There has never been an original and arguably definitive album solely dedicated to the #HalloweenSeason…..until now.
We got the chance to chat to Sean Keller about his love letter to everything All Hallows Eve, the brand new album ‘The Killer Sounds of Halloween’.
Where did the idea come from for The Killer Sounds of Halloween?
I’ve been making Halloween mix-tapes for friends and family for years and, as the pool of great Halloween tunes began to shrink I started doing odd covers of spooky songs to fill out my mixes. I did TV on the Radio’s “Wolf Like Me” in the style of Love & Rockets (https://soundcloud.com/sean-keller-2/wolf-like-me) and Dolly Parton’s “Drinkenstein” in the style of White Zombie (https://soundcloud.com/sean-keller-2/drinkenstein ) so as I started contemplating this year’s cover around Walpurgisnacht (it’s the beginning of the Halloween season to me) I thought it would be great to make an album full of all originals from “lost” bands. I wanted to create a mixtape with tracks no one had heard before but was couched in the familiar vibe of Halloween songs past.
Was it always your intention to have a blend of music genres on the album?
Yeah, that was part of the original concept. I love genre-hopping both as a screenwriter and as a musician, so this was a way to satisfy my ADD and allow myself the freedom to explore genres and styles with abandon.
What was your favourite track to work on?
The entire album is very personal to me. There is a tendency to call it a parody album and the interstitial fake movie ads are definitely parody, but this album was made with love. I adore these songs. I spent a great deal of time crafting each one from lyrics through musicianship down to production techniques to create vinyl pops and hisses.
But “The Terror at Blood Lake” with Mary O’Neil’s vocals and Natasha Kermani’s violin was really fun to put together. And it’s tangentially tied to my slasher musical SLASHED! As if two different creative artists interpreted the same tragedy in different ways.
Tell us how Amanda Wyss got involved in the project?
I’ve been friends with Amanda for years. She’s a wonderful person and a real delight. I recently cast her in a small SciFi film I co-wrote and produced called THE CAPTURE (on Amazon Prime) and it was such a joy working with her that I couldn’t help myself when I slated a poem called “I’m Gonna Have A Nightmare” on the album. She was a perfect choice and I was very lucky she said yes. Curtis Rx from the band Creature Features played the synth on that piece and I think it came out pretty great.
What other artists have contributed to the album?
Actor/Writer/Director Graham Skipper sings the shit out of “My Halloween Queen”. Two of my Slashed! Castmates, Mary O’Neil and Fayna Sanchez deliver a couple of brilliant performances on “The Terror at Blood Lake” and “I’m the Wolf”. Jesse Merlin does his best horror-host with the opening poem. Chris LaMartina and The WNUF HALLOWEEN SPECIAL folks gave me an incredibly funny an. Director Natasha Kermani plays violin, Sebastian O’Brien shreds a lead guitar track and Joel Martin provided the pedal steel.
But the guitars, bass, drums, synth, mandolin and random percussion was all me.
How long has the project been in the pipeline for?
I’ve been actively working on the album since the end of June and just finished it the day before it went live on Band Camp, but I had been thinking about it since last Halloween.
Is there scope to do more albums?
Maybe. I’m hoping to release the album on vinyl next year (I simply ran out of time to do that this year) and then I will decide if my psyche can handle jumping through the mental hoops to embody the different musical headspaces required for another album of this ambition.
What do you love most about the season of Halloween?
Nostalgia. Halloween makes me feel like a kid. It whisks me back to the autumn nights of my youth in northern Virginia and this album was created to hopefully be a vehicle to deliver that nostalgia to you.
What is your favourite horror film and why?
As a horror screenwriter, I have worked with some of the greats (Argento, Carpenter) and adore horror movies of all kinds, but NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is cinematic perfection. The only film that compares in my estimation is CANDYMAN.
How much would it mean for this to become the soundtrack for Halloween for enthusiasts?
I would be blown away if this album became a holiday staple. It was absolutely the intent to create something that was evergreen, that would play every Halloween just as well as it does the first time. Intent and reality are often far apart for creators, but I feel like I got pretty close to the bulls-eye on this one. I really hope others enjoy it as much as I loved making it.