Welcome back to the Spool’s weekly interview podcast, More of a Comment, Really…, where editor-in-chief Clint Worthington talks to actors, filmmakers, composers and other figures from the realm of film and television.
At its heart, Ben Hozie‘s tingly, complicated Internet drama PVT CHAT (read our review here) is about connection or our lack thereof — even as it’s disguised as a lurid De Palma-esque thriller about a lonely young man named Jack (Peter Vack) who finds himself enamored with his favorite online dominatrix, Scarlet (Julia Fox, keeping up her New York bona fides after her big breakout in the Safdie Brothers’ Uncut Gems). He’s an insecure, pathological liar convinced that all human interactions are transactional; she’s a cam girl who traffics in those very same transactions but occasionally lets her guard down when it comes to Jack. The two need each other in some ineffable way, even as the intricacies of their relationship aren’t quite like the typical love story.
And indeed, there’s something of the Safdies’ loose, improvisational energy in PVT CHAT, NYC musician and filmmaker Hozie taking a fly-by-night documentary approach to Jack and Scarlet’s deeply unconventional romance, one which gets them in as much trouble as it flirts with the struggle to find personal fulfillment.
Anchoring Hozie’s curious mix of screwball romantic comedy and post-modern 21st century Internet age treatise is the minimalist, experimental score by music producer (and friend of Hozie) Austin Brown of Parquet Courts. Brown’s score is sparsely threaded throughout PVT CHAT and its modest 88-minute run time, but where it lands it has an impact: yearning guitars layer over Scarlet and Jack’s more intimate moments, while Carpenter-esque synths punctuate the moments where their dynamic most threatens to crack.
This week, I sit down with Austin about crafting the sparse score for the film, the times when the first-time composer wanted to go big, and the family affair of NYC’s indie music scene coming together to create a feature film.
Listen to our podcast interview with Austin Brown, and listen to the PVT CHAT soundtrack on Austin’s Bandcamp page here.