Best movie soundtrack for a zombie apocalypse
1/5/2018 – Jimmy Synthetic is a UK based electronic musician, and quite a talented one at that. Drawn to the cinematic elements of Synthwave and classic 80’s horror films, he composed an entire soundtrack for a neo-Zombie movie. Yet, the film doesn’t even exist! We thought this a pretty cool idea, so we reached out to Jimmy about the project.
The album, Swarms of the Damned, stands on it’s own merit musically. The concept album format really draws a great linear experience to the record, you can still listen to a single without missing the rest. Think about a video game analogy; You can complete the main story or go off on a side quest. Gratifcation may be deeper when you beat the game, but side quests can be a lot of fun!
Slickster – Is swarms of the damned actually an OST?
Jimmy Synthetic – Sadly the Swarms of the Damned movie doesn’t exist outside of my head! The whole concept behind the album was that It was a soundtrack to a forgotten straight-to-VHS 80’s zombie flick. In my mind it would’ve been a terrible, low-budget movie riddled with cliches but with a great atmospheric score. It’s probably a bit ambitious to do that for my first album but it did help me focus when composing the tracks. The track list is in order of how the scenes would appear in the movie so it’s essentially a synopsis of the movie without any grammar.
Slickster – So take us through what was happening in the scene, ‘Hicks Ridge, Ohio’. It’s great track, and almost seems like a love scene of sorts.
Jimmy Synthetic – I was going for a Summery Synth-pop vibe with this one and it’s a deliberate contrast in tone to the rest of the album. It starts off with the sound of a motorcycle starting up and driving off and I imagined a scene following the main character as she drove it through this picturesque town. She drives past the residents as they lived the American dream in slow motion and the whole scene is filled with 80s cliches – Mullets, shoulder pads, Ghetto blasters and someone driving a Pontiac Trans Am. It’s a love scene in a way because she’s in love with the town she lives in but everything changes as it transitions into the next song, “Outbreak”, which uses the same melody but with a much darker tone. Thats when the Zombie shit hits the fan!
Slickster – Track 7 is titled, “They ripped Billy’s guts out…” Who was Billy and can you describe what is happening in this scene?
Jimmy Synthetic – A friend of mine said that this is the song title equivalent of clickbait! I never intended it that way, in fact its a reference to the movie Starship Troopers. There’s this great scene where Michael Ironside’s character says – with a completely straight face – “They sucked his brains out!” I wanted the Swarms of the Damned movie to have that kind of cheesy dialogue so that’s where the name came from.
Billy is the main character’s boyfriend and he was doomed the moment he got separated from the rest of the group. Even though he’s a jock in a letterman jacket he’s easy pickings for a group of crazed flesh eating monsters! The song is essentially in two parts a slow build-up as the zombies approach and surround him. The melody kicks in as they slowly tear him apart like he’s made of cookie dough! His body is discovered later and thats when the song title line is delivered really terribly, in true 80s budget-slasher-movie fashion.
Slickster – Are there any plans to ‘flesh out’, pun intended, the screen play for Swarms of The Damned?
Jimmy Synthetic – I actually started writing a screenplay for it. The idea was to include the first scene as a bonus download for people who bought my album on Bandcamp. I wrote about 3 pages of truly lame dialogue but gave up pretty quickly as I realised just how hard it is to write a script and I thought it’s not really something people want when they buy an album. I’m happy for it to be stuck in my head to be honest, but if Sam Rami or Guillermo Del Toro came up to me and said “I really want to make Swarms of the Damned” I wouldn’t stand in their way!
Slickster – Your music focuses on strong, recognizable melodies. How do you write them? Do they come first and foremost or secondary to something else?
Jimmy Synthetic – The melody is always the most important part for me so I generally try and nail that first in all of my tracks. One of the reasons I love synthwave so much is because it is very melodic and cinematic – I think that is missing in other genres of Electronic music. I never really got Dubstep or EDM, to me it sounds like they’re too focused on sound design and buildups. Melody is where a song’s emotion comes from.
Slickster – In the event of a Zombie Outbreak, do you consider yourself as one of those who would be able to survive?
Jimmy Synthetic – That depends on the type of Zombies. If they’re the 28 Days Later fast-running “Infected” then I wouldn’t last 5 minutes. But if they’re the type that you could outrun just by strolling at a leisurely pace then I should be ok. I have several years experience building Ikea furniture so I’m pretty sure I could construct a reliable barricade. I actually think my greatest threat in this scenario would be Irritating my fellow survivors with lame jokes and chirpy optimism in the face of impending doom. The minute my “reliable barricade” fails to hold back the hoard they would feed me to the zombies!
Slickster – Ok, let’s say you make it, and it’s up to you repopulate the earth. Which 80’s bikini models would be the actresses in Swarm’s of the Damned?
Jimmy Synthetic – Ah now we’re talking! When you say 80’s bikini models I instantly think Cindy Crawford and Christie Brinkley, but If could cast anyone it would be Kimberly McArthur, she was a Playboy Playmate (Miss January 1983) and she starred in Slumber Party Massacre 2. The bad guy in that movie inspired part of the cover art for Swarms of the Damned – he was a demonic Elvis impersonator or something and he carried a guitar with a giant drill attached to the neck. The Swarms of the Damned cover has our unnamed heroine wielding a keytar with a chainsaw attachment!
Slickster – Alright, back into reality… How is the synthwave scene in The UK?
Jimmy Synthetic – It’s growing. Loads of great acts from over the world have been touring here and there was a couple of mini festivals in London. One called Retro Future Fest and one called Neon Winter. It’s amazing just how many people share this mad hobby of mine, I’m finding out about new acts all the time. The UK acts that really like and admire are Sunglasses Kid, Kalax, Data Stream and Iversen.
Slickster – Sid Vicious…. most celebrated musician from the UK or most over rated?
Jimmy Synthetic – I’m not sure who our most celebrated musician would be, but I know it wouldn’t be Sid Vicious. None of the Sex Pistols were great musicians and Johnny Rotten couldn’t sing, but they were Iconic symbols of the Punk movement. The Punk scene was never about how well you could play the guitar It was more about a rebellious “screw the system” message. The Sex pistols – Sid in particular – symbolised that perfectly, even though they only ever released one album. That’s quite an impact.
There was a really good movie biopic about Sid Vicious called “Sid and Nancy” and Gary Oldman played him when he was relatively unknown.
Slickster – Anything goes! What would you like to promote to your fans?
Jimmy Synthetic – Right now it’s still early days for me so I only have Swarms of the Damned to promote, it’s available on Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play/YouTube, Amazon, Pandora, Deezer, Tidal, YouTube, Microsoft Groove, ClaroMusica, Saavn and MediaNet.
You can also get some Jimmy Synthetic merch from Rebubble https://www.redbubble.com/