"It Follows" hit theaters widely March 27th of this year, which I had the pleasure of seeing myself. After being astounded by its soundtrack, I decided to do some research on the musician behind the haunting score. Richard Vreeland, AKA Disasterpeace input his influences into the temp score by director David Robert Mitchell on the film, and the results were absolutely shocking. With the music pitch perfect to the film, I decided to discuss Rich's career, including his involvement in "It Follows".
Hello and welcome to Brutal Resonance! It's an honor to have you on this site. Our readers
might not be too familiar with your project, so could you introduce yourself and your musical
Rich - "Hi! I write music under the name Disasterpeace. I scored the film 'It Follows' last year."
I know that you began playing guitar when you were about 17, but what was it that really
inspired you to get into the music field? Was there any single musician that influenced you to
begin playing in the first place?
Rich - "It's a funny thing. I was surrounded by music since I was very young. My step-father was music director of our church, and had a Beatles cover band. My mom sang and played the piano. My sister sang. I think by the time I was a teenager I had a lot of pent up musical energy."
Now, going from guitar to chiptune is quite a transition, but what exactly made you want to
get into producing more electronic based music? Was it for a possible love of video games? And,
if so, was there any one soundtrack that you really, really enjoy?
Rich - "A love of games definitely had something to do with it. That's partly where I found the aesthetic and how I was familiar with it. I think in the beginning, I was getting frustrated with trying to do recording and work with live instruments. It's hard to get a good performance and a good sound, especially when you're nineteen and you have no idea what you're doing. I loved tons of soundtracks growing up, but I don't think I ever made a point of it at the time. But looking back, I can say that there were a few that had a lasting impression on me. It kind of opened me to the possibility of earworms and music really sticking with you. Music like that from 'Chrono Cross', which I heard a lot of when I was like 13, has stuck with me for quite awhile."
Now, you began making music for video games through internships from your college,
putting out soundtracks for games such as "Bomberman" and the such. However, when was it
that you noticed your music was really being noticed? And did you get a bit surprised when you
saw how much people were enjoying your tunes?
Rich - "There has been somebody noticing my music since the very beginning. In some ways that's what gave me the courage and motivation to keep doing it. Ever since posting my very first record on the internet, there were people who expressed a lot of appreciation for it. That really goes a long way, especially for a young budding composer. It made me realize that I did something a bit different, and that as long as I stuck to my guns, I could keep doing what I loved."
You've got quite a selection of OSTs to your name, working on various titles. And, I always
find it interesting to hear what an artist's favorite piece they ever created is. So, what would you
say is your favorite album you've worked on?
Rich - "It's a really tough question. I definitely have a soft spot for albums like 'Level' and 'FAMAZE'. 'Level' was one of my first full-length albums, and has a lot of my proggiest/most minimalistic ideas on it. And I wrote the whole album using my guitar and tablature software, which sometimes looking back I forget. I wrote 'FAMAZE' around the same time as 'FEZ', and while it's another one-hundred percent synth score, and very much an atmospheric album, the style is quite different. I really tried to capture the feel of orchestral/acoustic instruments with that album. I think there are some really nice little pieces on it."
Now, I'm going to fast forward here a bit and get into recent times. You scored the
soundtrack for "It Follows", and it was possibly one of the best elements of the entire film. I
caught a very, very John Carpenter like vibe from the soundtrack; would you say you were
influenced by his work when creating the soundtrack?
Rich - "David created a temp score that used Carpenter references, and to be perfectly honest my exposure to Carpenter's work before that was very limited. I knew he wrote really simple, effective synth pieces for a lot of his films. But I would definitely say since his music is directly referenced in the temp score, that there is definite influence there, however mechanical the relationship might have been."
And, how exactly did you get contacted to do the soundtrack?
Rich - "David played FEZ and liked the music, so he e-mailed me!"
You kind of just broke into scoring films and took a lot of horror fans by storm with your
work. Have you had any other recent offerings to score more films recently? Or has your work
become more noted due to "It Follows"?
Rich - "'It Follows' was the first feature film I've ever been offered that I thought had legs. Since its release I have gotten a lot of opportunities, but I'm very busy working on game projects right now and I've had to turn them all down. That said, I'm pretty picky about what I work on, and a lot of the opportunities were either too similar to 'It Follows', or took me in a direction that wasn't something I wanted to do. A part of me also wants to take a sabbatical soon, so that weighs heavily on my mind when considering projects."
You seem to have perfectly captured every mood and moment that the film provided. How
did you go about creating the emotional attachment the music holds in the movie? Was it hard
capturing the feel for the film at any point?
Rich - "I think David really knew what he wanted, and as a more learned student of horror than I, created a really effective temp score that I used to help me figure out beats and dynamics. Having something to work from really helps get ideas down. Especially when you only have 3 weeks to score the film."
When you saw the final product of the film paired with your soundtrack, were you astonished
by what you were able to help assemble? Or was it just more of a another-day-at-the-office type
Rich - "I was pretty stoked! It really hit me for the first time when we were on the sound stage in Santa Monica, mixing the film on a great sound system."
And, aside from the whole film side of things, do you have anything else in the works that
you can discuss?
Rich - "I'm working on 4 games right now: 'Mini Metro', 'River City Ransom: Underground', 'Miegakure', and 'Hyper Light Drifter'. I've also got an episode of 'Adventure Time' and a short film called 'Loop Ring Chop Drink' coming out soon. I'm also preparing to record a new album later this year, so stay tuned for that!"
I know you produce a lot of different music, but have you ever, or will you ever take your
own, personal music to the stage for live performances?
Rich - "Oh, I already have. I've been playing live since 2007, all through North America. It's not a focus of mine right now though, and I don't want to get dragged into an in-between state. I want to focus on my focus. If playing live is my focus, then you better believe I will put on a big tour! That said I usually make time to do a couple short engagements here and there. I may be coming to LA to do some piano stuff in the fall, but nothing announced yet."
And, have you ever thought about collaborating with other musicians to create songs
together? I could really see you adding a unique flair to anyone else's music.
Rich - "Oh, sure! I have collaborated before. 'Cereal Code EP' and 'Neutralite' are older albums but both collaborations with Spamtron. There are a couple of collaboration tracks with Stemage on my site : http://music.disasterpeace.com/track/cycles-feat-stemage, http://music.disasterpeace.com/track/stemage-60-feat-disasterpeace.
Right now I'm working with my friend Mateo on the music for 'Miegakure'. He's in the band TOTONOKO. I'd love to do a collaborative album sometime, too."
Is there anything else that you would like to add that I may not have covered that you wish to
Rich - "Nope!"
And, I now thank you for your time and wish you luck with the rest of your career!
Rich - "Thank you, sir!"
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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