I remember the first horror film I saw. It was Scream (1996). What campy fun! I remember being super scared and looking over my shoulder for days. More recently, I think Get Out (2017 – read our review here) was pretty amazing.

PopHorror: Are there any clichés you try to avoid in music?

Christian Davis: The biggest cliché I try to avoid is repeating or copying myself. I’m constantly on high alert to not fall back into a melody, chord progression or sounds I’ve used on a previous film. I’m working hard to always be evolving, learning and pushing myself to new sonic places.

PopHorror: What projects are you currently working on?

Christian Davis: I’m currently busy on season three of a really fun, adventure comedy TV show called Dwight In Shining Armor. It’s something fun for the whole family to watch during your coronavirus quarantine! Season 3 of Dwight takes us through some darker, scarier stuff with the resurrection of the evil Tovinars, so I got to lean into my horror chops a bit. Besides that, each episode still takes us musically from witchy medieval comedy to magical orchestra to Celtic punk rock. It’s such a fun show to write for!

Behind You soundtrack cover

PopHorror: What’s the best way to start composing music, either for a film, TV series or in general?

Christian Davis: For me, it’s about discovering the Big Idea for the film. That will often include creating a palette to work from, determining what instruments we want to use for the score. I’ll also allow myself to write “bad” music, anything that can come out, just to get the creative flow started. Then, once I’ve got some stuff that I think is working in the big picture, I’ll get more granular and write specific cues.

PopHorror: Who is your favorite composer?

Christian Davis: I don’t have just one, but right now I’m a huge fanboy of everything Marco Beltrami and Daniel Pemberton are doing.

PopHorror would like to thank Christian Davis for answering these questions.  Also, let us know what you think of Behind You!

About wadewainio

Wade is a wannabe artist and musician (operating under the moniker Grandpa Helicopter), and an occasional radio DJ for WMTU 91.9 FM Houghton. He is an occasional writer for Undead Walking, and also makes up various blogs of his own. He even has a few books in the works. Then again, doesn't everyone?

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