Interview with Z NATION Composer Jason Gallagher

We had the chance to interview Jason Gallagher, composer of SyFy’s new zombie show Z Nation.

Music is an integral part of a movie or television show. It helps set the tone of the scenes and can heighten the energy.

Gallagher shares some insight into what goes into scoring Z Nation. Keep reading for our interview:

What is your favorite part about scoring Z Nation?

Definitely the ridiculous ways they kill zombies on the show. I think I laughed out loud the first time I saw that zombie take a blender to the face. It helps keep things light when I’m in the middle of a long scoring session.

You sang the song “Have Mercy” that closed the first episode of the Z Nation. How did that come about? What has been your process of creating the key themes needed for this show?

The show runner Karl Shaefer and I discussed some ideas for the opening theme song. Oddly enough, me singing it was not one of them. I gave him a bunch of options that were all cool, but the “Have Mercy” version seemed to fit best. They give people “mercy” in the show a lot, and I thought it sounded like the lyrics of an old soul song.

I start a lot of ideas on guitar and work from there. It’s really the only instrument I don’t have to think about playing. Then it’s a combination of what I feel the scene needs versus what the director or producers want. Luckily, they line up a lot.

You played a Keith Richards character in one of the episodes. What was the best part of doing this?

Definitely the cast and crew. They were the best. And maybe the actor lifestyle I got to live for two days. Hanging with the makeup girls, napping in my trailer, being escorted all over the set. I think I got the acting bug.

Are you a zombie film fan? If so, what is one that sticks out most in your head?

One of my favorite movies is 28 Days Later. I spent a solid two weeks watching the scariest movies I could find, at night, in the dark, alone in my apartment. That one made me stop doing that. Also, the remake of Dawn of the Dead is a favorite because my buddy Michael Kelly (ex-member of my band Leroy Justice) shoots a ton of zombies in it.

Your songs have been featured on shows such as Criminal Minds and Universal Soldier: Regeneration. What has been your favorite project to work on so far?

Z Nation has been a highlight for me because of the huge challenge it presented me. I’ve never scored an entire series, and I was super excited to come up with a sound that would help create a mood for the show. It was intimidating and rewarding in the end.

If you could only play one instrument for the rest of your life, what would it be?

That’s an easy one. I’m a guitar player and always have been. But if I could rock something else it would be drums. I think everyone wants to be John Bonham at some point in their lives.

The Z Nation season one finale is December 5. Anything fans should look forward to in particular? Can you give anything away?

I think the best way to describe the finale is with the same note the producers gave me for the score: even more. It’s such a great episode that John Hyams directed. All I can say is it’ll make you wish season two wasn’t so far away!

Have you been watching Z Nation? What do you think of the shows score?

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Jim Napier

Jim Napier

Jim has been a self-proclaimed super geek ever since he got his first computer all the way back in 1992– and he has been ‘plugged in’ ever since. Fed by a steady diet of movies as a kid, he has expanded to new platforms to fuel his inner geek! Movies continue to feed Jim’s creative side, while technology is constantly changing and creating new toys that woo and draw him in!