Over the last few years, we’ve seen streaming services explode with some of the most incredible, engaging, and exciting original content. From dramas to documentaries, thrillers to comic book adaptations, and some truly astounding genre offerings, these outlets have drawn in viewers in record numbers.
One such show is Hulu’s “Dimension 404”, a black comedy sci-fi anthology series from the minds of Dez Dolly and Will Campos (co-created by Dan Johnson and David Welch). Produced by RocketJump and Lionsgate Television, the series premiered earlier this year and has attracted the talents of stars such as Lea Michele, Patton Oswalt, Daniel Zovatto, Joel McHale, Sarah Hyland, and more, while also seeing sci-fi legend Mark Hamill narrating each episode.
A name that many people might recognize that’s also attached is composer Cris Velasco, who has composed for video games, TV shows, and movies such as God of War, Bloodborne, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, “Freakish”, Grave Shivers, and much, much more.
Today, we present to you an interview with Velasco, who discusses his work on “Dimension 404”, the way he gets his sounds, and much more! Give it a read below and make sure to give him a follow on Twitter!
Dread Central: Rocket Jump are known for not only being wildly inventive but also very playful. What was it like working with them on “Dimension 404”?
Cris Velasco: Other than working with Clive Barker, my time with Dez, Will, and the rest of the Rocket Jump crew, was some of the most fun I’ve had in my professional career. We were able to reinvent ourselves with each episode since this was an anthology. I got to write a big orchestral adventure score, horror, romantic comedy, and even an entire episode of 80’s synth wave. D404 was some of the most challenging work I’ve ever done, but immensely rewarding! Everyone there was also extremely nice. They all pass my “hang” test. Not only do I hope to work with them again, but I’d absolutely hang out with them on a social level too.
DC: The series openly admits to being heavily influenced and inspired by “The Twilight Zone”. Did you look at that series for any inspiration or did you avoid it so as to create something of your own?
No, I specifically stayed away from these types of shows while we were working on D404. While the show may have its influences, it really lives on its own. I wanted the show to have its own identity. These other anthology shows can be pretty dark too. D404 was definitely more on the fun side.
DC: What kinds of freedoms and restrictions come with composing a sci-fi/horror show?
Since every episode was different, there wasn’t really anything I couldn’t do. Horror and sci-fi are the two genres where you get the greatest creative freedom. The guys at Rocket Jump were really open to me trying anything. If it didn’t work, I’d just take it out. But chances are good in a show like this, something that’s already so creative and over-the-top, that I’d have a hard time coming up with something inappropriate for this series.
DC: At what point in the scoring process do you feel like you’re having the most fun?
After the initial “what the hell am I doing here” panic wears off, that’s when it starts to get fun. There’s always a moment when you’ve begun to understand what the project is all about. It then becomes a puzzle of how to elevate the project with music without getting in the way. It’s so creatively fulfilling.
DC: What are some of your favorite patches, instruments, or pieces of hardware to get a great “sci-fi” or “horror” sound?
Over the years, I’ve been able to record my own bespoke libraries. Mostly for horror type applications. I’ve compiled lots of strings and choir fx from these recordings, and they got a workout on this show, especially on the episode “Cinethrax”. For the more synth-based, sci-fi type material, I used a lot of Zebra 2, Diva, and Omnisphere 2. Not only do their synth patches sound great right out of the box, but it’s easy to manipulate and create your own sounds as well. But my very favorite instrument I was able to use on D404 was the theremin. It’s been a bucket list item for me throughout most of my professional career. A little goes a long way, but it’s so fun to use!
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