Interview: Slash creating music for cosmic horror film The Breach

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke to the rock ‘n’ roll legend slash about his work on the horror film The Breach. Slash spoke about working on films, collaborating with Michael Jackson and appearing in Guitar Hero 3. The Breach is available now digitally and via video-on-demand platforms.

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke to the rock ‘n’ roll legend slash about his work on the horror film The Breach. Slash spoke about working on films, collaborating with Michael Jackson and appearing in Guitar Hero 3. The Breach is available now digitally and via video-on-demand platforms.

“John Hawkins counts down his final days as police chief in the small town of Lone Crow and must investigate one final case when a mutilated body with eerie wounds washes up on the banks of the Porcupine River,” reads the film’s synopsis.


Tyler Treese: Can you tell me how this all came about and how you got the opportunity to executive produce the music for The Breach?

Slash: When it comes to producing, one of the charms of producing is that you can get involved with the music, so that’s almost a requirement. When I produce something I want to have something to do with the music because I’m a musician (laughs). Anyway, with The Breach I really liked the story and we got into it, so I told Rodrigo (Gudiño, director) that I definitely wanted to write some tunes for it, but I don’t want to score the whole film. It’s one of those things where I don’t have the resources to sit still for that long and score an entire movie. So I like working with other composers so I can give them an idea and then they can actually take care of the instrumentation and we can kind of work on it together, but they can do the heavy lifting because I just don’t have the patience for it.

So I wrote a lot of stuff for this piece and then Andrew Thomas Hunt, one of the producing partners, introduced me to a guy called Aybars Altay, who is the composer. And Aybars and I communicated – it was all during the Covid-19 period, so it was all done over some sort of long-distance phone call – and he and I communicated via email and sending footage back and forth. I had my ideas and how he interpreted those ideas and back and forth. And so we finally came up with something that I thought sounded really cool. So that was the intro and a few other parts of the movie. Then there are a couple of scenes that I only recorded on a single acoustic guitar that were integrated into other parts of the film that I actually timed to coincide with the daytime shots (laughs), so that’s kind of the process

What was special about the music for a film compared to more traditional songwriting? Because they really are there to elevate the story and complement what’s happening on screen.

Yes, even as a songwriter, I’m more of a composer than a songwriter. With certain song arrangements I’m really piecing together musical ideas, but I’m really thinking about how the music comes into play on its own and not what the vocals are. I don’t necessarily sing along, but when I’m working on something that’s not scripted, visuals, or both, I’m using a completely different part of my musical mind. It’s a different part of me than writing for a record for a rock band. I’m starting to base everything on my visual imagination of what the story is and how it looks in my head. And I’m starting to come up with these ideas, and it’s really something new to me because obviously I’ve only just started with that… the first film I worked on was in 2013.

I love it when you match the right piece of music with the right image, even if it’s a band’s pre-recorded song on a soundtrack. But when paired with the right optics, it’s the ultimate entertainment experience. So being able to write to a concept of a story, musically, captures a whole different part of my imagination. And it’s loads of fun to do.

That’s great. I saw on one Reddit AMA that you said that you heard a lot of film music. Are there certain composers or film scores that really influenced you?

To the right. Well I said Ennio Morricone who was someone I’ve always loved. He also directed The Thing, one of John Carpenter’s films. It was one of my favorite horror film scores. But he’s also done a lot of great spaghetti westerns and stuff. I really like Han Zimmer and I have to say I love John Williams – one of my favorite film composers of all time.

But there are some unknown people who just made these really great scores that… they aren’t household names and I can’t remember the name of the girl who won an award for The Joker (Hildur Guðnadóttir), but that particular score was fantastic. Then Jonny Greenwood’s score for There Will Be Blood was great. Sitting here and thinking about it, I could give you hundreds of different scores that are truly amazing. But these are a few that spring to mind.


The movie starts off with this body being found and there is a slow burn but by the end we experience fantastic body horror. What was it like building that tension with your music and supporting the narrative in that way?

It’s not something that’s been thought about a lot in advance. That that body in the water was one of those tense moments where the boat is floating down the river and the group of picnickers see it and then they spot it, they’re horrified and they come screaming. For that I wrote a specific riff and then I collaborated with Aybars to build something like that. So it wasn’t a conscious effort, “We’re going to build this,” it was just a natural thing. It just made sense for that. I think that as the film progresses, you just get a sense of what’s happening without even realizing it. You just go with what feels like, you know?

Rock music and horror have always belonged together as genres. In between is a gel that is simply a natural fit. Why do you think these genres go so well together?

I have a theory on this… I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that horror and rock ‘n’ roll have a kindred spirit. They are a soul mate because they are both rebellious. They’re both antisocial in a way. Both use individualistic thinking and disturbing social comments and themes (laughs). They are a perfect match. They just work, you know? But I also think that this great classic obviously works with horror, but with a lot of horror movies, especially modern ones – especially when you’re dealing with teenage stuff and slasher stuff and hectic stuff like that – rock ‘n’ roll lends itself really well to that because there’s a certain energy that supports that. I could theorize about this as much as I want, but there’s definitely a connection. I don’t know why fusion jazz works for porn though. (laughs).

That’s a great question. They also had a cameo appearance as a DJ in the movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer. How did that happen?

You know, it’s so funny to bring this up. I did not know that. I forgot. I don’t even know when that was done. I don’t know what state of mind I was in because I was reminded of this a few months ago. I had completely forgotten about it and still don’t remember actually doing it.


One thing you probably remember is your great collaboration with Michael Jackson. How did you find Michael as a collaborator? You worked so well together.

Mike just does his thing and he does it so incredibly well. I mean, he just radiates something… it just comes out of him and he just let me do my thing. So I just did what came naturally to me and he just let me speak – that was basically it. Again, there wasn’t much foresight. When I was doing Give In To Me, I went into the studio (and) met with Michael for about 15 minutes. He went to dinner and I worked with the producer, just put guitars on the thing and left. Then Michael heard it and I got a call back the next day. “Love it. It’s great.” So it wasn’t what you would call a “real” collaboration, it was just like, “Do your thing, Slash.” (Laughs). Such a deal.

It’s pretty incredible that an artist like this would give you so much confidence and approval like they know you do it best.

It was. During that time in the 90’s it grew into a lot of live performances and stuff like that. I guess he kind of understood what he thought my trip was about and just let me do my thing. So for me it was great because I loved working with Michael because he’s such phenomenal talent and I probably wouldn’t have been thrilled if he tried to adapt me to another person or another style or whatever and that probably never would have happened.


You are the focus of the Guitar Hero 3 video game and it really brought a lot of people back to the different aspects of rock music at the time and was hugely popular. Did you feel like playing this game introduced you to a whole different audience?

There are some funny Guitar Hero stories. I mean, when Guitar Hero first came out, I stayed away from it. I didn’t want anything to do with it. It just looked like a silly toy, didn’t it? And so, on the second edition of Guitar Hero, there was one on the Gibson tour bus and I had a meeting on the Gibson tour bus and my kids were with me. My children were – I don’t even know what year that was – but they were quite young. So we took them to the back lounge and they played there and I said, ‘Oh, here, look at this.’ And I set it up so they could play it. And I was like, “Oh, that’s actually kinda cool!” I know all those songs. What is that?” (laughs).

Due to my interest, Guitar Hero contacted me shortly after and got me to contribute to Guitar Hero 3. So I did the motion capture video with them and all that to be a character in the game and they ended up putting me on the box. So through this game I got to know a bunch of kids, all under 10 years old. I was actually visiting a producer friend of mine one night and when I went there his kid came out of the dressing room and freaked out when he saw me because he couldn’t believe the guy on the box was actually a real person – he was going insane! And I’ve remembered that ever since. I had never experienced that. (laughs). So it was an interesting new reality, this Guitar Hero period.