Newton Brothers Exclusive Interview

Newton Brothers Talk Ouija Soundscapes

My name is Ken Artuz, joining me today are the Andy and Taylor Newton otherwise known as The Newton Brothers. This dynamic duo served as music composers for many horror titles including; Hush and before I wake. The Newton Brothers upcoming musical arrangement can be found in the upcoming supernatural thriller ouija origin of evil. Before the interview, take a moment to view the video posted below. The clip provides insight on The Newton Brother’s contribution for Ouija; Origin of Evil.

Many thanks to The Newton Brothers for taking the time from busy schedules to take part in this exclusive interview. The session was held on Wednesday the 19h of October 2016.; Do you each enjoy horror and thrillers cinema or is the relationship with the genre strictly professional?

The Newton Brothers;

The genre it’s been a really good time. We kinda fell into recently, into a lot of events that led us to work on a lot of dark projects. It’s been a lot of fun, not necessarily not always what we’re looking to do but it’s been kinda fun working in a genre that allows us to explore that different peaks and valleys of emotions, that and fear and fright and everything in between fear and fright, and happiness really.; According to your IMDB record much of the projects you’ve worked on is Horror and Thriller related. How do these genres open up avenues to be more experimental with musical composition?

The Newton Brothers;

I think we’ve been very fortunate enough to work with directors that give us that and I think that allows you to do that, to be creative, build that relationship,  a little bit of trust and also a long rope to hang yourself at the end of the day. 


I think that the kind of films we’ve done lately, they may be promoted as horror films but they’re really centered on a story with a lot of drama especially with Before I Wake. That film had a lot of magic and fantasy elements to it. We do several films that center around several styles of music even though it’s kinda centered in a horror or thriller atmosphere. With Hush which is out on Netflix, you can see we did a lot of electronic stuff so I think that environment  gives it the flexibility to try things that aren’t your typical Horror kind of music. We’re very fortunate to work with directors who allow us to do that. It is said that the music is the defining aspect of a film not only in Horror and Thrillers but in cinema in general. What type of planning goes into new projects, making each a distinct body of work?

The Newton Brothers;

Andy Newton: I think we spend, Taylor and I probably spend as much time talking and planning as we do writing music. Not in a bad way but in a good way. We both talk a lot of the times about the big part of the scoring process. Listening whether it is listening to your own music or listening to the notes from the director or producer or editor and the listening comes hand in hand with the planning. The planning whether it is to take new projects or we’re planning the process of the writing for a new project.

The planning on how we’re going to tackle each project creatively and the projects we want to go after tend to be a big part of almost every day. I don’t think a day goes by that Taylor and I don’t talk about the planning for either new projects or upcoming project that is on us right now.; For Ouija, Origin of Evil contemporary and modern instruments were not used in the film composition. What propelled the use of this unique approach? Was this a method used before on previous projects?

The Newton Brothers;

When you see the movie, it is based on the era it takes place. We wanted to stay true to the time period and not use modern synthesizers. We wanted to build this environment based off of what we felt was correct and what the wishes were from the director. A lot of the tones and sounds you hear we checked with the instrumentation that was available at the time. So rather that using the synthesizer we used a water phone. Rather than using a pad we would use an air conditioner drone. Just some weird noise just playing in the background. We would use that with weird effects and that would allow us to create dread and emotion.; Was it easier to not use synthesizers during this creative process?

The Newton Brothers;

It is actually easier, I would find it easier having the live orchestra. Having the human beings together, that adds to the dynamic which you can still program and work on in fixing with electronics but there’s something more human about all the humans playing each instrument together and to picture that allows for a real emotive dynamic come through in the final sound. I’d almost prefer to work with the live set as opposed to a fully electronic score. I don’t know if that makes sense but that was definitely a great question, though.; Musicians often have a preference between synthesized or acoustic music composition. With electronic music on the rise, it is good to see an emphasis on acoustic instruments used for a score.

Taylor Newton; We’re both pretty balanced in that world I would say Andy more so than me. I’m a little more on the electronic side but he knows as much as I do. It does help out to have that balance to be comfortable with the orchestra or allowing to record with synthesizers.  It works out.; What type of research goes into planning a composition piece? Is there certain genres you’ll listen to prepare for the project?

The Newton Brothers;

Taylor Newton; We didn’t really need to study much with this film or referenced anything we kind of felt. I loved  The Omen and Poltergeist and I grew up watching those movies, stuff from Psycho, Vertigo and all those kind of films. I think we both watched it and knew the direction we wanted it to go. The director he’s also very musical. We got to sit down with him and kind of honed the direction exactly how we wanted it to go. 

Andy Newton: I think that the studying for this particular film was fun to do cause it was more of just going back and watching old movies than listening to the old scores. Us just incorporating what we felt emotionally, what needed to be conveyed throughout the film. 

A sort of an evolvement throughout the film you start to get taken into this family’s world and things begin to occur. I think it was fun to sort of explore the instrumentation and writing of what we were going to do and how to explore how that music to fall apart with what falling apart with what’s falling apart on screen. Not to give away anything but yea, it was a lot of fun.


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