Mastodon Explains How Exactly They Came to Score Jonah Hex
Do you remember the news that heavy metal band Mastodon would be scoring the Jonah Hex movie? Yea, I'm still a bit bewildered by that, but it's being cleared up today, finally. Paste (via SlashFilm) just did an interview with Mastodon recently and got the full story, including that they're not dropping any all-out heavy metal tracks into the movie, but rather recording instrumental songs that will be integrated into the score, similar to how Linkin Park worked with Steve Jablonsky for the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen score. It's actually kind of fascinating to hear and I'm much more excited to hear their score knowing this.
The story is that Jonah Hex director Jimmy Hayward called up Mastodon saying he is a huge fan and that it was their album Blood Mountain that inspired him while writing the script. The band came to LA following their European tour and recorded for minimal pay. “I guarantee an incredibly popular misconception will be, 'Oh my god, they're selling out doing a fucking comic-book movie,'" Mastodon bassist Troy Sanders says. "The fact is the exact opposite. We sacrificed another two weeks away from home to give away an album's worth of material for nothing in return but satisfaction in being a part of something incredible."
"Malkovich, Brolin and Megan Fox all took pay cuts to be a part of this movie—that alone speaks volumes about how much people care about this film," he continues. "It was the most beautiful, authentic way to collaborate."
So what exactly did they create? Roughly an hour of music, all instrumental, including "five full songs and many smaller musical themes adapted throughout." The music then goes to composer John Powell (X-Men: The Last Stand, Kung Fu Panda) who will work the music into the score. "We wrote variations on themes for each character, different variables for a bunch of riffs: faster, slower, heavier, lighter," Sanders explains to Paste. "It's the Darth Vader approach." He continues: "Some of it was heavy, some of it was very moody. A lot of it was spacey, Melvins B-sides, Pink Floyd-like, surreal outer space, like Neil Young's Dead Man. Swirling, nausea music."
It just so happens that I'm a big fan of Neil Young's Dead Man score, so if it's anything like that, then I'm considerably excited. After this explanation, I think Mastodon may be a good fit for this after all. Hopefully we'll get to hear some of the score in the Jonah Hex trailer, whenever Warner Bros decides to put that out!