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LISTEN: New Rachel Zeffira Tracks
Christian Eede , December 6th, 2018 13:57

Rachel Zeffira of Cat's Eye shares three tracks from her forthcoming soundtrack for the film Elizabeth Harvest

Early next year, Invada Records will release the soundtrack for the upcoming film Elizabeth Harvest, which has been put together by Cat's Eyes' Rachel Zeffira.

The film premiered earlier this year at SXSW and follows the newlywed protagonist on a journey of self-discovery. It's Zeffira's second experience writing music for a film following on from her work on Peter Strickland's The Duke of Burgundy in 2015. She goes into more detail on that and her work on Elizabeth Harvest in a short Q&A below.

Invada Records will release Rachel Zeffira's Elizabeth Harvest soundtrack digitally and on vinyl on January 25.

How did you come to be involved with Elizabeth Harvest?

Rachel Zeffira: I was really lucky that my first experience writing a film score was The Duke of Burgundy. After it came out, I started to receive quite a few film scripts - but not many were as special as Peter Strickland's script - until Sebastian got in touch. He was introduced to me as "the writer of 'Snakes on a Plane'" (which I hadn't seen) so I really didn't know what to expect. It was the best script I'd read in ages, and a brilliant retelling of Bluebeard. I was even more excited when I received the first cut of the film. Sebastian had put a lot of thought into the temp music alone - and the whole film was so original,  and so clever that I knew I would still enjoy it and be discovering new things if I watched it hundreds more times.  

Abbey Lee - who plays one of the lead roles -  was also in Chris Cunningham's commercial for Gucci a few years ago. Faris and I were living at his house at the time and there were some rough polaroids of her on the wall which is a weird connection - now she's on the cover of my album.

The soundtrack features lots of different musical styles. Why did you want to do that especially with this film? Was it a challenge to write a cohesive soundtrack?

RZ: When I’m writing a soundtrack it’s very different to writing an album - the film and the director dictate the direction that the music goes and the end result is less about me. The priority is creating pieces that highlight the right moments in the film, and the continuity in the score comes naturally from the atmosphere of the film itself. You almost don’t really know how the score is going to flow together as an album until it’s finished.

For Elizabeth Harvest, I knew that my classical background would enter, partly because the main character, Henry (played by Ciaran Hinds), is a lover of Satie. There is a Sarabande by the composer that Henry particularly likes and plays for Elizabeth. From the moment he introduces the Sarabande in the film - it becomes an underlying musical theme, gradually becoming more and more unhinged.  

In the meantime, for Elizabeth's theme - I wanted to play off of the fact that she is cloned six times. I used patterns of six and mimicked the script when it came to her theme: I experimented with it, cut it into pieces, rebuilt it, and mutilated it.

How has your approach to writing soundtracks evolved?

RZ: I definitely learned a lot from this soundtrack. I work best under pressure but this project was another level - there was so much music to write and record that the engineer and I thought we were losing our minds from sleep deprivation. We were living on Yum Yums and leaving at 6am every morning. The studio was in a cemetery and one night when we finished late, it was completely still and pitch black other than one light that was on in the crematorium. We were so tired, we thought we were hallucinating - but the next day we found out that someone really was in there burning the midnight oil, or the mortal coil, or something like that.