From the very first chance audiences had to catch a glimpse of Netflix series Stranger Things, there was intrigue. The trailer for the eight-part series first arrived back in June and the immediate consensus was that it resembled a 1980s throwback hybrid of Stephen King and Stephen Spielberg type lore. When the series was released, it quickly gained a dedicated viewership.
Aside from the engaging, well-paced storyline of Stranger Things and its wonderful characters, series creators The Duffer Brothers were meticulous about crafting a world that thrived on 1980s nostalgia. Right down to the show’s soundtrack, no detail was spared in the brothers’ efforts to bring just the right amount of tension into the finely crafted mix. The opening theme for the series is a superb reminder of this fact – one that lingers long after the credits have rolled.
As it turns out, that beloved Stranger Things theme song as well the series’ entire original score by experimental synth quartet S U R V I V E members Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, will be released in a two-volume set over the course of the next two months. The news comes to us via a Netflix press release that states volume one will be released digitally on August 12th, while the CD version will be released September 16th. Volume two will arrive digitally on August 19th and on CD September 23rd, 2016.
Synth quartet S U R V I V E have been making music together since 2009, when they formed in Austin, Texas. Beyond two of their members composing the Stranger Things soundtrack, the band has also contributed tracks to the 2014 Adam Wingard-directed thriller, The Guest. The Duffer Brothers had been fans of the band and as Kyle Dixon explains, S U R V I V E’s music was used in the show’s original pitch to Netflix:
“The directors were previously fans of S U R V I V E. They used a song from our first LP in a trailer they made to pitch their concept to Netflix. Once the show was picked up, they reached out to see if we were available to score the show.”
As with everything in Stranger Things, the directors knew what they wanted and this strict adherence to detail entered into the music beyond simply creating a moody synth score. Said Michael Stein:
“We discussed having a classic tone and feel to the music for the show – but being reserved enough that it wasn’t ’80s cheese – while offering a refreshing quality so that felt modern. This was one of the qualities that drew them to our music in the first place. Having a familiarity with classic synths worked, but with an overall forward thinking approach.”
At present there is no mention of plans for a vinyl release of the soundtrack, which would be sure to delight more than a few collectors out there. But if you want to hear more from the band, a trip over to their Bandcamp site will allow you to sample as well as purchase all their recordings.
With their newfound popularity thanks to Stranger Things, however, it’s very possible that S U R V I V E’s music will soon be popping up more often in future film and television productions.
Stranger Things season 1 is currently streaming on Netflix.