A Hollywood heartthrob, his acting buddy and a massive children choir put together a concept album about ghosts, ghoulies and things that go bump in the night. Trick or treat?
Fear not for Dead Man’s Bones is not an awful gimmick to increase box office tickets sales but a collaborative effort between actors Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson, The Believer, The Notebook) and Zach Shields. The goth folk duo are joined by the Silverlake Conservatory Children’s Choir – the Los Angeles music education facility co-founded by Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
With their ages ranging from 5 to 17, the choir is responsible for adding some charming harmonies to Gosling and Shields’ compositions. You might have already seen their youtubes for ‘In the Room Where You Sleep‘ and ‘Name In Stone‘, where the singing-actors lead the kids, whom are all dressed in Halloween costumes, through their hallow acoustic numbers and a graveyard.
Creepy yet catchy, Dead Man’s Bones sound like a pre-school Arcade Fire that doesn’t take itself too seriously. However, this project is a labour of love for Gosling and Shields who have apparently been working on it for the past 2 years.
When questioned on the involvement of the children’s choir by Pitchfork, Gosling explained, “We’d rather see a high school play as opposed to a Broadway show any day. Not that Broadway shows aren’t great, but there’s just something about a high school play… you’re not distracted by the achievements, you get to watch the process, the will to make something.”
He continued, “You know when you’re a kid and you get crayons and papers and just draw whatever you want and it’s just a bunch of messy lines, but to you it makes sense, and then they put it on the fridge? From that point on, you’re always trying to get back on the fridge… We wanted to get back to that place before we were trying to make the fridge. We wanted to work with people who hadn’t been affected in that way yet.”
Strangely, the kids took in their ideas without hesitation despite some of the lyrics touching on death. In fact, as Gosling said, “It wasn’t weird enough” for the precocious children. The recording process was also stripped down to reveal their honest musical limitations. Among the rules set by the duo were: no recording with click tracks or electric guitars, no more than 3 takes and no help from professional musicians.
Dead Man’s Bones will be releasing their album this month (just in time for Halloween). Expect spooky doo wop chants, handclaps and loads of fun in a Disney-gone-mad way. Boo!
Dead Man’s Bones self-titled debut album is out now on Anti-Records. If your morbid curiousity can’t wait, then creep over to www.myspace.com/deadmansbones.