Colin Stetson Used Hog Grunt Recordings In His 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' Score

It's the perfect way to give the music an "animalistic quality"
Colin Stetson Used Hog Grunt Recordings In His 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' Score
Photo (left): Craig Zirpolo
Colin Stetson's latest film score comes into the world with the arrival of David Blue Garcia's Texas Chainsaw Massacre on Netflix February 18, and in his latest bit of sonic exploration, the sax man found a surefire way to add some meat to the bones of his compositions: incorporating the sound of grunting hogs.

Stetson shared details of the hog help in conversation with Variety, saying of the project, "I knew it would be an opportunity to go as far as I wanted in searching for the musical score."

In creating his score — also arriving February 18, via Milan Records — he first brought one of his woodwind instruments together with a Tibetan singing bowl in an almost Texas Chainsaw Massacre-like fashion.

"I took my bass saxophone and an old Tibetan singing bowl and I taped it over it over the top of the saxophone to create a seal. What you get is scraping and high growl scream that still feels like music," Stetson shared, adding, "It would come back around and around; that makes its way through all permutations in the cues."

The hog noises came into play when Stetson wrote a motif for serial killer Leatherface, wanting it "to feel like a massive machine was being fired back up again, someone had put diesel in him and you feel the dust coming off."

To achieve that, he combined his saxophone recordings with the grunts, explaining, "I stretched those out to meld with low bass instruments to give them an animalistic quality." The profile adds that Stetson similarly manipulated the sound of a turkey call used for hunting.

While Stetson did not disclose how many hogs were included on the recording, we wager that 30 to 50 of them is a safe bet.

Ahead of Stetson's score arriving, "Every Last One" can be heard below. The artist told Variety that the song "sounds like fluffy bass guitars. But it's coming from pristine woodwind instruments."

Last year, Stetson shared his soundtrack for La Peur, the 2015 film from Damien Odoul, and his soundtrack 2013's Blue Caprice with Sarah Neufeld. In 2020, he released Color Out of Space (More Music From the Motion Picture), The War Show (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) and Deliver Us (Original Series Soundtrack), all via Milan Records

Stetson's most recent studio album as a bandleader remains All This I Do for Glory, which Exclaim! named one of the Best Improv & Avant-Garde Albums of 2017.