When the first trailer was released for Capcom’s latest Resident Evil installment, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, fans were instantly buzzing about the eerie theme song that accompanied the trailer, “Go Tell Aunt Rhody. Cut to the game’s release, “Rhody” has become one of the franchises most popular themes. The man responsible for the track is composer and songwriter Michael A. Levine. No stranger to creating memorable themes, Levine is also behind the “Gimme A Break” Kit Kat jingle. We decided to dig a little deeper and learn how “Rhody” was created.
-You produced/scored the famous theme “Go Tell Aunt Rhody” for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. Was your intent from the very beginning to create something very creepy/eerie or did it just evolve that way?
The intent was to make it creepy and scary but, at every turn it got even more so. The first pass was dark, but still pretty song-like. By the end it was almost a voice plus weird sound design.
-The main themes for the previous RE installments such as 4 and 6 have a lot different feel/vibe than yours. Did Capcom give you the direction to do something very different? What was their initial direction to you?
Capcom really liked a song Lucas Cantor and I produced for Lorde* – a version of Everybody Wants to Rule the World – that was use to promote Assassin’s Creed Unity*, among others. What they liked was that something everybody knew as a bouncy, happy song got turned into something dark and sinister. They asked me to do the same, but with a traditional song. I chose Go Tell Aunt Rhody* because I knew there was a Japanese children’s song with the same melody called Musunde*. I changed “the old grey goose is dead” to “everybody’s dead” and wrote some new verses.
-Did the theme change a lot from the beginning to the final product? If so, what are the main differences?
As I mentioned, it got more abstract and less “musical”. It also changed in length – originally there was a longer version* with more lyrics for the verses. We ultimately decided it was too long and cut half of each verse.
-If you were to work on Resident Evil 8, what sort of theme would you like to see created?
I’d like to see a really, really nice character who treats everyone with compassion and respect. Then eats them, of course.
-What would be your ideal horror movie to score?
I’ve written a screenplay called Golem, which is based on the classic Jewish myth, but set in contemporary Brooklyn. It’s a thriller/science fiction take more than a supernatural one. Plus a twisted coming-of-age tale for a young girl. Know any producers?
-Is there a score from a horror film that has really stuck out to you in the past 5 years? If so, why?
I loved cellist Mica Levi’s score for Under The Skin*. I actually liked it more than the movie itself. But, as a violinist, maybe I’m just prejudiced in favor of string players.
BTW, if your readers are curious about any of the other music I’ve written they can go to www.MichaelLevineMusic.com
Assassin’s Creed Unity- https://youtu.be/WwGNPtBX7Nk
Go Tell Aunt Rhody- https://youtu.be/xhxIveSF8bw
Under The Skin- https://youtu.be/Z_Cc20I-maM