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Interview with Buzz-Works on the Zombie Influx CD

While there are plenty of musicians putting out “spooky music” CDs for individual listeners and the Haunt industry, the 2009 Zombie Influx CD release by Buzz-Works advances the art form another step by creating a terrifyingly realistic experience of a potential apocalypse. Imagine taking a plot detour in Dawn of the Dead and just channel-surfing for a while among the news reports, riot alerts, refugee instructions, and massacre coverage of a zombie takeover. Bind that with a movie score-style background music by top-of-their-field musicians Nox Arcana and that’s where the CD takes you. Buzz of Buzz-Works took some time to talk with Jedediah Smith of Mystic Skull about the CD.

Jedediah Smith for Mystic Skull: Just from the 19 titles on the Zombie Influx CD, it's apparent that there is a story arc to the tracks. What is the plot behind the Influx?

Buzz: Zombie Influx follows the progression of a zombie outbreak. It tells the story with atmospheric sound effect driven tracks as well as Government announcements and musical orchestrations.

MS: This CD is a cooperative project between the members of Nox Arcana, musicians known for their lush, cinematic gothic scores, and Buzz-Works, which is more visually oriented. How did this partnership come about?

Buzz: has been business associates with Monolith Graphics which is Nox Arcana's parent company since 1998. Buzz-works has also been the band’s sales presence at Haunt industry trade shows as well Horror Movie Cons and other events since the initial cd. I had proposed the idea to the band to produce a much more sound effect driven CD which was a departure from their much more orchestrated musical style. We put our heads together and came up with the zombie outbreak theme drivcen by my obsession with zombies and George Romero films in particular. Christine Filipak of Monolith Graphics deserves a lot of credit for her work on the content of the CD artwork and backstory which is truly amazing!

MS: What kind of instrumentation is at work on the album and who plays what?

Buzz: As I mentioned this project was much more sound effect driven and I concentrated on the moody, droning, zombie tracks as well as providing the voice-overs for the government announcements. Joseph Vargo tackled the orchestrated tracks which were terrific and compliment the others very well.

MS: Nox Arcana often adds ambient sounds to their music, but the Zombie Influx CD really takes this to a whole new level with a collage of sirens, news broadcasts, megaphone emergency announcements, and other sound effects. What was the inspiration for this approach?

Buzz: We were inspired by George Romero's Zombie films and [Orson Welles’] "War of the Worlds" Radio-show style.

MS: What kind of emotional impact are you hoping for from listeners?

Buzz: It is great to hear people say they could visualize the entire progression throughout the CD with all aspects producing this imagery, as well as say it really creates the dread of a zombie outbreak. It is also satisfying to see the eyes light up on Professional and Home Haunters when they can hear the possibilities.

MS: You have described this CD as a tribute to the films of Romero and Raimi. Since Buzz-Works is all about visual arts, is there a possibility of any kind of film production in the future?

Buzz: Buzz-works is currently in pre-production of a short video that will incorporate a few songs from the CD and will shoot in the next 2 months.

MS: Are there any plans for a sequel—either a continuation of this zombie invasion or another music CD with Nox Arcana?

Buzz: There have been creative sessions to hash out ideas as well as a theme, but this will not become the focus till Nox Arcana has completed their current project Theater of Illusion. I look forward to doing another zombie themed CD but this will be at the right time for all involved.

Read more about the Zombie Influx CD at Buzz-Works' website.