Umberto: Night Stalking

We don't know what film Umberto will score at GMFF, but odds on it'll be some freaky shit. Errors bring the synth maestro in for interrogation

Feature by Simon Ward | 02 Feb 2012
  • Umberto

Kansas City native Umberto, AKA Matt Hill, will be bringing his brand of John Carpenter-esque horror synth to the Glasgow Film Festival, namely music/arts space SWG3 on 25 February. The composer/multi-instrumentalist will be providing a live soundtrack to a horror movie of his choice, the title of which remains a well guarded secret.

Errors' Simon Ward caught up with Umberto to find out a little more about the upcoming project and the murky world of horror music.

SW: The film you are soundtracking is still a secret but can you tell us a little about what you have planned for the show? Have you prepared any new material?
U: I've composed music for the entire film. It's 95% new material. So, it's about 85 minutes of non stop music.

Is this the first time you've performed a live soundtrack?

A lot of artists performing electronic music will add visuals to their shows to keep the audience interested. Have you experimented much with this up until now?
Yeah, I've had montages of scenes from horror films play on a projector before. The visual element is very important for me. I like to make the show entertaining. So, I'll put up pictures, add other people playing instruments, strobe lights, a couple times I had people dressed up in costumes, etc. I've been using three fog machines lately too.

How important is this visual element to you?
I get bored when I see a show and it's just a guy playing a synth and messing with a bunch of effects pedals or whatever.

Zombi and Gatekeeper are often cited as your contemporaries. Is there anyone else out there that we should know about?
Xander Harris does horror movie stuff. That's the only other one I can think of right now.

Do you think you'll ever embrace the vintage technology found on the soundtracks to the Dario Argento and John Carpenter classics?
Well, yeah, I've used vintage stuff in the past for shows and on the recordings. I plan on bringing more equipment over to the UK this time. It's just expensive and hard for me to lug around a bunch of stuff.

Will this be a one-off or can we expect to see more scoring from you further down the line?
Hopefully, I can do more. It's something that I really enjoy doing.

And with that, Umberto climbed aboard his giant bat and flew off into the blood-red haze of the sunrise, the last echoes of the cries of the living dead still reverberating around our ears.

Playing SWG3 on 25 Feb