The composer behind the eerie music in Us got his start in film because Jordan Peele got people to track him down.
Michael Abels sat down with BuzzFeed News hosts Saeed Jones and Stephanie McNeal on AM to DM to chat about how his relationship with Peele began, and he answered some burning questions about his music choices in Us.
“Jordan saw my concert orchestral music on YouTube before Get Out and he made the producers hunt me down and find me,” Abels said.
The content had about “a couple hundred hits, but one of them was Jordan Peele,” he added.
In the movie, which has so far made $90 million, the song “I Got 5 On It” by the hip-hop duo Luniz plays frequently throughout the movie, but it’s given a horror bent, which Abels said is exactly what Peele sought to do.
The composer said Peele had the song in the original draft of the script, and it’s “used in the beginning of the film as a way for you to get to know the family that’s at the center of the story.”
“Jordan loves taking something that you think of in one context and twisting it and putting it in another way that makes you never look at it or hear it the same way,” Abels said. “So that was his idea to really take it to the dark side.”
Abels, who also composed the music in Get Out, said “all music is really storytelling of a different type,” and intentionally wanted the song that opens the film — “Anthem” — to be an unnerving clue about things that happen in the movie.
The movie opens with a camera centered on a caged rabbit. The shot begins tight and opens up until you realize there are dozens and dozens of caged rabbits that look really creepy, all while the music of “Anthem” gets more intense.
“There’s people and they’re organizing and they’re not happy,” Abels said of the song. “It’s really kind of a battle rally and you feel that evil energy building behind the music. It’s a multicultural march.”
For anyone who has seen the film, this is a huge clue because ***spoiler alert*** in the end, we see that there’s an entire population of people who look like us and who live underground and subsist on nothing but rabbits. And they later organize and wreak havoc on their aboveground counterparts.
Scary stuff indeed.
Watch the complete interview below: