Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

Spencer Hickman Of Death Waltz Records’ Favourite Horror Soundtracks

Spencer Hickman founded and runs Death Waltz Records, a label that puts out classic and obscure horror soundtracks in mouthwatering vinyl reissue packages. In a Baker’s Dozen Halloween Special, he chooses his favourite OSTs for us

The records we put out are really desirable objects. Because I’ve always worked in record shops, I always want our releases to be the best. I read an article yesterday that said that Death Waltz is the gold standard for reissue labels and that’s really flattering, because I always wanted it to be good, but now I think we’ve really nailed it with records like The Fog. You could hit a burglar with that record and kill him. It weighs a kilogram!

We’ve got a subscription for 300 people who pay up front for six releases and they get an extra goodies thrown in for free. I like to change the sleeve and change the idea for each subscription which is why we changed the art from the original LaserDisc/VHS-inspired covers to the full bleed. We’ve now changed from the black sleeves and gone for this off white, 70s-style sleeve. Also, I wanted to do booklets as well as posters. And it turns out that that’s a good idea but then you can’t get them in the fucking sleeve… there’s too much stuff to fit into the sleeve. So my manufacturers went off this week and they’ve designed a record jacket especially for Death Waltz. Which is fucking bonkers. It’s really thick, it’s got two thick card ridges at the top and the bottom and it houses everything. So I’m sat there going, “Wow, I’ve now got my own bespoke record sleeve.” It’s fucking nuts man. I want people to get these records and be like, “Fuck!” Because that’s what I want to be like when I get a record. When I get a record I want to pore over it. That’s what I was like when I was a kid. My dad bought me the Star Wars soundtrack when I was eight years old. It was gatefold, it had a poster and I used to sit and listen to that album, while I was staring at the poster spread out on the floor. And I think that influenced what I always wanted to do with the label.

At the moment I’m doing some Death Waltz reissues because I’ve just changed distributor to Republic Of Music. We’ve repressed some small bits for them and then they’re handling our new releases which are The New York Ripper, directed by Lucio Fulci with a score by Francesco De Masi. It’s a really awesome score. You think about that film and you think that score is going to be horrible but it’s a classic funky score. We’re doing Room 237, the Kubrick Shining documentary. Those guys sent me the score about two years ago and I just fell in love with it, it’s awesome. William Hutson and Jonathan Snipes. The score is very Tangerine Dream, it’s very Carpenter-esque. It’s got a lot of krautrock elements in it. We’ve got Assault On Precinct 13, which like The Fog is fully director approved. And John [Carpenter] has given us sleeve notes and Clint Mansell has given us sleeve notes as well because it’s his favourite score. Austin Stoker who starred in it has given us sleeve notes so it’s a pretty hefty package.

Full disclosure, for this Baker’s Dozen, I’ve chosen some soundtracks that I’ve put out, some that I’m going to put out and some that I’d love to put out if the master tapes were ever found again but I guess when you set up a label to release your favourite ever soundtracks, then some of them are going to end up on your favourite ever soundtrack list.

Head to Death Waltz Records’ website for their full catalogue. Click on his image below to begin scrolling through his choices

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