Jack Ladder aka Tim Rogers is the musical brain behind the soundtrack to the stomach-churning Australian sketch horror series Watch With Mother. If you haven’t seen the show, it’s a collection of horrifyingly terrific shorts that somehow manage to make you feel sick and still be super funny.
VICE is premiering the new video for the soundtrack’s closing song, “3 Stomachs/ No Weekend.” We spoke to Ladder about digging out lost auditory gems, setting the mood and making people vomit.
VICE: Is this the first soundtrack you've been involved in? If so, helming the whole damn thing's a nice place to start.
Jack Ladder: I almost had a song featured in a Samoan quest film but like most things, that never happened, so this is officially my first one. It was a big bite and I think we've got an enjoyable album out of it. I wanted it to be like The Singing Detective soundtrack. Something for long road trips in the car with mum.
Obviously this is a job for someone with an eclectic taste in music - you must have enjoyed digging some of this stuff out?
It's a strange thing because it's not always about what you like on a personal level. It's a selfless exercise and the directors had very specific ideas about the kinds of music they wanted to represent certain characters. The music playing on the radio was supposed to be this small town classic hits radio station, the difference being that they have an alternate set of classic hits. That's where the digging came in. We wanted it to feel familiar but needed the songs to be unfamiliar. So instead of Dragon there was Doug Owen. I've really come to love Doug Owen. If nothing else comes of this show I just hope that people start listening to Doug Owen.
Did you have the shows playing while you were on the farm recording? You know, for inspiration. Or does scary come easy to you?
I think scary is easy, anyone can do scary. You just play all the notes close together. The show isn't just scary there's a whole other set of feelings and moods going on and we didn't want to shut that off. I was thinking more about The Shaggs than John Carpenter. You know, scary in that semi-retarded / unsettling way. There's not a lot of dialogue so there was a huge place for the music to warp the feelings of the show. We ended up taking a lot of scary out in the end.
It can be a nice change of pace working to someone else's vision, instead of your own. True or false?
True. It's good to work for someone else occasionally. Sometimes I get tired of being the boss. I like to have deadlines and to work with different people with new tricks. Share the weight of the failure. It's nice to fail together. Not that this is a failure. This is a big win.
**The video made us feel like vomiting a little, which is kind of fitting given all the body fluids let loose in the show. Did you flinch at the gore in it? ** I'm glad you like the video. That was an idea Wilk (the director) had. It took us a couple of goes to do it. The first time we had the power generator inside his house and he fell over running in a circle onto the camera and cut himself up. I was just coughing and drunk on the fumes lying on the floor. There are a few scenes in Watch With Mother that don't let up no matter how many times we watch them.
There's plenty of killing, maiming - general terror. Did it give you any ideas on how you might finish someone off?
I prefer the tender moments in the show. I think at it's core it's a love story. Or several love stories interwoven. Loving to death.
But if you had to kill someone...
I'm no murderer but nothing says serial killer to me like the song "Bread & Butter" by the Newbeats.
Well it's always good to have a song prepared. Thanks Tim.