Zom­bie film song­writ­ers set for big time af­ter be­ing signed up by top agency in Los Angeles

Sunday Mail (UK) - - Lesley Roberts - Com­posers Zim­mer and, be­low, Reznor

It started out as a knock­about project be­tween two pals who shared a love of mu­sic.

Now, a set of tunes writ­ten as a one-off for a low-bud­get Scot­tish film have given Glas­gow song­writ­ers Tommy Reilly and Roddy Hart a pro­file along­side some of the big­gest names in Hol­ly­wood.

The pair were asked by pals to write the mu­sic for a zom­bie mu­si­cal project that few ex­pected to see the light of day.

But the re­sult, Anna And The Apoc­a­lypse, opened last week in cin­e­mas around the UK fea­tur­ing a sound­track of knock­out tunes penned by Tommy and Roddy.

Its stand­out sound­track of bril­liantly hooky tunes has caught the at­ten­tion not only of cinema- go­ers but also agents in the world’s movie-mak­ing hub in Los Angeles. about zom­bies ma­raud­ing through the streets of In­ver­clyde.

Roddy, 39, said: “There’s a sense of us com­ing into some­thing that we couldn’t re­ally dream of when we started writ­ing the mu­sic for Anna And The Apoc­a­lypse.

“Af­ter the film had screened at some fes­ti­vals, in­clud­ing Fan­tas­tic Fest in Austin, Texas, there came a point where peo­ple started get­ting in touch with us about the mu­sic.

“I think the fact that we were un­known, from Scot­land and had writ­ten the mu­sic to Anna And The Apoc­a­lypse, which peo­ple were sud­denly talk­ing about, made it the per­fect storm for us.”

Tommy said: “We just hung out. We didn’t want to over­state our po­si­tion be­cause, when we went to LA, it was just about en­joy­ing it as much as any­thing else. We’re mates – we could laugh and en­joy it.”

But when bosses at the agency of­fered to rep­re­sent them to the top- line in movie- mak­ers, they were laughing harder than they ever ex­pected.

Roddy said: “It’s a bril­liant po­si­tion to be in, be­yond ex­cit­ing, be­cause we get to see all sorts of po­ten­tial projects.”

The pair are bet­ter known at home for other work. Tommy, 29, won the Chan­nel 4 song­writ­ing tal­ent show Or­ange Un­signed Act in 2009, land­ing a Top 20 hit sin­gle – Gimme A Call – and re­leas­ing two al­bums.

Roddy is front­man of in­die band The Lone­some Fire and has re­leased a clutch of solo al­bums, playing with the likes of Kris Kristof­fer­son, Eddi Reader and The Trash­can Si­na­tras, as well as pre­sent­ing on BBC Scot­land.

And while they’ve both had their suc­cesses, nei­ther man was ex­pect­ing their mu­sic ca­reer to take this most un­likely of turns. No one as­so­ci­ated with Anna And The Apoc­a­lypse was ex­pect­ing things to have taken the turn they have ei­ther. Last year, it was signed by in­dus­try gi­ant MGM’s re­cently re­vived sub­sidiary dis­trib­u­tor Orion Pic­tures – famed for Si­lence Of The Lambs, Pla­toon and Dances With Wolves – for dis­tri­bu­tion in the US.

Its reach is al l the more re­mark­able, and poignant, given the death of its orig­i­na­tor Ryan McHenry from cancer aged just 27.

Hav­ing ini­tially put to­gether a short f i lm sim­ply named Zom­bie Mu­si­cal, he sug­gested to his young f i lm­mak­ing mates that he wanted to make a full-length fea­ture.

Although he started the film, he didn’t get the chance to see it fin­ished. Af­ter much de­lib­er­a­tion, his pals set about fin­ish­ing it in his mem­ory.

Roddy said: “When they first de­cided to go ahead and make the film, I was asked to help with the mu­sic. It was such a weird mash-up of gen­res, I couldn’t ig­nore it. But I knew I couldn’t do it my­self. Tommy was the first per­son I thought of that I could work well with on some­thing like this.”

The pair set about writ­ing tunes in 2013, three years be­fore cam­eras fi­nally rolled in the class­rooms, cor­ri­dors and can­teens of the former St Stephen’s High in Port Glas­gow, In­ver­clyde.

Tommy said: “I thought it sounded hi­lar­i­ous so I jumped at it right away. I’d reached the end of my tether with pop mu­sic. I was liv­ing in Lon­don, had run out of money and came home to do a course on sound for the mov­ing im­age. When Roddy men­tioned this, I was all over it.”

Such was the pair’s cre­ative chem­istry that some of the tunes made it to the fi­nal sound­track prac­ti­cally un­al­tered.

Roddy said: “I al­ways found co- writ­ing dif­fi­cult be­fore be­cause it can di­lute ideas. But work­ing with Tommy made things bet­ter. The main thing the songs need to have is hooks – and heart.” Tommy Hooks and Roddy Hart, per­haps? “That’s it,” said Roddy. “Hooks and Hart, at your ser­vice.”

In­spired by leg­endary US song­writer Randy New­man’s Os­car- win­ning ap­proach to pen­ning songs for films such as Toy Story and Mon­sters Inc, the pair’s tunes tell the story of a young girl’s des­per­a­tion to flee a small town be­fore find­ing her­self at the cen­tre of a love story threat­ened by flesh-hun­gry zom­bies.

Tommy said: “The songs had to be singable but they had to be about the story. So we kept say­ing to each other, ‘ This is­nae Dis­ney.’

“The crew for the film had T-shirts made up which had ‘ This is­nae Dis­ney’ writ­ten on them.”

Iron­i­cally, one of the tunes on the sound­track, which is re­leased in­de­pen­dently of the film, is called Hol­ly­wood End­ing. They had no idea it was their Hol­ly­wood be­gin­ning.

Tommy added: “What­ever we did in this film, peo­ple seem to have taken a shine to. It made us feel that maybe we might just be able to do this again.”

The pair are al­ready work­ing on the mu­sic for an­other Scot­tish film with Michael Ca­ton Jones, the di­rec­tor of Mem­phis Belle, Ba­sic In­stinct 2 and Rob Roy.

Film­ing has be­gun in lo­ca­tions in­clud­ing Glas­gow and Port Glas­gow on the movie adap­ta­tion of Alan Warner’s novel The So­pra­nos, a rau­cous com­ing-of-age tale fea­tur­ing a girls’ choir from the High­lands.

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