The Sounds of Your Nightmares

When composer, Mark Korven was contacted to do the score for another movie, he knew he needed something new. He knew that the theremin was a tad overused and tired, but he needed something equally as terrifying.

So, he did what he knew best – contact his good friend, Toronto-based luthier, Tony Duggan-Smith to make something brand new for him. Enter the Apprehension Engine!

“It was a two-week build from the moment Mark contacted me until it was finished.”

When asked how he goes about scoring anything in the horror genre, Korven said, “To build the suspense, the best way was by pulling things away and playing with different textures. And keeping it distant all the time by just playing with the orchestration of it to keep it interesting.”

The Build

This was a tough build for these gents. Duggan-Smith has spent his whole career building guitars (a beautiful instrument), and he was asked to make something that sounded terrifying! In our interview, Korven said, “the whole point was to make this as offensive as possible!” Duggan-Smith shot back, “You can imagine how difficult that was for me making guitars, when my whole life was making sounds to please people!”

You can see from the photo above that this doesn’t look like a typical instrument. In fact, I can’t even put my finger on what it DOES look like. Mark explained it a bit, “in the front we have stainless steel rulers. They are actual rulers! And I play them with a very short bow. And it creates various cycles of screeches.”

So where can you get one?

This generated a lot of buzz for the guys, Duggan-Smith told us, “As soon as this came out on Great Big Story, we had everyone reaching out to us and asking ‘how do I find one?’, ‘what does it cost?'”

Mark Korven said, “there is only one, but it’s about to have many babies!”

You’re going to want to check out this interview in full. Listen to Episode 2 of Season 5, here.


Liked it? Take a second to support Vanessa Azzoli on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Leave a Comment