An Interview With Composer Eric Elick

Eric Elick (1)An Interview With Composer Eric Elick

UKHS – How did you get into this and at what point did you realise you wanted to be a composer?

EE – It all started December 18, 1998 around the time my older brother purchased an Alesis QS6 keyboard and started making music on it. It looked fun so I decided to try my hand at it and I started experimenting and found that I really enjoyed it! I decided to learn the piano after having recurring dreams of playing Blood Roses by Tori Amos over a period of a few months. I composed and produced music and albums since that time, even majoring in music in college for a couple years, but renewed my gusto and drive to really go after making a career in music in 2014 when I had the opportunity to score the 2014 short “The Tour” directed by Damon Rickard and Alex Mathieson. The rest is history!

UKHS – If you weren’t a composer what would you be?

EE – I would be a medical speech-language pathologist! Wait, I already am one! 😉 Aside film composing I have studied many other fields and I am qualified to be a medical speech-language pathologist, Spanish teacher (in a private institution), Spanish interpreter/translator, manager, and even a private investigator field agent! I love to learn and I think it’s important to have diverse skill sets, you never know when you might need them! My ability to work in various fields ensures I have income coming in to where I can live comfortably and it allows me to be more discerning in deciding which film projects with which I get involved.

Album Cover - Seize the NightUKHS – In terms of composing, who inspires you and which scores do you love?

EE – Well first and foremost I will have to mention Tori Amos, although she’s not a film composer, she is THE composer that inspired me to become a musician which allowed me to eventually find my way to film work. She is a wonderful artist and I have been listening to her music since the early 90’s. Although I don’t listen to her as regularly as I used to in the past, I will always be grateful for her music that played a critical role in my life. As for film composers who inspire me, I love James Horner, Alexandre Desplat, James Newton Howard, John Debney, Fernando Velazquez, Carter Burwell, Bernard Herrmann, and many more..the list can get really long! Among all of the living film composers out there currently, I would say my favorite is currently James Newton Howard. My favorite soundtracks have been: Aliens, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1, Lady in the Water, Dream House, El Orfanato, The Finest Hours, Psycho, the list can go on and on… Willow, Conan the Barbarian, To Kill a Mockingbird, Forrest Gump, Julie & Julia, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Stargate, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe, Edward Scissorhands, Pirates of the Caribbean, Lawrence of Arabia, The Dark Crystal, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, A Beautiful Mind, Maleficent, Poltergeist, etc.

UKHS – What is the piece of music you are most proud of?

EE – That’s a very difficult question to answer for me, so I will simply say I am proud of them all, because they all reflect me at various stages of growth as an artist… even the first ditty I ever wrote on the piano which you can find on my SoundCloud if you dig deep enough. They reflect who I was at the time they were created and all of those life experiences that were influencing me at the time culminating in musical form. If I had to pick one, I would pick the latest piece of music I’ve done, the STAR TREK BEYOND trailer music I redid, because with every music cue I do, I always work to make it the best I can at that stage of my development and I do my best to stay present in order to enjoy every moment in life. I love all of my film scores and hope to have the opportunity to release them all to the public at some point. We will have to see how the official soundtrack for Seize the Night directed by Emma Dark does!

STN_PosterUKHS – What would be your ideal composing gig?

EE – My ideal composing gig is to work with directors who are passionate, easy to get along with and receptive to feedback, that recognize the importance of score in a film, understand the importance of marketing for everyone involved in a project, and just plain good friends. That’s my idea of an ideal composing gig. 🙂

UKHS – Do you ever feel you are type-cast as a composer? Do you think this might be a problem for some composers?

EE– While I LOVE that the horror community and directors have opened their arms to me, I do not consider myself a horror film composer specifically, as I compose music in all sorts of styles and now since moving to Los Angeles other types of film projects are starting to come in (e.g. Visitation directed by Austin Smagalski is a drama, and I’m currently in talks for potentially another drama with another production company). If you take a listen to my SoundCloud it will show I’ve produced all sorts of music. Egomaniac was especially satisfying to work on as an artist, because it required so many different types of musical styles from jazz to mariachi to EDM to introspective piano music to traditional orchestral scoring and so on! I would love to have opportunities to score more science fiction and action films as well!

UKHS – What are the main functions and goals of soundtracks and film music and how would you rate their importance for the movie as a whole?

EE – I believe the main function and goals of film music is to tell the story, but through emotions. The score suggests what the viewers should be feeling, or at the very least create an environment that allows the viewers emotions to naturally be augmented. There’s all sorts of creative ways to use score in film. Film scores outline and highlight the emotional trajectory of the film as well as each individual scene. Scores can also be helpful to augment performances where actors may not be emoting enough, or clearly enough. You can even fix or diminish editing errors with score. Some directors have told me they value the score and sound as 50% of the film and the visuals the other 50%, and I would have to agree with this! Sometimes it feels as though score comes as an after thought, but directors should really get a composer involved in the pre-production stages! Composers can be useful here as well with developing score concepts concurrently even as the film itself is being developed.

UKHS – Scores can either exist entirely of original material or temp-track music. Are these two approaches equal or do you feel as though a soundtrack written especially for a movie is always better?

EE – I would say score written especially for a film is usually always better, unless a scene calls for a certain style of music that may be better achieved through licensing of an already existing piece of music. Sometimes it’s just a perfect fit. The problem with temp tracks is that typically the editors/directors get VERY attached to the music and then anything that deviates from the temp track will sound “good” or “right” to their ear. Temp tracks, or should I say “temporary tracks,” can really put the composer in a box and limit what they can bring to the table and in some unfortunate cases relegate them to the role of a technician to recreate the temp track! In those cases it is advisable for the composer to encourage the director to just license the temp track and avoid that entire difficulty altogether. In my opinion the best way to do temp tracks is to hire the composer who will be scoring the film to do the temp tracks which is another reason why it can be important to get composers involved prior to the final edit.

UKHS – What’s next for you?

EE – Hopefully a successful launch of the Seize the Night official soundtrack which is currently available for pre-order and will be available on iTunes and all major online music distributors on August 5, 2016! So far the response has been incredible! After that, Horror Channel’s Fright Fest 2016 in London for the world première of Egomaniac directed by Kate Shenton! I am very excited to finally be able to meet so many people I have only known and worked with via social media! I will be scoring Emma Dark’s next film which should be announced very soon! I can’t wait to work with her again and she was a director who really allowed me artistic freedom and communicated her clear vision for music, but also open to new ideas about score. She is excellent about allowing her cast and crew to do what they do best. Her marketing skills are also second to none. Emma and I were in tune with each other from the beginning and she was fantastic to work with.

Kate Shenton also was very open to new ideas and was a pleasure to work with. You’ll be hearing more of my work with Damon Rickard’s new film “Dissociative” as well as Alex Mathieson’s “The Jitterman”. I could go on and on about how great these directors are but I’ll have to just say that I have been very lucky to work with so many talented and genuinely wonderful people who just happen to be directors! I have just signed on to also score “I Baked Him a Cake” directed by Vanessa Ionta Wright and written/produced by Samantha Kolesnik. There are some other unannounced projects that will be coming out in the not-so-distant future and I am currently in talks to potentially work on new projects which will be announced later this year if they work out. You can follow my career on all the major social media sites.

Thank you so much for this interview, it was a pleasure!

Eric Elick

www.ericelickmusic.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/EricElickMusic

 

strip light photo credit to http://www.michaelmknight.co.uk/

Emma Dark’s horror short Seize The Night now available to watch

Horror lovers will be pleased to hear that the highly anticipated vampires vs werewolves action-horror hybrid SEIZE THE NIGHT is now available to watch online, for free!

STN-Emma-Dark-as-EVA-02SEIZE THE NIGHT has been one of the most talked about short films on the independent horror scene over the past year. In its time on the festival circuit the film has won creator Emma Dark an MMBF Rising Star award at Ireland’s The Yellow Fever Independent Film Festival, garnered favourable reviews from a multitude of respected genre websites including Dread Central, Starburst and UK Horror Scene, and featured in comprehensive national print articles in the UK’s leading horror magazine Scream, and indie filmmaking favourite Digital Filmmaker Magazine. Wearing many hats on the project up-and-coming female filmmaker Emma Dark both Produced, Directed and edited the film, as well taking a starring role.

The plot revolves around renegade vampire assassin Eva (Emma Dark) who’s recently escaped from a secret bio-research compound and is hell bent on taking revenge against those who put her there, including a pack of werewolves led by alpha Tobias (Carey Thring), and a secret government faction known only as Cable 9.

SEIZE THE NIGHT’s ambitious fight scenes were coordinated by semi-retired Hollywood stunt man Roy Scammell, who amongst a plethora of credits is responsible for fight coordination and stunt work on many of the James Bond films, Alien (1979), A Clockwork Orange (1971) and Superman (1978). The film is further enhanced with digital visual effects from up and coming VFX artist Davy Simmons and a unique score from US based composer Eric Elick.

Emma had this to say about the film’s release “After a very successful stint on the festival circuit and a lot of media and critic support it’s finally time to press the button and unleash SEIZE THE NIGHT upon the world! Myself and my cast and crew have put an absolutely incredible amount of work into the film so I do hope it’s well received, and that it does it’s part for raising awareness of female directors and filmmakers in a typically male dominated space.

There’s more to come with a limited DVD release for those who want to have their own copy of the film, and a whole host of behind the scenes extras I’ll be posting up over the coming weeks. Until then I hope everyone enjoys watching SEIZE THE NIGHT.”

The film can be viewed here:

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A little more about Seize the Night

Synopsis:

After escaping from a secret government bio-research compound renegade vampire assassin Eva (Emma Dark) is hell bent on revenge. Receiving a tip off from the mysterious Dante (Anthony Ilott, Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort) she meets with arms dealer Joe (Paul Ewen, Cockneys vs Zombies) who informs her that an enemy is hot on her tail. Eva hunts the hunter and encounters a team of werewolves, led by pack alpha Tobias (Carey Thring, From Hell). During their confrontation Eva learns a terrible secret and is forced into a situation of such gravity she may have to join forces with the devil she knows in order to fight the greatest of all evils.

Top Billed Cast:

Emma Dark (Island of the Blind Dead (2015))

Carey Thring (From Hell (2001))

Paul Ewen (Cockneys vs Zombies (2012))

Anthony Ilott (Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort (2014))

Mark Sears (Essex Boys: Law of Survival (2015))

Notable Crew:

Emma Dark – Producer/Director

Eric Elick – Music

Roy Scammell – Fight Coordinator

AJ Singh & Donato Cinicolo – Cinematography

Davy Simmons – VFX

Luke Smith – SFX

Steve Bosworth – SFX

Richard Humphries – Screenplay

Full cast and crew credits can be found here:

http://imdb.to/1W3K2TX

Social Media / Website Links:

http://www.seizethenightfilm.com

https://www.facebook.com/seizethenightfilm

https://twitter.com/SeizeNight

http://www.emmadark.com

https://www.facebook.com/EmmaDarkOfficial

 

 

UK Horror Scene Frightsight – Hanging With… Emma Dark

seizethenightHanging With…Emma Dark

Welcome to a new series of video interviews as UKHS writer Tony Sands and his crew hang with talented British folk from across the horror spectrum. They will be bringing a number of interviews across 2016 that will hopefully give you an insight into the UK indie horror scene and you will hear just what it takes to get a project to fruition.

Emma Dark enters The Room to join The UKHS Crew for a chat about her short film ‘Seize The Night’, which she starred in, directed and produced along with having a hand in the writing of. Emma tells us about her experience in making the film, her journey into horror and what she has planned next. We discuss sequels, singing, fangs and make-up. What more could a horror film lover want? Enjoy!!

Seize The Night (2015) Short Film Review

Seize-the-Night-Poster-Web-SSeize The Night (2015)

Director: Emma Dark

Runtime – 13 mins

Starring: Emma Dark, Carey Thring, Anthony Ilott and Paul Ewen.

‘Seize The Night’ is an ambitious horror/sci-fi short from the super talented British independent filmmaker Emma Dark.

After escaping from a secret government bio-research compound renegade vampire assassin Eva (Emma Dark) is hell bent on revenge. Receiving a tip off from the mysterious Dante (Anthony Ilott) she meets with arms dealer Joe (Paul Ewen) who informs her that an enemy is hot on her tail. Eva hunts the hunter and encounters a team of werewolves, led by pack alpha Tobias (Carey Thring). During their confrontation Eva learns a terrible secret and is forced into a situation of such gravity she may have to join forces with the devil she knows in order to fight the greatest of all evils.

STN-BTS-Emma-Dark-promo-photo-by-AJ-Singh‘Seize The Night’ does displays elements of ‘Underworld’ and ‘Blade’ but Dark creates so much more in her own unique way, injecting new ideas that are bursting with energy. It would be wrong to label this as a blatant rip-off because it’s totally fresh! My first viewing of this short was wow! If only this had been a feature?

The first thing that hits you on ‘Seize The Night’ is the stunning score by Eric Elick. The soundtrack will blow you away and it’s up there with any Hollywood movie generating the perfect eerie tone as you step into Eva’s world.

‘Seize The Night’ has a monochromatic bluish look which gives the perfect sinister atmosphere. Along with the impressive visual effects, a nice backstory and interesting characters, this short will keep you hooked right to the end. Dark as Eva, looks a little too cute at times to be a bloodsucker until she gets those teeth out and displays her excellent combat skills, making her one total badass!

STN-BTS-Emma-Dark-and-Paul-Ewen-on-set-photo-by-AJ-SinghThe action scenes were coordinated by Roy Scammell (Alien), which all look outstanding on screen and exciting to watch. The film is now hitting the festivals so if you get a chance to see it please do!

The only thing I found wrong with ‘Seize The Night’ is the fact the film is way too big to just be a short. Dark leaves you wanting much more but overall ‘Seize the Night’ is a fang-tastic short! A film you can really sink your teeth into!

8/10

https://www.facebook.com/seizethenightfilm/

https://twitter.com/SeizeNight

An Interview with Emma Dark by Dean Sills

edark7An Interview with Emma Dark by Dean Sills

*Please welcome Emma Dark to UK Horror Scene. *.

UKHS – Thank you for your time, Emma. How did you get into acting and modelling and what is it about the horror genre that you enjoy so much?

ED – I’ve liked the dark, the macabre, the sinister – horror – from a very early age. I think I naturally have a disposition for horror in all truth but I’m sure my dad working as a butcher throughout most of my childhood years must have added to that. As a child of three or four I used to ask to go in the walk in fridge in the butchers shop to see the animals. Not in a particularly grim way, I wanted to see if any of the animals still had heads on and stroke them, OK that sounds quite grim doesn’t it? Anyway, what I’m trying to say is I don’t particularly see the macabre as something as grim as perhaps those who are not horror fans, and I’m a Goth essentially so it’s all about beauty in darkness at the end of the day.

In terms of modelling I fell into that when I joined a photography meet up and they had assumed I’d joined as a model and not a photographer. For my age and the genres I’ve worked in I’ve been fairly successful but it’s not very cerebral in truth which is why I tend to favour acting and filmmaking.

edark2UKHS – I have seen the trailer for ‘Seize the Night’ and the film looks really good, well done! How difficult was it to make a film like this when you had to take on so much from playing the lead role to directing and producing the film?

ED – It was very difficult. I often worked until very late in the evening most days and even on Christmas day, literally for months on end. I’m still working hard on it with the promotional materials and festival submissions and everything that goes with that. Of course I’ll be attending as many screening festivals as possible too. A film as complex and ambitious as Seize the Night is a tough call on tight timescales and a low budget. However as you may have guessed I’m up for a challenge and I’m not beyond throwing myself in at the deep end. Despite the complex nature of a fast paced action short like this both myself and my cast and crew put 100% and more in, working well together, maintaining a high level of commitment, and I believe that speaks for itself in the result. It does look slick, it does maintain a high production value throughout and more importantly I hope it entertains people and leaves audiences wanting more.

edark8UKHS – You play Eva in the film. Can you tell us a little about her? Who did you base your character on and how much of the real you did you bring to the screen?

ED – The greater world Seize the Night is based in sees all mythical creature (including vampires and werewolves) having been created by early forms of scientific experimentation, hundreds of years ago. These creatures are separated off from human society for their own protection. Although they don’t mix each type of creature has they own military unit of protectors who essentially keep their existence hidden. We don’t see this backstory in the short, all we know is that Eva is a vampire assassin. Holding this responsibility to protect her vampire species for literally hundreds of years has made Eva guarded in the least.

The humans having later rediscovered these creatures have been capturing vampires and werewolves for their own experimental purposes, one of those captured was Eva. She managed to escape but really doesn’t recall her time
spent in captivity clearly. It’s pushed her over the edge, she’s now essentially renegade, she won’t follow orders and kills anyone who gets in her way. She’s lost trust in herself and those around her and she’s putting her own kind in further jeopardy.

There’s a lot of me in her yes. Not from the extreme lack of trust, anger management issues or the sense of tipping over the edge, but I’m a pretty fearless no-nonsense kind of person and that really helps with this kind of role.

edark5UKHS – Ok, lets talk about ‘Island of the Blind Dead.’ It’s a fan film created to celebrate the 1971 Spanish cult classic, Tombs of the Blind Dead. You filmed ‘Island of the Blind Dead’ in Corfu, Greece. How did this all come about and how long did it take to make this 3 min short?

ED – To be perfectly honest this was purely a ‘for fun’ kind of project although it’s been really well received by both audience and critics alike. If half of the trip to Corfu hadn’t meant being trapped indoors while storms hit outside it might not have happened, certainly not in this way. Originally the costume was brought along simply to catch some test shots along the beach. However having some time to think and plan a script on our hands myself and fellow indie filmmaker Merlyn Roberts approached the local amateur dramatic society and asked if they wanted to get involved. St George South has a strong film history with the iconic James Bond film ‘For Your Eyes Only (1981)’ having been filmed there, most famous for the dune buggy scene.

The local actors really got behind the project and we just took it from there really. I have to say we were completely unprepared equipment wise, I literally had a compact consumer camera to film on, however if anything the reduced quality only added to the realistic retro effect. Obviously I also aged it in post, paying particular attention to both the original series and other films of that time and taking note of colour, film quality and fonts used. Actually shooting it only took a couple of days and I have a lot of extra footage I might compile at some point too.

A little piece of trivia for you, I later discovered my Seize the Night fight coordinator Roy Scammell did the stunts for For Your Eyes Only in St George South, so a strange little connection there!

edark1UKHS – What would you consider to be the three main ingredients that you need to make a classic horror flick?

ED – It really depends, what I consider key is probably not what the general movie going audience would. I’m not really one for jumps, gore and screaming women for example. OK, I know doing a homage accurately for something like the Tombs of the Blind Dead series obviously would include two of those elements in the minimum, but for me personally it’s not my key formula. I like a good horror film to have beautiful cinematography, a sense of dread and a great storyline. Most of my favourite horror films have a sci-fi or thriller element as I find those are the films for me that break the traditional mould. Women are stronger, it’s more about what you don’t see than what you do see and there’s a stronger sense of all encompassing doom.

Of course many of the older Italian Giallo and Mediterranean horror films get away with more blood, screaming women and slasher killers as often the cinematography is very well executed and backed up by interesting storylines, often creating works of high quality and beauty despite having been relatively low budget films of their time.

edark10UKHS – Finally, what’s next for you and where do you see yourself in five years from now?

ED – Five years from now I have no idea, apart from putting as much effort in as possible to push my name and work out there it’s really both about public perception and reception of myself and my work that will decide that I think.

Regarding my next projects, I have a few things in the works, including starring in a faux snuff film by cult indie director Dan Brownlie alongside scream queen Jessica Ann Bonner. I’m looking forward to that as I get to be rather sadistic. I also have Fragments of Fear segment to make for horror entrepreneur Richard Gladman. It’s a sort of horror Jackanory story series and features horror greats such as Caroline Munroe and Francoise Pascal among others.

I have my own plans for continuing Seize the Night but I’ll not be able to finalise those until I have a funding plan in place.

UKHS – Thank you for your time, Emma and good luck with ‘Seize the Night’ and your other projects!

IMDB – http://www.imdb.me/EmmaDark

Website – http://www.emmadark.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/EmmaDarkOfficial

Twitter – https://twitter.com/EmDarkOfficial

YouTube – http://bit.ly/1O5w3aV