Northcote based composer Christopher de Groot has been nominated for Feature Film Score of The Year at the Australian Performing Rights Association (APRA) Screen Music Awards for his unique film score Sororal. This nomination comes off the back of international interest in his work with the prestigious Swedish soundtrack label Screamworks releasing the Sororal soundtrack in July.
Shot on location in Western Australia Sororal, a Nakatomi Pictures production, is currently making appearances at genre film festivals around the world, and will be the prelude to a performance by legendary Italian soundtrack band Goblin at Grimmfest 2014 in Manchester, UK. Inspired by lurid Italian horror films, Sororal lays claim to being Australia’s first giallo film.
A diverse and bizarre film, Sororal mixes a heady whirlwind of genetic experimentation, mind control, and telekinetic power struggles with twisted artworks. Sororal’s heroine, Cassie (Amanda Woodhams) is a troubled artist who tries to make sense of her vivid, violent dreams by committing her visions to canvas.
De Groot reflects on the far-reaching interest in his recent film work:
“The response has been amazing. People who haven’t even seen the film have been tracking me down on social media, asking how they can get their hands on the soundtrack. I’ve had enquires from Italy, France, Brazil and the United States. Some people just go nuts over giallo!”
Although Perth born de Groot has recently relocated to Melbourne to pursue further film scoring opportunities, his work is still being recognised in WA. Sororal was recently nominated for Best Original Music at the 26th West Australian Screen Awards in July. With further recognition coming from APRA de Groot is over the moon:
“I literally got in my car to drive from Perth to Melbourne the week we finished mixing the soundtrack. That was over two years ago, and now I’m nominated for an APRA Screen Award! Pulling off a score of this magnitude with the scarce resources we had was very challenging, I see this nomination as validation for the artistic vision and the process by which we went about it.”
The Score The distinctive sound is comprised of a 10-piece brass section, 16-piece choir, two drum kits, electric guitar, electric cello, a barrage of analogue synthesizers and a Hungarian cimbalom. The score takes inspiration from prog-rock, kraut-rock, as well as Bulgarian choir music, 20th Century avant-garde classical works and classic giallo scores from the likes of soundtrack band Goblin and legendary Italian film composer Ennio Morricone. The score was all performed and recorded in Perth.
Written over the period of a year, de Groot discusses the unorthodox recording procedure:
“Independent film making can be tough, especially when you have high aspirations and want to create a unique sounding score that’s big and bombastic. The scarcity of your resources forces you to find creative solutions though. We recorded the various instrumental sections at different times as the funds came to hand. The recordings were undertaken in four different locations – we then mixed the four elements together. It was Guerilla recording at its biggest and best.”
De Groot performed and recorded all of the analogue synthesizer and guitar parts in his bedroom while the brass section was recorded covertly at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts during the 2012 summer break. The choir was recorded at St Paul’s church in Menora, Perth whilst the rhythm section (the only element recorded in a traditional studio) was recorded at Soundfield studio.
Screamworks Screamworks Records is fast creating a name for itself as one of the biggest independent soundtrack labels in Europe. Screamworks is currently the only record label devoted entirely to horror film scores.
Run by composer/producer Mikael Carlsson, Screamworks and its sister company MovieScore Media was founded in 2005. MovieScore Media has produced over 200 soundtrack albums many of which have been written by up and coming composers.
Mikael Carlsson outlines the initial motivation behind setting up his soundtrack labels:
“I had begun to experience a certain amount of fatigue towards mainstream scores, the ones you hear in big budget blockbuster movies. I was always looking for interesting music, and in my experience they often came from smaller films and, quite often, from unknown composers.”
Sororal is currently screening at film festivals around the world. The soundtrack is currently available through Screamworks Records (Sweden).
Press Release. Image courtesy of www.christopherdegroot.com.