Terrance Zdunich talks about Scoring and Playing Lucifer in “The Devil’s Carnival”

Terrance Zdunich is known best for playing the Graverobber in “Repo! The Genetic Opera”, his first collaboration with Darren Lynn Bousman.  The duo recently re-teamed on their new film “The Devil’s Carnival”.  Media Mikes has a chance to chat with Terrance about the film, it’s music and their city tour.

Mike Gencarelli: Where did you come with the idea for this film?
Terrance Zdunich: After Darren and I collaborated on “Repo! The Genetic Opera” 4 years ago, we knew we wanted to do another musical project. We looked around for awhile and eventually came up with this idea that really stuck with us. We knew that this was something we were now going to invest the next few years of our life creating and promoting. As far as the concept for I think it came out of a love for amusement park dark rides. Rides like Disney’s The Haunted Mansion where you get a really cool immersive experience. I thought of how cool it would be to create a world where it felt like you’re moving through one of those rides. That was the emphasis and “The Devil’s Carnival” grew out of that.

MG: Can you tell us about your character Lucifer in the film?
TZ: Who doesn’t want to play the devil [laughs]? I think it’s a character I sort of sympathize with in some ways. He is the ultimate rebel. He was punished for questioning authority and as an artist that kind of spoke to me. I wanted to do a take on the character that maybe has not been done before. I thought that what if hell tries to do what heaven does and offer redemption. That would be the most rebellious act of the dark world. Put heaven out of business.

MG: Can you give us some background on the soundtrack?
TZ: Like with “Repo”, you can listen to it and get one experience or idea of the world. When you see the songs attached to the imagery they will take on new and hopefully better doings. When you are doing a film where music is part of narrative it comes down to what are the stories, which are the characters and what is the heart of what they are doing? We then try to put all that to music. We had to distill what a song would sound like for each element in the film. The song “Trust Me” takes the theme of the Aesop’s Fable story “The Scorpion and the Frog”. We knew that character had to be seductive in gaining ones trust.

MG: Can you tell us about the song “In All My Dreams I Drown”?
TZ: That song is one of the last ones we wrote. Up until about two months before filming there was only going to be nine songs on the album. We had originally envisioned a world where only the carnies sang. Darren and I thankfully changed that idea. It was a challenge to write a song for the Tamara character to where it seemed like she was singing in a dream. We came up with the idea of Lucifer representing all the men in her life. He really is the ultimate bad boy. We did a lot of research when writing that song.

MG: How do you feel this film compares to your work on “Repo! The Genetic Opera”?
TZ: We knew that this was going to get compared to “Repo” no matter what we did. On one hand we wanted to live up to what fans love about that film. While on the other hand we really wanted to do something new. With “Repo”, the music was really a futuristic industrial sound. We used a lot of modern instrumentation and sounds. With “The Devil’s Carnival”, we decided to make everything sound like it was from the past. We used no electronic instruments. Everything is acoustic. I think tuba is the main instrument featured on the songs.

MG: Is there any truth to this film being the first in a series?
TZ: That is absolutely true. This film is a little over an hour. Even though this film is a contained story we left it open to grow. The second film is actually already written. This story just continues to grow. The fact that we are using something like Aesop’s Fables gives us some 600 story lines to use. If the tour ends up being successful and the people respond we are chomping at the bit to do another one.

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