Liner Notes by Robin Broos
3 weeks ago
Liner notes (also sleeve notes or album notes) are the writings found on the sleeves of LP record albums or come inserted into the packaging.
So for each release Robin talks to director, composer, … and writes more about the score.
For example here are the liner notes for our first release Yummy!
Yummy (2019) is the first true Flemish zombie movie. But instead of a classical zombie soundtrack, composer Nico Renson wrote a rather atypical score. One that carries musical influences rooted in the Eastern Bloc and lyrics sung in a made-up language.
Lars Damoiseaux and Nico Renson were both students in filmmaking at the Sint-Lukas School of Arts in Brussels, where Damoiseaux graduated in 1997 with a short zombie-comedy called Striker Bob. Renson had written the score and would continue to do so for several short films and commercials.
Meanwhile the latter went on to be a successful songwriter/producer in pop, writing several hit songs under the artist name Bunny. After graduating he moved to London to work in his own studio with artists such as Macy Gray, Anne-Marie, Joachim Garraud, Arthur Baker and the Nervo Twins. He also created the soundtrack of fiction series Chaussée d’Amour (2016, Telenet/VIER) and Generatie B (2017, Canvas). As Damoiseaux prepared to shoot his first feature film, his musician friend was called in to create the soundtrack.
Yummy starts off with a young couple traveling to a cheap hospital to have plastic surgery performed. She is looking for a breast reduction, and her accompanying mother wants to have work done on her face. Once arrived, all hell breaks loose. As the tagline clearly states: ‘Facelifts, boob jobs and… zombies.
Renson tried not to be influenced by the genre itself. “I wanted to steer away as far as possible from clichés and the synth sounds of John Carpenter.” He wrote a dubstep track for the teaser of the movie, but when it became clear the story would be set in a fictional Eastern Bloc country, he quickly altered his course.
“I was inspired by Slavic chants, Bulgarian choirs and Roma music indigenous to the region. Ethnical influences like that are rare in the genre and I wanted to make it a recurring theme in the entire soundtrack. That’s why I brought in my friend from Sarajevo, guitar player Gordan Halajkijevic. A second source of inspiration was the British band Bauhaus. Their somber style makes for an original pallet in a horror movie. The combination of new wave and the ethnical elements really adds to the sinister tone of the music.”
At the same time Damoiseaux didn’t want to refer to one country specifically in the movie, let alone in the music. “I called it Syldavia, as a nod to Tintin. We had talked about setting the story in Poland or Ukraine, but that also meant that the pronunciation of our mostly Dutch speaking actors would have to be on point. Now they speak in a sort of Eastern-European sounding gibberish, made up by my friend Lana Macanovic, who speaks Croatian herself. Her voice is often heard in the movie: for instance, through the intercom.”
Yummy is a very low-budget movie, leaving little resources for the soundtrack. Apart from the Serbian guitar, Renson not only played all instruments himself, he also wrote all music. Even songs heard through the radio on-screen, for example. “Nowadays rock ‘n’ roll songs are often used in scenes like that. But these are existing tracks that cost a fortune to clear. Furthermore, I wanted to keep that Eastern-European vibe alive. Which wasn’t easy, because it doesn’t always add to the tension that’s evolving onscreen. Even the atypical Russian Hardbase in the operating room has its roots in the region. I studied the party culture there: what’s popular in the Eastern Bloc? That’s how I ended up with that hardcore techno. I thought it was funny to put it in. Experimenting with music like that is infinitely more interesting than just copying the classical zombie soundtracks.”
For that matter, Damoiseaux let his house composer do his own thing. “I’m crazy about the horror movies from the seventies, but I don’t like those typical, cheap synthesizer sounds that were the fashion at the time. Furthermore, Nico knows me well enough as we’ve worked together so many times in the past. I made it a point to interfere as little as possible, especially since I already considered it to be a ‘labor of love’. But I just knew: The Yummy score was definitely in good hands.”
Robin Broos (author of The Original Soundtrack)