It’s a common staple at the Alamo Drafthouse for a band to perform a live score during a silent film. Local instrumental band My Education did it with Sunset. Now Tactics will try their hand at it at 7 PM on March 28 with a live score to Nosferatu hosted by New Flesh at The Vortex Repertory Theater. The band took time from their rehearsal to chat with UWeekly to talk about the approach on a performance like this.
How did this idea come about? How did you get approached to do this?
Brett Thorne: Well, Vince, who works with New Flesh, he apparently was watching Nosferatu a couple of weeks ago and had some Tactics on in his bedroom. Then he said from his bedroom he could hear the music while he was watching the silent movie and it synced up perfectly, so that’s how he got the idea. So it was like destiny, basically. You can put destiny. Just put destiny.
So what made you decide to do this?
Logan Wexler: It was a no-brainer.
Ross Bennett: There was a message that said you’re doing this.
LW: And then we were.
Daniel Vega: Brett doesn’t say no to anything.
BT: It’s true. For better or for worse.
LW: Well, I’ve never seen people do live score. I know they do it, but, like, not a lot.
DV: This is our audition for the Drafthouse. First, we’re doing the live score for Nosferatu. Then we’re gonna do a live score for Toy Story 2.
Glynn Jordan: I feel like this also works because we’ve always been looking for something to enhance our live performance. I think this is something that definitely works to that end.
LW: Post-rock’s boring without visuals.
DV: No, just feel the music, man.
LW: It’s like you can think about anything when you’re listening to instrumental music, and when you’re watching a movie, you can’t necessarily.
BT: It’s about the cues.
LW: Yeah, it’s like you’re watching this. This is what the song’s about. It’s about Nosferatu.
GJ: Yeah, I think music and visual things go together a lot, so that’s why they have scores for movies.
BT: Yeah, it just seemed like something fun to do.
DV: We’d also like to get into the scoring business, any of you independent filmmakers.
OK, so how do you prepare for something like this?
RB: Not very well. Three hours of practice time all at once?
BT: Yeah. That’s one way.
Was there a game plan going into this?
LW: Me, Glynn and Brett watched it and sorta wrote stuff down and played stuff.
BT: Got some ideas.
RB: More like a pick-up game going into this.
LW: This is very quick. Next time, I want to plot it out better.
BT: Yeah, he pitched the idea two weeks ago, maybe. So there hasn’t been a whole lot of preparation time.
RB: We had to gear up for South By (Southwest Music Festival) so we really couldn’t prepare earlier than that.
DV: And then the week after South By, you don’t want to touch your instrument.
GJ: I think a lot of times the best stuff comes out whenever you’re just winging it in some way.
LW: I feel like this will be a good preparation for when we do it the next time, and we’ll plot it out and write down stuff.
BT: When we’re getting paid millions to do it, it’ll be awesome. Jurassic Park 4. In theaters this summer. Tactics.
DV: Wait, it’s almost summer now.
BT: Yeah, I know. It’s gonna be crazy.
DV: So, no, it’ll be the same thing. We have two weeks to score Jurassic Park 4.
What kind of tone or mood are you going with this score?
BT: As you can see, we’re very serious about everything.
Because with Tactics, the music is a little lighthearted, I guess.
DV: We’re basically taking all the riffs we haven’t made into songs and just cramming it into this movie.
BT: And we’re going to be playing some of our stuff too, so it’ll be a mix of new stuff with the old, the hits.
LW: There’ll be a Tactics song you’ve heard. Yeah, one of the hits will be in there.
BT: It’ll find its way in there. But it’s a creepy movie, so we’re trying to make it kind of creepy. But we’re trying not to be heavy-handed about it with no diminished chords apparently. We’re trying to be subtle, but we’re also trying to stay true to the tone of the film.
GJ: I think it’s pretty difficult, though, because it’s an older movie. So the format of it is a little different, I feel like. I think it’s been a difficult part of it, but I think we’re getting it. Getting it down all right.
DV: It’s not that hard. There’s a scene with a werewolf, and we play music that’s heavy when there’s a wolf on camera. When there are no wolves, then we don’t play heavy.
GJ: Yeah, I wish we would have had more time to do everything, but it’s just the way it is, and we’re gonna do our best. It’s gonna be good.
DV: Can’t always be ideal. Is there a common phrase that has that sentiment?
LW: You can’t always get what you want.
DV: You try it sometimes. You might find you have two weeks. Just get it done.
GJ: I’ll be down for doing Nosferatu again sometimes.
BT: Give it another go, yeah.