Interview: Yves Malone, a Lost Composer of Horror Film History
horror film soundtracks both obscure and renown have risen in popularity these past few years, from more electronic producers recalling John Carpenter’s synth-laden epics and labels reissuing classics in commemorative packages. we at the kort are fans of both, so you can imagine our excitement when we stumbled upon Yves Malone - a composer whose work has featured on a number of lost B-movies from the 80s, and whom has only recently opted to share his past works, lost in time, with the internet community.
PT: Could you start off by giving a brief introduction to yourself and your music?
Yves Malone: They call me Yves and I have been making music for quite a while now. I am a big fan of movies and soundtracks and luckily I found a way to merge the two. I am also a big fan of John Carpenter who married the two quite convincingly. Well, up to about 25 years ago he did. Now others do that work for him. I found a niche for a bit and it was fun.
PT: What inspired you to soundtrack horror movies? How do you find these movies? The three you’ve worked on so far are quite obscure, to me at least.
YM: Money. My band The Rex had broken up in 1981 - I was broke and my girlfriend at the time was going to film school: she met some people, I met some people and all of a sudden I was putting my keyboards to use again. The production company Silk Knights and I ended up doing a lot of work together - they made low budget, straight to video crap but I didn’t care. It was an exciting time.
PT: What’s the production/composing process behind each song?
YM: Well if I was lucky I would get some rough production video. Sometimes I was not so lucky and would make some generic mood pieces as noted by the “script”. Really it was a genuine mess but it was better than most things I could have been doing at the time. It was interesting work, not something I had ever thought about, much less thought I would ever have an interest in actually. But like most things - if posited as a problem to solve, it can be framed as an intellectual exercise, which is how I made it through most of these jobs…
PT: Do your scores stem from a reaction to, or reverence of, Carpenter-esque scores?
YM: Probably reverence. He almost singlehandedly created the language for the modern horror synth score. Its hard not to think in terms of the visual aesthetics of those early movies without the accompanying scores - he was just an absolute master. Just real visceral stuff. I was a hack for a video company making shoddy scores. End of story. I was also a big fan of Gil Mellé and Howard Shore. That soundtrack that Shore did for Scanners is amazing.
PT: How long did you work with Silk Knights? Are the three soundtracks you’ve recently put on bandcamp from your time with that production co., or another era?
YM: Being the era of drug excess… the 80’s is when we hit the wall. I would have to venture a guess that our relationship lasted from 1985-1990, after the completion of Abysscoteque. Mind you, this is just Silk Knights I am talking about - I had relationships with other productions but Silk Nights paid a lot of the bills. Saul Mikowski and his kids were real good to me.
PT: How come these soundtracks are only just seeing the light of day? I can’t find any of your previous work online…
YM: Well you get old and start to reminisce about your younger days and also this was not the most horrible stuff I had done. And also someone had found the audio files somewhere and graciously forwarded it to me. The web is a fabulous place for obscure music these days - you can find almost anything if you look hard enough. All it takes is a single remaining copy to repopulate the world with all the crap you’d thought was buried forever. I am hoping the soundtrack to Hell’s Apples is never found. God forbid.
Listen to three of Yves’ scores on his Bandcamp.