Info → Herculaneum
UK Release: 10th December 2008 (Gomora O.S.T)
Track Duration: 05:00
Formats: CD. Amazon.co.uk
Written By: Robert Del Naja, Neil Davidge and Euan Dickinson
Produced By: Robert Del Naja and Neil Davidge
Additional Programming: Euan Dickinson
Mixed By: Lee Shephard
Herculaneum came about as a chance collaboration between Massive Attack and Matteo Garrone (the director of Gomorra) through the involvement of a DJ and music producer named Max Passante, who after hearing about the film convinced his friend 3D to get involved in it. Max Passante lives in Bristol but is originally from Naples, which is how he heard about the film in the first place.
The film Gomorra for those who don’t know is a unflinching and sometimes frighting insight into the Camorra, an illegal mob like organisation who have been linked to thousands of deaths within the Naples area over the decades. 3D, who has strong ties to Naples and visits it regularly, (as his father originally came from there) was understandably drawn to compose the score for the film about a city he loves. After talking it over with the director, 3D and Matteo Garrone came to the conclusion that a full length feature score would be detrimental to the film as it was perfect without it, so it was decided to let Massive Attack’s (or Robert Del Naja and Neil Davidge officially speaking, like much of the other soundtrack projects have been credited to) contribution be simply the end credits music heard at the closing of the film.
The track Herculaneum is so called after a small Italian town of the same name, which is featured at the end of the film Gomorra. The town itself is close by not only to Naples, but also the historic town of Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius. Herculaneum was destroyed along with Pompeii in the Vesuvius eruption of 79 A.D. More information can be found on the town here.
This track marks the first major involvement in a Massive Attack track by programmer/engineer Euan Dickinson. Euan had been brought into the studio originally to help remaster some of the tracks on Collected back in 2006. He has taken over programming and engineering duties from Alex Swift in that time, who had now left the band to focus on other things.
The track was recorded in the span of only two days at Massive Attack’s 100 Suns studio in Bristol, UK.
3D accepted an award (on behalf of 100 Suns/One Point Six) for Herculaneum at the David di Donatello Awardsceremony in Rome, Italy on 8th May 2009. The award was for Best Original Song.
No song samples were used, but some ‘found noise’ samples specifically of beach and ocean type noises such as crashing waves were used. This is because the final scene of the film is set on a beach as Herculaneum begins to play over the end credits.
3D reflecting on why they choose to do the end credits theme for the film Gomorra – “Gomorrah is without doubt the best movie I have been involved with. When the director Matteo Garrone first showed me the film, I was blown away and I told him that no score was needed – basically talking myself out of a job. After trying a few scenes with score, we agreed. I then wrote the exit music, with assistance from Euan and Neil at 1.6. I spent last weekend in New York, where Martin Scorsese presented the movie in a small cinema on 6th ave. NY always charges me with a sense of romance and bewilderment, in a strangely similar way to the city of Naples. Napoli is the city of my father and this movie represents only a percentage of the population, there is also great beauty, mystery and humanity on every corner. The movie is not against the Camorra but about the Camorra, who’s system, in my opinion mirrors that of the Italian state in it’s corruption and the many individuals who are not so different in their relentless pursuit of power and wealth. Check it out if you get the time.” [Massive Attack Official Blog – October 2008]