An Interview with Emmy Nominated Composer Silas Hite. - Interview

Silas Hite definitely has his hands full with work. The Emmy nominated composer, who has worked on successful projects like Ramona & Beezus,” “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” and “Eureka” also has put together a band called Hellbeast of the Night. He recently stopped by to talk about his new band.

Q – You’re mostly known for your composing for television, commercials and film, including scores in “Ramona & Beezus,” “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” and the theme song to “Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get A Clue!” Your new band is called Hellbeast of the Night. Aside from you, it includes your wife and bassist, Lisa Hite and drummer Jeff Friedl. Why did you decide to put this band together?

A - I'm kind of a music junkie. I write songs in lots of different genres. I'm always working on a few albums of different material at the same time. Some days I wanna rock, some days I want to write tangos. With Hellbeast of The Night, the music comes from a place where Lisa and I's musical interests overlap. We both like a lot of different music, but for this band we draw specifically from our mutual love of heavy yet catchy bands like The Dead Weather, Queens of The Stone Age and The White Stripes. In general, rock songs that make you want to dance is something we both gravitate toward.

Q – Where did the name come from?

A - A few bottles of wine. It just popped out and we knew we had to make a band worthy of such a great name. It's been interesting though because the name sounds like we are a death metal band! A little misleading...

Q – The band’s debut EP, “Bump in The Night,” combines funk, dance and pop. How would you describe Hellbeast of the Night’s sound?

A - Dirty guitars, sexy bass lines and heavy drums – music to make you move.

Q – The theme of the EP revolves around vices and poor choices. For someone who makes a living composing for children’s shows and commercial audiences, how did you make the decision to write about topics that aren’t child friendly?

A - Well, I have certainly done my fair share of kids’ shows, which are a lot of fun, but it's really only a fraction of my career. I've also contributed music to "Blue Mountain State," "Eureka," and plenty of other TV shows and films aimed at older audiences. Hell, I even wrote a song called "Balls Deep" for "Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist." I think they had to change it to "Go Deep" for the censors, actually. But I also record and produce other bands and singer-songwriters, so I'm really kind of all over the place, musically.


As far as Hellbeast's lyrical content, Lisa and I work together on that and for the most part we focus on the struggles of the flesh, temptation and vices. At the time we got together romantically, we were living pretty wild lives. Then all of a sudden we were trying to reconcile falling deeply in love with going out and parting like wild beasts. Also, shortly after getting together, she sold her house, moved cross country; we got married and immediately quit our jobs. I left Mark Mothersbaugh's music house to become a freelance composer and she quit her job to be a writer. Neither of us really wanted to give up our raucous lifestyles, but we also had to find a way to balance that with a whole new life. Trying to balance all of these radical changes with ripping it up every night led us to examine the struggles with vices that we had. It became really interesting to us, actually. So a lot of our lyrics draw from our past experiences and observations about them. Not condemning them, just commenting and using it as a common theme to pull inspiration from.

Q – You do a cover of Tom Waits’ song, “Bad As Me.” Fans can hear it on the band’s Facebook page. Why did you decide to cover Tom Waits and has he heard the band’s version? If so, what does he think?

A - I don't know if he has heard it yet, but we certainly hope that he does and finds it to be an entertaining tribute. We are big fans of his music and acting. We chose that song because as soon as we heard it, we felt like the lyrics came from the same world as ours. I mean, the chorus is "You're the same kind of bad as me." What a perfect line for Hellbeast of The Night.

Q – Will Hellbeast of the Night release a full-length album?

A - Yes, we are working on it right now, but Jeff has been locked down with Maynard Keenan lately. Our drummer, Jeff Friedl, is an old friend of mine from college. We both studied drumming together but he kept performing while I focused more on composing. Now he is a session drummer and tours with Puscifer, A Perfect Circle, Ashes Divide, DEVO, CSS…you name it! We are lucky to have him but it has definitely impacted our recording schedule. When he is not available, I play the drums myself, like on the Tom Waits cover, but it is always more fun for me to write him a part and have him come in and just kill it in the most beautiful way.

Q – Do you plan on taking the band on tour?

A - We are rehearsing the live show now. We've brought on another guitarist/keyboard player and found another drummer for when Jeff is busy. We are still looking for a percussionist. We would like to be playing regularly and have the full length record out by the beginning of 2012.

Q – In terms of film and television, what projects do you have lined up?

A - Right now, I've got a few things in the works but not much I am at liberty to discuss. I'm always looking for more interesting projects though! I like to have multiple projects at once. The busier I am the more creative I am. I just wrapped up a video game and I'm inevitably in the middle of a few commercial campaigns. They are fun because they are so quick. I'm also producing and writing a few other albums besides the Hellbeast one, so I keep plenty busy. I've also started doing illustrations for the LA Record, which is a local music newspaper here is LA. I do art shows a few times a year, pen and ink mostly, but I am looking to do more illustration work. It's interesting to have someone else dictate the subject matter sometimes.

Q – Thanks again for talking to me. Is there anything you wanted to add?

A - Sure. If you want to keep up with all things Hellbeast, you can "LIKE" us on Facebook here:
http://www.facebook.com/Hellbeastofthenight. If you are interested in my composing and artistic pursuits, you can check out: http://www.silashite.com/.


BYLINE:

Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous." Email Jason at jason@zoiksonline.com.
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