Look, I don’t know much about music. All I can really say is that you gotta go with what moves you, and this kind of stuff moves me.
When I write, I tend to listen music that fits the energy, the mood, the theme, what have you. So, if I’m trying to be scary, then I’ll listen to something dark, ambient. In the case of Foodchain, I listened to a lot of heavy metal. It definitely wasn’t the more extreme end of things, bands like Napalm Death, Morbid Angel, and Pig Destroyer. If you’re looking for the most brutal stuff out there, then you’re in the wrong place. I’m definitely on the melodic side of metal. I don’t pay much attention to the lyrics, either. I don’t give a damn if the lyrics are in another language (well, as long as it isn’t French.) It has to be aggressive, sure, it’s not stuff you’d ordinarily hear on your local classic rock radio station; but for me it’s all about the tune.
Back in the late-nineties, there was this awesome comic called SCUD about this cool robot assassin that was supposed to self-destruct once the job was finished. But this SCUD, he puts his first job, a squid monster thing that only speaks in movie quotes, on life-support. Then he goes out freelancing.
In most of the issues there was a suggested soundtrack.
I thought this was a brilliant idea.
A few rules, though.
As I read the novel now, I’m realizing that metal probably isn’t the best soundtrack. Foodchain is more of a western, so if you’re kicking back with it, I’d probably suggest some Ennio Morricone. However, if you’re interested in how the novel took shape, then read on.
Also, I promised myself to limit the list to ten songs, and not to overthink things. My “Metal” playlist has just about 350 songs, and if I thought about it for very long, this list would keep shifting forever.
So this is my current list, as of 11:36 PM on March 6th:
1. In the first scene of the book, a couple of mob guys are tossing a couple of sorry bastards into a tank full of hungry alligators. So first up, we have a song by 3 Inches of Blood, but I didn’t hear it until the novel was finished. It fit a little too perfect to exclude—it’s epic (over seven minutes), starts slow and then just builds and builds, there’s some catchy as hell riffs, and then there’s the title: "Execution Tank." Crank this sucker up and read the first chapter and tell me it doesn’t fit like a glove. Go on, I dare ya.
2. “Rock You Like a Hurricane” by the Scorpions, since this is playing when I introduce the clowns.
3. “Deaf Forever” by Motorhead. Just ‘cause it’s fucking Lemy, man.
4. “Drink Till I Die” by Bad News.
5. “Pestilence” by Himsa.
6. “Dominion” by High on Fire.* That’s right, baby. Another song over 7 minutes, and it kicks ass.
7. “Awaken” by Dethklok.
8. “Human Strain” by Slayer. Another one that came out after I wrote it, but I listened to this endlessly when I was reading the ARCs and looking for mistakes. So if you find mistakes, um, blame Slayer.
9. “Painkiller” by Judas Priest.
10. “The Hero” by Amon Amarth. Honestly, this could have been pretty much anything by Amon Amarth. I fucking love this band. This particular song though, seemed to fit Frank, the main character; when they get to the chorus, growling “I know who I am. I am an evil man,” hell, that stomped on the gas when I was writing the ending.
*I couldn't find a good link for this particular song, so I included a link to one of their newer songs. I think you'll get the idea.