Interview: Guitar legend Slash discusses the production and scoring of horror film The Breach

If you think of the most famous guitarists of all time, Slash probably ranks somewhere in the top ten. The legendary musician from Guns ‘N Roses is as recognizable by sound as he is by the hats he wears on stage. A long-time fan of movies, Slash has his own production company and recently produced the horror film The Violation.

Debuting at festivals, The broken is based on the Audible Original of the same name by Nick Cutter. Here is the plot: Counting down his last days as police chief in the small town of Lone Crow, John Hawkins must investigate one last case when a mutilated body with gruesome wounds washes up on the banks of the Porcupine River.

I recently got the chance to chat with Slash about The broken and his dual role as producer and composer. We talked about how he got involved with the project, his favorite horror scores, and what the future holds for him as a producer. Watch our full conversation below.

Alex Maidy: Hi how are you?

Slash: I’m fine, how are you?

IS.: Pretty good. It is an honor to meet you. I would say I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my friend Cory, when he found out I was talking to you, he wanted me to make sure to let you know that my sweet child has one of ​​the most difficult songs for him to play. He is in a cover band. And everyone is demanding it these days. And he struggles with it every time.

Slash: Oh, no way. Sorry. And all things considered, when we first, you know, like when that song we first started playing it live, it was the dreaded song in the set. To me it was like, “Oh, shit, I’ve got to remember how to play that damn riff,” you know? Because yes, I know how to play it. But then when you actually have to play it and you’re like, especially at that time, it was such a damn weird fingering that I used to dread that song. If it’s any consolation.

IS.: I will definitely make sure to let him know. So this movie is right in my wheelhouse for the type of horror that I like. How did you get involved in this project?

Slash: Rodrigo Gudino, director. He contacted me, he and I have been friends for many years. And he contacted me and said, he has this script that he’s just been working on. And it was from a story by Nick Cutter and what I would be interested in reading it. So I said, Yes, send it to me. And I really liked it. It had all these fantastical sort of elements that I really appreciated, as far as horror movies go, it’s kind of a sci-fi and horror deal. And Cabin in the woods bloody meetings Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Anyway, so I thought: Yeah, this is great. And he goes, I’m really considering going for this. And then we teamed up with Andrew Hunt and Michael Paszt. Anyway, it went from Ravens Banner productions and managed to get this thing financed. And then when we had it done, and it’s a funny thing, that’s when we finally got it into our production schedule, everything lined up, and then the pandemic hit. So we had to make it against all odds.

IS.: When it comes to horror, there are so many different subgenres. You mentioned this sort of crossover between sci-fi stuff and horror, and it’s like an HP Lovecraft meets John Carpenter kind of thing going on there. Is it like a type of movie you’re a fan of?

Slash: Yes. I’m definitely someone who’s more drawn to the creepy, mysterious, and you don’t know what’s next…what’s around the corner or under the bed. I love, I love kind of, you know, I want to say monsters in those kind of supernatural or fantastic movies. It’s something I’ve been drawn to ever since I was a child. When I was little, I started reading really young, and my dad noticed that I had this kind of affinity for all things creepy and scary and what not. So he turned me on to Lovecraft and Poe and Ray Bradbury and all that when I was really little, so I was kind of steeped in that kind of stuff. So anything that has that kind of vibe I’m drawn to

IS.: The same for me. When I was a kid, I started reading those stories and then going into the video store and finding the craziest VHS box I could find and then discovering these things that you might not have otherwise known. It’s not quite the same today because anyone can access anything at the click of a button, they can find these horror movies.

Slash: And it’s funny you should mention the video store because I used to work at Tower Video and it was like 1982 or 1983. So it was at the height of the horror video craze and it was one of the best jobs ever. It will never be like that again.

IS.: Was this a story that creeped you out when you read it? Do you get that kind of experience from watching it?

Slash: I’m more fascinated and amused by scary than scared. I definitely recognize a good scary twist or hook, so that’s what drew me to this script. And it was this ongoing, ominous mystery that didn’t really present it, and the question wasn’t answered until halfway through the final act. So to answer your question, when I watched the movie now that it’s finished, I totally felt what it is that I wanted to feel. And the script did that for me too. But now that the film is finished, it is really effective.

AM: There is a connection, a very important connection in film with music, and different genres of music. Rock and roll has always had a long history of being associated in various sub-genres of horror. It has always been stereotyped that this type of music suits this type of film. So from a musical point of view the music you hear in this movie doesn’t necessarily evoke what you would expect, you don’t have the creepy kind of music and isn’t something you would hear in an old Universal horror movie. How did the music fit into the film for you?

Slash: Right? Well, I started writing it based on the script. And so the main title sequence was definitely a dark attacking tune that was just written on a single guitar at the time. And Rodrigo introduced me to a scoring guy, Aybars Altay, because I wanted to orchestrate this, the sound, but I really didn’t have the energy to do it. Just sitting alone, I needed to work with someone who had, I always work with a scoring composer to bring the ideas to life because I don’t have the patience or experience to sit and do it all by myself. So I ended up with this guy and sent him the ideas and then we went back and forth to build the sound that you get in the title track. So that was definitely something I heard in my head from the beginning. And then the rest of the things that I contributed musically were very specific, tonal things that really only required an acoustic guitar. So I stuck with that idea. And then the composer, Aybars, colored some orchestral stuff throughout the film.

IS: Because I’m a huge horror fan, and watch all the movies that have really made a big impact on me. they also have iconic notes. Thinking about right off the top of my head, some of my favorites are like John Carpenter with In the Mouth of Madness and then going back to what Goblin did with all the 1970s Italian horror films. What are some of your favorite horror movie scores?

Slash: Wow. I mean you mentioned John Carpenter. He is one of the absolute most recognizable. Yeah, you know, but I don’t think I know where I want to go because there are a lot of Dario Argento movies that have great classical scores. But I’ve never really known that certain films have incredible scores, but they’re not, there’s not only composers who do horror as well as other genres that are all great. And they are all individual musicians. Recently there was Hildur Guðnadóttir, who won the Academy Award for Joker, which was a killer score and I’ve never heard anything else she’s ever done. So there are a lot of great movies over the years that all have great scores that were done by someone I’ve never heard of before. Like Phantasm had a great score. There are so many films that have really identifiable scores that are as much a personality to the film as any character.

IS.: Quite. And for you, to be involved in this film, you had several roles. You were an executive producer and you scored the film. Is it something you expect to be more involved in in the future? Or did it just happen to be the right place at the right time to do this particular one?

Slash: Believe it or not, this is the second film I’ve made. I have been in the mix and working on producing films since 2013. I have had so many potential productions fall by the wayside for whatever reason. It’s a tough business. So I guess I just haven’t had much luck. I’ve had a movie that was killer that I actually cast, and a director that failed that I lost funding for, and different things that happened that just prevented things from working. So this is the first one I’ve done since the last one in 2013. But now I have a few others that seem to be turning green and moving on. So I’m really excited about that. Because I really plan on doing this as long as it excites me.

IS.: Fantastic. It has been a pleasure talking to you. I really appreciate your time and congratulations on the film.

Slash: Thanks Alex. Look, it was nice to meet you and also nice to talk to you. And I’m sure we’ll meet again at some point.

IS.: That would be amazing.

Slash: Thank you very much, Alex.

The broken recently premiered at the Fantasia Film Festival. You can read our review here.

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