Collection: Future of Horror

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To understand the future of horror, one must look at the present. And to understand the sound of Future of Horror, one must listen not only to the now, but look around at what surrounds it. It’s a stylistic and philosophical approach applied by the new electronic music duo, composed of co-vocalist and lyricist Vanessa Matic and co-vocalist, songwriter, and producer Joey Camello (Fearing, Death Bells), who together release their self-titled debut EP in May 13th, 2022 via à La Carte Records.

Surrounding the EP’s unveiling are equal points of intrigue: the duo performed their first live performance at the in-demand Substance 2021 Fest on November 28 at The Belasco alongside Nitzer Ebb, Chelsea Wolfe, HEALTH, John Maus, Choir Boy, and others.

Future of Horror derive their project’s name from a repeated lyric in “Hellraiser,” the final track on the six-song Future of Horror EP. But both Camello and Matic will admit it’s also a reflection of the social, economic, and political times in which we are living; the future dystopia that was threatened as an inevitable way of life sometime in some undefined later date has arrived fully formed for us to contend with each and every day. And while the reality that plays out comes with its own brand of scares, Future of Horror was conceived through its two principal members’ shared love of horror cinema and poetry.

“Poetry to me is an intimate way of writing,” says Matic. “It links to everything I do, even when I work with film, in every field there’s a Malick or Rowland type of poetry. I can relate to my own work in a similar manner.”

Those distinct but related components fueled the creativity that followed. Matic -- the author of Romance & Revolution, published by Tough Poets Press -- and Camello first officially linked up through a collaborative poetry book titled Raspberry Garlands. Adding beats to their treats, Future of Horror crystallized a long-distance collaboration where Matic’s poetry was shifting into lyrics, vocalized by utilizing shoddy iPhone6 voice memo technology and a travel-damaged karaoke microphone drenched in the preset echo chambers and reverb, with Camello layering her efforts over atmospheric soundscapes that illuminate under the shadows.

“Horror films play a big part in shaping the collaboration, but we both enjoy films on a grander scale,” Camello says. “The lyrics are all based on films we watched and talked about together as our connection continued to grow over the beginning of our relationship. We still talk about movies daily. Both Vanessa and I are poets at heart, and we both write a lot, so the connection between our music and poetry go hand in hand and is done without even really trying to do so. It’s just the way we operate. It really helps that we have similar views on the world and its politics and we kind of pull from all aspects of life when writing so it is kind of done effortlessly.”

In the early stages of Future of Horror, Matic would send Camello audio clips of her singing about horror movies -- “most of the lyrics I wrote are about horror movies I’ve seen, ranging from classic to obscure,” Matic says -- and Camello would cut them up and rearranging them along simple synth lines and drum machine beats.

“We fell in love with the sound we achieved in our innocent approach to it,” Camello admits. “And honestly, it was made for fun. I didn’t think she’d want to start a real band out of what we had created -- but once it was decided we just started running with it. We didn’t put much thought or effort into recording the songs, we wanted to keep it simple and as pure and raw as possible. Nothing crazy went into production at all I kept everything very minimal as we just wrote this in a weeks time we thought it was best to have it released in its most honest form.”

The first chapter of Future of Horror unfolds like b-movie cinema. Raw and vulnerable, with an uncertain air of danger hanging overhead, Future of Horror spans a spectrum of moods, styles, and genres: A machine-gun blast of beats on EP opener “Away”; the late-night VHS erotica appeal of “Funny Games”; a straight-jacket fit of EBM and darkwave on “White of the Eye.” The sci-fi house of mirrors called “Hellraiser” closes the EP, and floats it off into the unknown. It’s a cohesive collection of sounds but each with their own spiritual personality, all conjoined by Matic and Camello’s artistic, moon-lit vision.

“As a musician I always try to blend the lines when it comes to music I create,” Camello says. “I have a very wide scope of genres in my daily rotation so it’s not hard to find things to inspire my work or pay tribute to bands we enjoy here and there. But going into this project I had no end goal, really, as far as what genre of music I was about to create. I just sat down with a mess of cheap synths and various other electronic instruments and threw these together without trying to really obtain any particular sound. I knew what I wanted it to feel like and I just focused on working with melodies Vanessa provided in her audio clips.”

Matic adds: “We both like a wider range of styles and we want to be able to tap into a bit of everything. I do really think we base it so loosely mostly on what we are feeling at the time.”

Of the six tracks featured on the EP, the pair believe it’s “Martyr,” with its hymnal-like glow, that most closely reflects Future of Horror in the project’s relative infancy. At just 2:19 runtime, there’s a haunted undertow that drones on in chant-like fashion, the type of composition that would close a film as the credits began to roll and the theatre lights slowly brightened. Matic describes it as “heavy and romantic sounding, dreamy and dystopian,” and it uncovers the deep connection between the two creatives.

“‘Martyr’ really reflects, tonally, how we are as a unit, and it was also the first song written on the album,” Camello says. ”Vanessa and I have a very deep connection that touches many different levels of human emotions. ‘Martyr’ is the track that really captures the essence of our relationship. It’s beautiful, but dark and cinematic.”

Like Future of Horror, it’s a sign of the times.

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