"X-Files" theme gets a fresh spin for summer film

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - When “X-Files” heroes Fox Mulder and Dana Scully wrap up their second big-screen search for the truth this summer, audiences will exit to two tracks by UK-based electronic/rock artist UNKLE: one an original, hand-picked by series creator Chris Carter, and one a reinterpretation of the classic “X-Files” TV series theme song, commissioned after the fact.

“There was something I was looking for at the end credit of the movie, and it needed to be a really specific beat,” Carter says. “I had gone to see the Police over the summer. They opened the show with ‘Reggatta De Blanc,’ which is one of my favourite Police songs. I love that song, and it was in my head as I was writing the movie. Then (20th Century Fox music supervisor) Danielle Diego gave me this UNKLE piece, and I realized that was really what I was looking for. Immediately I called her and I said, ‘I think I’ve got my end-credit piece.’”

The song, “Broken,” from UNKLE’s 2007 album “War Stories” (Surrender All), has the spry new wave guitar and insistent pulse of “Reggatta,” plus wayward lyrics sung by vocalist Gavin Clark, which seem to fit the profile of Carter’s eternally tense fictitious duo (“We’re miles adrift/We’re inches apart”).

“It’s funny, because the lyrics ended up working unexpectedly,” Carter says. “It’s really the beat that’s the perfect fit for the end of the film.”

Carter phoned UNKLE mastermind James Lavelle personally to explain his intentions for “Broken,” and the two discovered a mutual admiration: Lavelle was a fan of the long-running TV series. A big one. “I’ve seen every episode,” he says.


After that conversation, “it was decided by all of us that James would be the person to ask to -- ‘remix’ is the wrong word, I’ll call it ‘reinterpret’ -- the ‘X-Files’ theme for the end of the film as well,” Carter says. The two tracks will also be featured on the “X-Files: I Want to Believe” soundtrack as the only additions to the Mark Snow-composed score. The album is due July 22 via Decca.

Lavelle took the distinction between “remix” and “reinterpret” to heart.

“Most of the time when you hear remixes of themes, they’re never as good as the original and they sound cheesy, like the James Bond theme,” he says. “With this piece it was difficult to take the original parts and move them around; it didn’t sound right. And we wanted something that would work in context with ‘Broken’ as well. That was the directive: to have the same kind of emotion. So we went that route sonically, with a snare and a rockier bassline.”

The result is a graceful, almost mournful piece of music that’s heavy on strings, replacing the original’s inherent sci-fi quality with a more human element.

“I love it,” Carter says. “It’s very soulful. I played it for my wife, and she was surprised to hear it, because she thought we would want something that was uplifting. But I think it’s so soulful it actually has its own quality of uplift. It works for the end of the movie.”

Carter -- a self-proclaimed “student drummer” who took DJ’ing lessons during his “X-Files” downtime -- says he intends to collaborate again with Lavelle, who is also an internationally renowned DJ. “His sense of tempo and beat and the blending of it will be a beautiful match for some ideas that I have,” Carter says. “We’ve already talked about it.”