Composer Alexander Rudd collaborates on haunting and beautiful original song for ‘The Gallows’ sequel
Music has always been a leading form in Alexander Rudd’s life. From the time he was a child, growing up in the small city of Preston in the North of England, he loved the feeling that his favorite song would bring. Although nobody in his family played an instrument, he was encouraged to sing at parties. This feeling of being able to create music for those around him to enjoy was addicting for a young Rudd, and he later began to learn the piano and compose his own tunes. He was a natural, and even at that young age he knew that he wanted to turn music into his career.
“I’ve never known anything else. When I started piano lessons at the age of 10, I immediately began making up little melodies and composing pieces. Now as I look back, I realize I never stopped. When I learned that you could make a living out of composing it seemed like the logical thing to do, and besides, I’m rubbish at everything else,” he said.
Rudd is now living his childhood dream as an internationally renowned composer, conductor, songwriter, and music producer. Millions around the world have heard his mesmerizing work, as he has put his outstanding musical touch on many films, television shows, and video games, including the Golden Globe nominated film Stan & Ollie, Liam Neeson’s epic blockbuster Unknown, and the multi-award-winning movie Muse, the last of which Rudd took home the awards for "Texas Renegade" Best Soundtrack/Score Award at the Austin Revolution Film Festival, Best Original Score at the Horrorhaus Film Festival, Best Score at the Sin City Horror Fest 2017, and Best Choons (music) at The Toscars, and was nominated for Best Score at FilmQuest 2017.
"I worked with Alex on a series for the BBC and his work lifted my film into a different class. I'm not from a musical background but Alex was brilliant at interpreting my requirements and turning them into music tracks that always delivered exactly what I'd been hoping for, across a huge range of styles and in super quick time. I don't know how he does it. More than that, Alex is brilliant fun to work with and brought loads of enthusiasm to the project despite working under extreme time pressures and changing briefs,” said Victoria Bell, Producer at BBC who worked with Rudd on the show Traders.
Last year, audiences once again got to hear some of Rudd’s original music in the supernatural horror The Gallows Act II. The Gallows Act II is written and directed by Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing, the star duo behind the terrifying original. The Gallows was released back in 2015 and was a terrific little found footage movie that was a huge success. It grossed a whopping $43 million around the world from a reported $100,000 budget. The second installment follows student Auna Rue. When Auna transfers to a prestigious new acting school, she encounters a malevolent spirit after participating in a viral challenge.
“I liked the movie as it brings together an important message about accessibility and vulnerable young people on the internet,” said Rudd.
For the film, Rudd worked closely with score composer Zach Lemmon on the composition of the end title song “The Spotlight Calls” for the highly successful sequel. Rudd has been working with Lemmon for a number of years, co-writing and producing together.
“Zach composed the score to the original film which had been a huge success, so when I was asked to come on board, I knew it would be a great opportunity. Zach and I had already written some songs for some advertisements for the directors, Chris and Travis, and the process had been great. They are both brilliant filmmakers and know what they want but are also very open to trying new ideas too,” said Rudd. “The song is really unique, it’s a sort of mix of ‘Evanescence’ inspired goth rock and Kate Bush. It’s always good when a song in a movie can subtly reflect back to the plot of the film without being too on the nose, I believe we achieved that.”
The Directors Chris Lofing and Travis Cluff also wanted the composers to create two other songs for the movie. Both scenes featured the two leads, played by Ema Horvath (Amazon's upcoming Lord of the Rings series) and Chris Milligan (Australian soap Neighbours), getting to know each other. The characters are striking up a bit of a teen romance in these scenes, but the film itself is a horror film, so Rudd and Lemmon started thinking and looking for songs and music genres that felt romantic, yet dark. After a bit of searching, they finally found their answer: 80's New Wave. They then wrote a couple songs with a New Wave ballad vibe with a dark, crooning yet haunting male vocal with lyrics about how falling in love can feel like you're dying. These songs end up setting the tone for the entire film.
“I loved how collaborative it was working on the movie. We had a good rapport with the filmmakers which is always a good start. I also loved working with Zach. We had the budget to record the songs at Boulevard Recording in Hollywood and recording the band and singers there certainly contributed to the cool vibe of the songs,” said Rudd.
Thanks to fans of the franchise, Rudd and Lemmon’s songs have been listened to all around the world, and Rudd is proud to have been part of The Gallows Act II’s success, and is happy with the lasting partnership he has built with Lemmon. Since working together on the film, he and Lemmon have set up a new publishing label called GLU Music and produce songs with a focus on sync in film and tv. They have a distribution deal with EMI Production Music and Sony ATV.
Listen to “The Spotlight Calls” here.
Photo of Alexander Rudd (left) and Zach Lemmon