"I'm really proud of it," composer and lyricist Duncan Sheik tells EW.
Patrick Bateman is about to make Broadway bloody. Based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis and 2000 cult film starring Christian Bale, American Psycho: The Musical begins previews March 24 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, following an acclaimed sold-out run in London. In anticipation of the show’s Broadway debut, EW is excited to share a full stream of the original London cast recording below.
The creative mind behind the show’s music and lyrics is singer-songwriter Duncan Sheik, who wrote the music for the 2007 Tony Award winning Broadway hit Spring Awakening. As Sheik told EW, the journey from a teenage rock musical to a show about a serial killer wasn’t without a learning curve.
“I wrote Spring Awakening between 1999 and 2006, and during that time I was still making what you would call kind of mostly organic, alternative indie rock albums with some string arrangement and different kinds of orchestrations, but mostly acoustic and organic orchestrations with some synthesizers here and there,” Sheik says. “And basically starting in 2009, I started to kind of get interested in using more technology in my music making process and I made this album of 80’s covers, and then I did a remix album of the 80’s covers.”
These bands, like Depeche Mode and New Order, were what helped spur Shiek’s creative mind when it came to putting down the music for American Psycho. “I re-read the book and I realized this would be really amazing if the band in the pit were Depeche Mode or four people and synthesizers and drum machines… just a complete different sound from acoustic guitars and base quartets,” he says. “And then as I worked on the show over the course of the past five years I started getting deeper and deeper into software as a way of making cool electronic music. That became the platform on which I was creating the score, and it made a lot of sense to me that it would be electronic music because that was the music these guys were going and listening to in the club in the mid-late 80’s. It was a lot of early house music and early techno and a lot of electronic pop music from the UK and Europe, and so those became the touchstones for the sound and the score.”
While the London cast recording is different than what audiences will see if they visit the Broadway show, Sheik sees the album as part of a long and productive journey. “It just reflects some of the changes that we made as we moved towards Broadway, because the record was made over a course of a couple years,” he explains, going on to talk about how the songs have gone through many versions since the original workshops in 2011. “For example, a song like ‘Killing Time,’ which takes place in the tunnel at the club in the first act, it was initially one song and it kind of morphed into a different song, and since we’ve been in rehearsals on Broadway it’s changed fifteen times,” Sheik says. “And then there’s a song called ‘Killing Spree’ which was initially sort of like a cover of Duran Duran’s ‘Hungry Like The Wolf.’ and then it became its own song. But they all have their different challenges. And sometimes they happen really quickly and easily. Things like, ‘This Is Not An Exit,’ the last song in the show, that was written sitting at a piano in the course of half an hour.”
So, has Sheik gotten any input from the man who created Patrick Bateman? “He’s been a friend of the court, so to speak,” Sheik reveals of Ellis. “I met him a couple times around the time we were gearing up to do the London production, and I did ask him specifically, ‘in your mind, do you think Patrick Bateman is committing these atrocities in real life? Or is this something that’s happening in his own head?’” The verdict? “He would not give me an answer,” Sheik admits with a laugh.
Stream the original London cast recording of American Psycho, out March 25 from Concord Records, below.
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