If you've turned down the lights, and listened to The Official HAUNTVAULT™ Mix on Spotify, you know we are pretty big fans of FIGURE. His music, also used in Halloween Horror Nights™ at Universal Studios Hollywood™ is often horror-inspired, and his deep cut remixes are truly the best. We listened to his MONSTER series of albums while building HAUNTVAULT™ to truly get us in the mood.
We caught up with FIGURE to pick his brain on how horror inspired him throughout his musical journey–
HAUNTVAULT: Since the early 2000’s, horror has played a large part in your albums and EP’s – from the Monster series that started in 2011 to now. What caused that inspiration?
FIGURE: I honestly think it a combination of the music and movies I grew up loving. I was lucky enough to hang around much older people in the skate scene when I was around 10, and I got introduced to the Misfits and White Zombie before middle school. All while my older cousins had been letting me watch horror movies that were way too overwhelming for a little dude that age, but I loved it all and became obsessed. I got to borrow tons of their VHS’s of Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, and tons of the typical household horror films you’d find in most homes back then. So the combination of those things basically became a day in and out thing for me and really sculpted my adolescence. Fast forward to when I started actually becoming a ‘professional’ musician … all of that stuff just made its way into things I made. The first Monster themed song I made was about the Phantom of the Opera .. and that was the epiphany. It didn’t feel as corny as most electronic music out at the time, that were all vocals about partying, it felt like I was actually making music that sounded like what was in my head.
HV: How did you and your music make their way into the Halloween Horror Nights™ event in Hollywood?
F: Maybe around 8/9 years ago, I started getting videos sent to me on social media of my songs being in random places in the park, it took a second for me to wrap my head around it all .. being that at that point, I'd never been to Horror Nights. The next year, John Murdy contacted me and brought up the idea of doing a Universal Monsters Maze but with my music, (My song Frankenstein in the Frankenstein room … My song Vampire’s in the Dracula room, etc.) I had some of the songs released already, but some were made just for the maze. I actually brought my mom that year for the opening!
HV: You’ve mentioned THE SHINING (1980) as your favorite scary movie. Has that changed? Still sticking by The Overlook Hotel?
F: Well, that's the quick answer I always give .. due to the fact of how much I actually have it on at the house. The Shining is one of my favorite comfort movies, the type of movie you put on that will help you get cozy in bed. I do love The Shining, but as of my favorite horror film .. probably not. That's such a hard question to answer, the answer changes with the wind. Right now I’ve been on a kick of scummy B movies like Doom Asylum, Violent Shit, The Mutilator, Kolobos, and all that stuff. Unless my girlfriend wants to watch something light, its horror movies on 24/7 in the house so gets tough to put my finger on one in particular.
HV: What’s your favorite haunted house you’ve been creatively part of?
F: The Universal Monsters Remix (2013) probably, when I combine the nostalgia of all the Creatures and Monsters in the maze... it just holds a different place in my heart. Last years Holidayz in Hell was really fun to work on, it’s challenging to make a scary song about the Easter Bunny or Cupid without phoning it in. I really want to do to a Haunted Asylum themed one!!
HV: Coming from Indiana, who seems to have a good amount of local haunts, what’s your overall favorite haunted house ever?
F: Oh man, there was one here in a (now demolished) MASSIVE mental hospital. The building looked like something from Gonjiam or Grave Encounters. Funny thing about haunts, my dad used to run one of the best ones here called Hollywood Haunt .. he would put Hollywood before all his companies names in an effort to ‘trick’ people from here to think it was fancy. He also used to be a DJ … I think it's in my blood seeing that I have still never met him and somehow I ended up doing the same thing! (I attached a pic from a local paper about it, below.)
HV: Quick Slice – Favorite slasher, and why?
F: I’m going to get shit for this, but Hatchet is one of my favorites. Of course, I love Micheal Myers, Jason, and all the classics … but Hatchet is just on another level when it comes to terror. Living in a swamp is such a good update to Jason and his lake. Leatherface is the end all be all badass to me, but right now .. Hatchet. It’s hard to not mention Frank Zito, the realness of Maniac just makes me feel sticky and I love the character for that.
HV: While creating your music, you mentioned that you often watch horror films while producing. Do you have any “go to” muse-style movies that really get your blood flowing?
F: Well, there is a balance, it has to be something I’ve seen before .. or I’ll end up just watching it. I have a wall in my studio I project on, so not only is it good for my hyper attention span is … but it provides spastic lighting that always matches the music. I love using Shudder TV for that, I don’t have to change DVDs or select what to stream next … it just keeps going.
HV: You’ve mentioned that your favorite monster is Frankenstein’s Monster, based off of the electric switch that gets flipped when you step on-stage. If Frankenstein was in front of you right now, what type of music/instrument do you think he’d go for?
F: I’d say he would probably go for the drums, he is so primal and drums are about as primal instinct as it gets. He would be an interesting lead singer I’m sure hah!
HV: Favorite track from any of the Monster series, and why?
F: The Exorcist or Suspiria holds a special place in my heart. Those are both semi newer tracks, but they sound like my older ‘drumstep’ tracks. Both of the original themes are just so classic, so going into covering those was very intimidating.
If you haven't already done so, definitely give FIGURE a listen you can find his entire collection on various outlets, including Spotify.