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Soundgas, Ben Frost & The Netflix Dark Soundtrack

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WRITTEN BY: Tony Miln

UPLOADED: 4th Dec 2019

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When we announced Soundgas Studio remote access beta testing last autumn, one of our first briefs was to add extra filth and unpleasantness to the stems for Matthew Herbert’s soundtrack to the Japanese horror film, ‘Kuru’ (It Comes): a very uncomfortable session indeed.

Not long after, we were contacted by Ben Frost, asking if we’d like to work on the stems from his score for Cycle 1 of ‘Dark’ on Netflix to maybe create some sounds for the score to Cycle 2 which had just been commissioned. This was a dream come true for us, especially our freelance engineer, Felipe Gutierrez, who was already a big fan of Ben’s work as Ethermachines, and also of the first season of Dark.

Dark Arts

Neither we, nor Ben, knew how this would work out – we were very much working ‘on spec’, which was perfect for beta testing. We were super excited to be offered the chance to work on such incredible recordings: even more so as the project progressed and Ben encouraged us to get as wild and gnarly as we liked (we like that a lot).

We took the stems from season 1 and, under Ben’s direction, had a lot of fun transforming them into new weirder and (ahem) darker material that he then incorporated into the soundtrack for season 2. Everyone loved the results. Felipe had done us, Ben, and himself proud: over the course of several sessions, he not only found new ways to abuse our studio collection, but also mastered the arcane Publison Infernal Machine, and he and I had a gas plunging ourselves deep into the void to come up with ever darker and discomforting results.

Towards the completion of mixing, Ben got back in touch saying they wanted to try something more with the end credits and, as is often the case in broadcasting, we didn’t have much time. Sadly for Felipe, he wasn’t available, but was able to offer some tips and suggestions to our recently-arrived house engineer, Ben Hirst. Ben and I were let loose on the end credits parts and given carte blanche to get as wild as we wished. Ben Frost got in touch and asked us to ‘make it sound broken’; we were working with a kindred spirit! We were stunned to hear the final mix which sounds truly immense, and while it bore our sticky sonic fingerprints, Ben had taken our crude ingredients and spun them into something truly magical.

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Credit where it’s due

The music business has previous of not crediting artists, engineers, writers, producers etc. All working in this industry have tales of heartbreak: projects we’ve sweated blood over and sunk hearts and souls into only to be ‘forgotten’ on the final release. It is very refreshing when the opposite happens, and, as you can see from the shot of the back of the record sleeve above, Ben Frost was meticulous, insisting Soundgas be credited for our contribution to the soundtrack. Not only did we get thrillingly see our names on the TV show (minus Ben Hirst as the end credits had already been finished when he stepped in at the last minute), but also now on the stunning vinyl release on Invada Records.

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We are honoured to have played a part in the creation of this incredible soundtrack and humbled that Ben generously credited us with additional production and name-checked all involved. It was a joy from start to finish to work with him and we look forward to the next time we get the call to make things sound broken!

Special thanks also to the incredibly-talented and hard-working Felipe Gutierrez for his work – truly a labour of love – and to our in house engineer Ben Hirst who was away on tour and missed the early sessions, but did a fine job on the music for the end credits.

The amazing soundtracks to Dark: Cycle 1 and 2 are out now on Invada Records.

Studio Hire

You too can hire the Soundgas Studio via our remote access service to enhance, transform or obliterate your source material. Whether you want to add rich harmonic distortion via one of our Grampian Type 636s, a sprinkle of vintage reverb, or get deep into modulation effects, our sonic armoury is at your disposal now. Find out more about our Studio Services.

Tony Miln is the co-founder (& Head Gear Head) of Soundgas. See/hear him in action on Instagram.

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More clips from the Dark sessions below:

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