The Resident Evil franchise has expanded once again, as the streaming service Netflix added its own iteration of the iconic survival game story with a new sci-fi series. We had the chance to sit down for a chat with Gregory Reveret recently, the composer on the Resident Evil Netflix series, and learned that NASA inadvertently helped to create the music for the show.
Reveret has previously worked on various major franchises, from the MCU, to Fast and Furious, as well as contributing to the music of Star Wars series The Mandalorian. However, the composer’s heart truly lies in the horror movie genre, and Reveret is a hardened Resident Evil fan, so being able to put his own spin on the iconic franchise was a dream come true.
In an exclusive interview with The Digital Fix, Reveret talked us through his process of stepping into the Resident Evil legacy, how he salvaged a piece of NASA equipment to create the music for the TV series, and what the future holds for Gregory Reveret.
It’s not easy to take on such an established product, with a fanbase as passionate as Resident Evil’s, but Reveret clearly relished that challenge. The composer was particularly keen to put his own spin on the sound for the show.
“I actually enjoy being adventurous with what horror means. I don’t think making typical horror music is what I strive to do, for sure. And that’s what I wanted to show with this project,” Reveret explained. “It can be beautiful. It doesn’t always have to be like jumpscares and psycho strings.”
While he may have been looking for ways to set this series apart from the rest of the franchise, Reveret and those around him were still determined to respect the source material. At the centre of the vast lore of Resident Evil, of course, is the original videogame.
“Paying attention to the fans and the franchise was something that the producers and I were very careful with,” Reveret confirmed. “In fact, if you listen, on the score itself with track ‘The Doberman’, we included a bit of an Easter egg from the game.”
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Reveret went to great lengths to leave his mark on the project, and employed some rather unorthodox methods in his work. His experimental approach of using old laboratory equipment was inspired by German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, who revolutionised electronically engineered music in the 1950s.
“I would go visit these places that sell junk. A lot of it was sold sold as parts for like, $30, and the guys wouldn’t know what it was,” Reveret revealed. “I built this synthesiser. One of the units that I bought, it’s got a NASA laboratories sticker on it, with the service engineer label and everything.”
The composer has been a fan of Resident Evil since he was a teenager, and spoke of the importance in bringing this rich story to a new generation. This project marks a step up for Reveret, too, having served under some of the finest composers of modern times.
“I worked under Junkie XL, who kind of taught me everything I know,” Reveret said. “He was very generous with how he would include me into his projects and I got to experience a lot of those things first-hand. I think that this was a natural progression for me. It didn’t feel very different.”
In terms of pressure, the only source of this was more internal for Reveret, who just wanted to do the fans and the franchise justice: “Honestly, as a fan, this is a project I really cared about, and took very seriously.”
Luckily, working with Netflix afforded Reveret the kind of creative freedom one can only dream of. This was of particular benefit when it came to the brief for crafting the main theme tune for the new Netflix series.
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“The main theme, I think, is something that’s pretty out there. You know, it doesn’t sound like a typical main theme,” Reveret explained. “I would say in terms of the instrumentation, you get the sense it’s like this big kind of song. So, yeah, it was fun working with [Netflix] in that way.”
This project also allowed Reveret to collaborate with a South African orchestra, to create a different soundscape for the Resident Evil Netflix series. Growing up in South Africa, this was of particular significance for Reveret.
“It was really cool because they were just so enthusiastic, and busted their asses,” he recalled. “It kind of gave its own unique sounds, like I’ve played a lot of the recordings to some of my other composer friends and everyone agrees it’s like, wow! It really has this kind of unique texture to it.”
Despite this being Reveret’s debut as lead composer, he’s been involved in his fair share of huge franchise work. When it comes to the future, the musician has big ambitions to dive into those worlds again.
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“I definitely would love to do my own Marvel movie, because what I enjoy is – which was the same with Resident Evil – is thinking about how to approach these massive projects that have such massive responsibility for the fans, and how do you deliver something that’s slightly different?”
Before we parted ways, Reveret even had a little nugget of industry information to share with us. He’s worked on trailers for many big projects in the past, and the process behind that kind of work is rather surprising.
“With trailers, they don’t actually give you the footage. Because of how secretive the trailer industry is, it’s so crazy with rules,” Reveret revealed. “They’ll give you a reference and then you just write the music and they will then test the footage out on their end with the client.”
You learn something new every day! Or, if you sit down for a chat with Gregory Reveret, you learn a lot of new things; from the benefits of retired NASA equipment, to the underground world of movie trailers. When you see his name on a MCU movie in the future, remember you heard it here first!