HEAT VISION

Vault Comics' 'Creature Feature' to Include an Original Soundtrack

The independent publisher's upcoming series will include a seven-track, synth-heavy score.
John Bivens/Vault Comics
The independent publisher's upcoming series will include a seven-track, synth-heavy score.

It’s one thing to read a comic with your own personal soundtrack in your head, but Vault Comics is going one step further for its upcoming horror title Cult Classic: Creature Feature. The publisher is preparing a seven-track soundtrack album of original music to accompany its release.

“Long story short, Minneapolis is how this album happened,” Eliot Rahal, writer of Cult Classic: Creature Feature, explained to The Hollywood Reporter in an email. “My wife is a Minnesota native. One of her very good friends from high school lives nearby (Hi, Kathy) with her husband, Nick Syman. Over the past several years I've gotten to know them both better, and now I have the privilege of calling them both friends.

"As it happens," he went on, "Nick turns out to be an incredibly talented musician. Like...really talented. He's a classically trained jazz musician. In a lot of different bands. Has released a couple of albums. He even teaches music. The guy lives and breathes the stuff. I’ve seen him a play a bunch of times, and you can tell this is what he's meant to be doing. One day I was talking to him about Cult Classic, about the beginning ideas of Creature Feature, and how this project is like a love letter to John Carpenter but set in the modern-day. Turns out one of his favorite films was Reanimator. And he wanted to jam.”

Syman takes over the story himself at this point, with some important backstory.

“The library where I did my undergrad had an absurd collection of laser discs that no one ever checked out, until my roommate returned from summer break with a laserdisc player he saved from the garbage,” Syman explained. “Laser-disc Monday was born: Reanimator, The Thing, Barbarella, Conan the Barbarian, Cat People, Videodrome, Phantasm, Zardoz…. Every Monday for three years, we gathered and worked our way through a magical backlog of dated art. So when I saw Eliot  headed in this direction, I wanted in.”

Rahal brought his Creature Feature co-creator John Bivens in on the conversation, and the three started making plans — but Syman wanted to expand the group, as Rahal explained. “Nick got his buddy, Peter Lund, in on the action. I had only met Peter once, but I had listened to some of his tracks. And Nick was really excited to work with him. He kept insisting that Peter was the right person to help him execute a soundtrack. I trusted Nick. And boy...was he right.”

“I knew Nick from college and we were both involved in the local music scene,” Lund added. (That he was part of Syman’s original laser-disc Monday group only helped matters.) “He approached me about making a horror soundtrack, I think mainly due to the immense amount of vintage and analog synths I've accumulated over the years. We both love John Carpenter and have bonded over many a laserdisc horror film, so I think us working together on this project was a natural fit.”

The result is a seven-track soundtrack to the upcoming Vault Comics series, available either via QR code inside the comics themselves, or directly from Drift Clique — the collective name Syman and Lund are using for the project — via Bandcamp. Described by Lund as “an album that sounded like an old VHS tape left out in the sun too long,” it’s a dark, synthesizer-heavy affair likely to appeal to anyone who grew up listening to John Carpenter soundtracks — but don’t take my word for it. The first track is available to listen to below.

“Honestly, what's crazy is that Nick, Peter, John and I have been talking about this for over a year and a half,” Rahal said. “Everyone has been patient. Everyone has worked so hard. And now the moment is here. And I honestly can't believe it.”

Cult Classic: Creature Feature No. 1 will be released Oct. 16; the Drift Clique Creature Feature album is available to preorder now.

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