MONDO Sangue (Christian Bluthardt and Yvy Pop) dedicate a passionate tribute to the iconic soundtracks of 70s b-movies: for erotica, exotica, italo and carnivore genre lovers.
What musical education did you have, and how did you begin to work together as MONDO SANGUE?
Yvy: Without any serious musical education (just a few guitar lessons in my childhood and 20 years of a punk-rock as a singer) I met Chris in Stuttgart’s best video rental Filmgalerie 451 about 10 years ago. We loved to talk about films, especially rare b- and c-movies, and thought about making scores for films we’d like to see (if only they’d been made) someday.
You have produced two film scores, which have no films, what led you into starting to do this kind of work?
Yvy: In 2014 we had the opportunity to jump in at the deep end of an independent film production (Nature Morte by Sophia Koegl) and did our first film score in 24 hours. That’s when we tasted blood. In the summer of 2015 we decided to dedicate our first release to the underappreciated music of cannibal movies in 1970,s Italian cinema.
Do you write or create the scenarios for the stories that you score musically?
Yvy: Indeed. That’s how we start. Chris and I develop a script of a so to speak, meta-film, filled with quotations and as predictable as charming characters. Then we divide the plot into atmospheric pictures and Chris gets started with the first musical moods and compositions while I’m working on the lyrics.
I suppose writing for a story rather than an actual movie is somewhat difficult as you have no images to relate to on a screen just in your head?
Yvy: Personally, I’m convinced that working with Chris on an imaginary script is much easier as our ideas are always incredibly congruent. The story of L’Isola die Dannati. took us just an afternoon and three shandy’s and before sunset the synopsis was already completed.
Chris: Yes, and ever since we both are rather musical persons, most of the times a simple musical theme or a fitting record are quiet enough to create the images in our heads.
You have covered two popular genres of Italian cinema this far, CANNIBALLS and THE WESTERN, what is next for you another genre made popular by Italian film makers?
Yvy: We already have a whole list of respective Italian film scores, we’d like to realize in the next years. We’ve not decided yet what will be next, but we already have two favourites.
NO PLACE FOR A MAN, is wonderful, it really re-creates the sounds and the styles that were originally fashioned by composers such as Morricone, Nicolai, Cipriani, Fidenco, Ferrio and De Masi, to name but a handful, are you both big fans of these composers, and do you buy soundtrack albums?
Chris: When I buy records, there are always soundtrack albums among them! I can’t visit a record store without checking out the soundtrack-corner as a very first reflex. Any composer’s name you have just mentioned means a lot to me and I guess collecting their records is a lifetime achievement, a never-ending journey.
What is your usual line up of instrumentation, both synthetic and conventional?
Chris: There’s a bunch of sample-libraries I use for creating orchestral sounds like strings and brasses, timpani & drums. Guitars, pianos and part of the percussions are recorded with live instruments, of course the vocals and choirs too. There is not any usual line up of any kind, it depends on the project. This time I included a 5-steel-string ukulele from Portugal to create a hopefully unique sound. There never were ukuleles in western-scores and I like the idea of putting in Easter-eggs like this in our contribution. And – very coincidentally – it fits to our storyline since our protagonist is simply called “The Portuguese”.
How long does it take to create a score, NO PLACE FOR A MAN for example?
Yvy: Well, the writing and production of L’Isola die Dannati was incredibly fast. No Place for a Man, took us much longer. On one hand, writing an Italo Western score is much more complex, and on the other hand, we tried not only to produce a good Spaghetti Western score, but to add our (hopefully recognizable) Mondo Sangue impact as well. Therefore, the plot of No Place for a Man is quite gory and expands the classic Italo Western on a sanguinary dimension.
I have to admit that I am not familiar with your backgrounds so please forgive me if I have missed anything that you have worked on, but have you scored any movies or worked on any TV assignments at all?
Chris: I never worked on TV assignments, but I scored some movies in the last few years, mostly documentary or short films and of course advertising films. On a regular basis I score audio books (produced by All Score) and recently I composed the music for a stage play. It’s kind of the second or third idea behind Mondo Sangue, at least for me – as long as there is just a negligible genre-film-market in Germany and nobody asks me to score for any one of them, I simply love the idea of producing and releasing my favorite genre-scores either way…
The Italian band GOBLIN go out and perform live to audiences, would this be something you do or would like to do?
Yvy: We’d love to perform our soundtracks live. We already thought about may be combining a radio play with audio-visual material. For the release events we’ll prepare a nice’n’small foretaste.
Chris: I would have said “no way” after our cannibal-score, but now I think there are a few ways and approaches to perform our music live. Naturally, we’ll need some additional musicians, but with some guitars, my ukulele and a few percussions we could manage.
What is your opinion of film music in the 21st Century, compared with scores from the 1960’s through to the 1980’s?
Chris: Well, it is quite different, but I still love it very much. The variety of so many different styles and fusions is just great. Lots of films mix the perks of modern music and the charm of classic or genre-music of the 60s and 70s, and I’m not talking about Tarantino-movies, there’s plenty more stuff out there, much more savvy and brilliant. The development of orchestral music kind of lost its way in my opinion, too many films sound exactly alike. But then there are orchestra-guys like Alexandre Desplat or Michael Giacchino, who keep surprising me or rather unusual composers like Clint Mansell, Cliff Martinez and (the recently passed) Johann Johannsson who blow me away almost every time I hear, or better feel them on the big screen.
Many thanks to Chris and Ivy and also to Dietmar Bosch of All score, for his help and co-operation.