Matthew Llewellyn continues to sneak onto the film and TV music scene. His latest project is the Lifetime TV-movie "The Murder Pact," a thriller based on the classic Edgar Allen Poe story "The Tell-Tale Heart." For the movie, Matthew composed an entirely electronic score, as well as the theme song "Deadly Romance," featuring SPELLES.
AXS conducted an e-mail interview with Matthew to discuss the creation of the album, including his decision to nod toward the film's source material by including the sound of a heartbeat within his songs. That was the first thing he focused on, and he told us that it ended up being a trickier undertaking than he thought.
"The heartbeat, which is mostly percussive, morphs throughout the score as the film progresses," he said. "Sometimes it appears as percussion, other times as a synth pulse. I felt that it was important to keep it fresh with each appearance, to make sure it’s not intrusive."
It was important to him that the music reflect the rich and affluent world of the movie's main characters; he wanted to create tracks that audiences could imagine the characters listening to. Looking for something sleek and fresh with a hint of attitude, Matthew achieved that feel with synth pulses and echoing percussion, and if you listen closely you can hear the resulting beat actually deterioriate in the later songs, reflecting how the characters' guilt at their crime overwhelms them.
The Murder Pact was a different type of album for Matthew, who normally creates orchestral scores on previous movies like the holiday flick "Wishin' and Hopin'." Describing himself as a very traditional composer who relies on melody and harmony, he told us that he spent at least two weeks creating and compiling sounds to use for this record. Even as he was creating, he'd sometimes go back to already-made pieces and add in sounds that he'd discovered days later.
As for creating the theme song, he had a pre-existing friendship with SPELLES and she was his first choice when he needed a vocalist. "It was a truly collaborative process; I focused mainly on the music while she focused on the vocals and the lyrics," he explained, telling us that they sent ideas back and forth for several weeks before recording "Deadly Romance" with another friend, Bryan Morton.
TV-movies aren't known for their memorable soundtrack albums, but music fans who like their records to have that edge of suspense might find something to enjoy in The Murder Pact. Whether or not you saw the film or even know the original short story, the music generates its own tension and the artificial heartbeat adds an extra spooky touch to the record. It's a fine release to sample as we head into the Halloween season.
The Murder Pact: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is now available on iTunes.
For more on Matthew Llewellyn, visit his official website.