Colin Stetson (‘Hereditary’ composer) on creating an ‘evil’ score that avoided horror movie cliches [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

For composer Colin Stetson, “Hereditary” is “less a horror film” and more “a gorgeous, complex character study in grief and loss and familial dysfunction.” The A24 release from debut writer-director Ari Aster stars Toni Collette as a woman mourning the death of her mother. As she and her family begin experiencing tragic and unsettling occurrences, they uncover deeply disturbing secrets in the matriarch’s past that could horribly affect their future. Watch our exclusive video interview with Stetson above.

SEE Alex Wolff (‘Hereditary’): ‘I have never been this vulnerable; if someone touched me, I would bleed’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

By his own admission, Stetson is not “a horror buff by any stretch,” so it wasn’t difficult for him to defy genre expectations. And he reveals that before he started work he “specifically adopted a no horror film or score diet” to avoid their influence.

But Stetson knew that Aster wanted the score “to feel evil” and “avoid any and all references to sentimentality or nostalgia.” And because this wasn’t a typical horror movie the composer also didn’t want to create a typical score where “themes would be played in and around particular characters.” Rather, the music itself should be “an unseen character, the character of this deeply laid plan that comes to fruition at the very end of the film.” This sinister, otherworldly event the story is hurtling towards would have “relationships with the individual characters” interacting with it, which would effect the compositions.

SEE ‘Hereditary’ reviews: Could the acclaimed horror film follow in the footsteps of ‘Get Out’?

As a musician, Stetson has collaborated with such bands as Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, and Bell Orchestre. His music has also been heard in the films “Rust and Bone” (2012), “12 Years a Slave” (2013), and “The Rover” (2014). And he recently completed a score for Hulu‘s sci-fi series “The First.”

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