Making Halloween Music : 5 Questions with macabre maestro Michael Hedstrom…

Halloween fans get a bonus treat for their music collections as “Black Cat 13: Haunting Tales of Halloween” #1 includes a 13 track album of scary music and sound effects by acclaimed haunted attraction sound master Michael Hedstrom (Clive Manor/ Midnight Circus). Hear a preview of this ghostly great soundtrack as we briefly look inside the world of “haunt music”.

Halloween Comics - Black Cat 13 v.1 Comic CD bundle

Top comic talents collaborate in “Black Cat 13” comics #1, with a smash  CD soundtrack for ultimate Halloween enjoyment.

With eight albums to his credit, Michael Hedstrom’s music compositions take you on a sound adventure with beautifully macabre melodies & spooky soundscapes into dark realms and themes. Finding a niche in the haunted attraction industry, earning his place alongside genre musicians (Such as”Midnight Syndicate’ & “Nox Arcana”), while delivering his own unique style befitting top notch attraction & film scores.
We asked Michael to create a special music soundtrack for Black Cat 13 comics. We were blown away with the result (as you will be), thrilled to combine his sound masterpiece with this incredibly special collector’s item comic. The soundtrack contains a variety of music styles from the hypnotic “Limbo”, to the electrifying horror action piece “The Horseman”, with a little of everything in between . The first track alone, a child’s rhyme on a scratchy old phonograph, sends chills down the staunchest of spines. For avid fans of Halloween, this catchy melodic bundle along with graphic stories provides the ultimate experience for your trick or treat sweet tooth.

BlackCat 13 composer/ musician Michael Hedstrom shares some insight on the process and inspiration for creating Halloween music and his dark themed soundtracks..

Q. You’re latest album “Nightmare Chronicles” has a new theme and some added musical elements. Tell us a bit about that.
A. In a way the new theme is a lack of theme. I wanted something that could have more variety than say Clive Manor or Midnight Circus, more like Black Cat 13. I also have a deep love for synth sounds, having grown up on ELP and Genesis etc. and I hadn’t used many in previous projects. Chronicles gave me a chance to explore that to a greater extent giving some pieces a Sci-Fi flavor. There are even a couple dance numbers. This last year I was pleased to discover a lot of tutorials on YouTube which helped me try to get a richer orchestral sound from the samplers than I had before. Never stop learning :)

Q. The Black cat 13 album/ comic soundtrack has an incredibly cool and chilling intro track. How did that come to mind, and who is the female voice behind it?
A. I know I got the idea for the children’s rhyme from the Nightmare on Elm Street film and old scratchy phonograph records always sound a little creepy. They always seem to pop up in serial killers homes. I have 2 :) The child’s voice is my wife, Tamara, who was 46 at the time. Hopefully she won’t be too angry with me for divulging her age:) Just a little manipulation went a long way.

Q. You’re influences range a diverse gamut of Classical, Religious, Film to video games. In 2004, what or who would you say helped ferment ideas for the Black cat albums sound?
A. A number of ideas came from you, Scott. I remember we talked about the modern headless horseman on a motorcycle and all the backwards music and sounds in Black Cat 3. You had suggested doing a piece like Revolution Number 9 so I ran with it and it ended up being a lot of fun. My wife still won’t listen to it :)
Once I saw the cover you created I put a recurring ticking clock theme throughout the album. I love the way it pulled the wide variety of pieces together. I had started on the album that became Demagogue already so I ended up trying some vocal chanting for the first time on Black Cat. It’s all me running back and forth from my computer room to the vocal booth for track after track to get the full choir. Did I mention I’m also a huge Queen fan? Exhausting but rewarding. I used the same technique when I got back to Demagogue.

Q. Black Cat is in its 10th anniversary.. where do you see it’s place in your growth/ level as a composer/ musician?
A. I’d say Black Cat was right about dead center in my growth so far. If you listen to Midnight Circus and Black Cat there’s a definite improvement in production values and instrumentation in Black Cat. I’d like to think those things are still improving and if I was to make it today it might sound quite different.

Q. Lastly, what direction lies ahead for Hedstorm Productions and any other (even non related) projects your excited about?
A. I have a number of ideas but the one I plan on focusing on next, I think, is going to be either a prequel or a sequel to Midnight Circus. I’ve got a few pieces started. Possibly a 100% atmospheric album too. No music whatsoever. I’ve got new instruments since 10 years ago so the world is my oyster. On the non-related side I’ve been spending a lot of time teaching myself more in the 3ds Max rendering and animation program. My friend and I used to draw flip animations in all our school books and the computer has allowed me to get passed my pitiful art abilities to build and animate things I never could before. Right now I’m building a sports complex from the ground up. I have pictures posted on Facebook. I’ve also used it to make all my album covers so Halloween hasn’t been completely left out:)

For Michael’s discography and more on his haunted soundtracks visit www.hedstorm.net
To get a copy of the comic/CD bundle visit HERE.
In the meantime, enjoy this Halloween music sampler from “Black Cat 13: Haunting Tales of Halloween” #1, and Happy Halloween!

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