Ian Hultquist on The Walking Dead: Dead City’s stripped-down sound

Ian Hultquist, The Walking Dead: Dead City

Welcome to Right on Cue, the podcast where we interview film, TV, and video game composers and hear select commentaries from some of the score’s most important tracks.

Much like the zombies that infest its world, the Walking Dead franchise simply refuses to die. With Dead City, the shambling hordes make their way to the island of Manhattan, an urban hellscape now infested with the remnants of a dead civilization. And in the middle, two of the original Walking Dead‘s main characters, Maggie and Negan, on a rescue mission that’ll test their fractious relationship with each other.

The Walking Dead: Dead City Soundtrack, Music by Ian Hultquist

While Bear McCreary’s more mournful, orchestral sound personified the original series, composer Ian Hultquist sought a newer, more electronic sound, one more reminiscent of John Carpenter’s work on Escape from New York (another thriller about characters trying to survive in a walled-off Manhattan). In addition to those ominous synths, Hultquist also made use of a suite of organic sounds of unique provenance, including recruiting friends to travel to the Maine wilderness to collect all manner of sounds.

Together, we talk about that sense of sonic experimentation, how Hultquist wanted to move the franchise’s sound forward, and the importance of building a sonic palette to work from when composing electronic scores. (We also have exclusive track commentaries from Hultquist on the cues “The Croat” and “The Truth.”)

You can find Ian Hultquist at his official website.

The Walking Dead: Dead City is currently airing on AMC and AMC+. You can also listen to the score on your preferred music streaming service courtesy of Milan Records.

CategoriesRight on Cue
Clint Worthington

Clint Worthington is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Spool, as well as one of the founders of the website/podcast Alcohollywood in 2011. He is also a Senior Writer at Consequence of Sound, as well as the co-host/producer of Travolta/Cage. You can also find his freelance work at IndieWire, UPROXX, Syfy Wire, The Takeout, and Crooked Marquee.

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