by Corbie Hill
Serial is a big deal. It's a podcast fans follow with the fervor typically associated with binge-watched dramas like Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead. All at once, it's a true crime tale, a postmodern murder mystery, an indictment of the American legal system and a look back at teenage life, circa 1999. Its success has spawned the spinoff Undisclosed. Made by a wholly different production team, the show takes an in-depth look at the facts of the case covered by Serial.
If you listen closely to this week's 10th episode, "Crimestoppers," you'll hear music by Raleigh electronica artist Patrick Cortes, or Animalweapon. He'll also play Local 506 Thursday night, and he's putting the finishing touches on a new EP, Flares and Signal Fires. The INDY caught up with Cortes to see how exactly he got his music on Undisclosed.
INDY: Were you already a Serial or Undisclosed listener?
PATRICK CORTES: Yes, both. I'm a big podcast guy. I got into Serial right as it was finishing at the end of last year. I blew through it in, like, a week. I'm a little late to the party on Undisclosed. I didn't start listening until about two or three weeks ago, and I'm still catching up.
Since you made it through Serial in a week, what is it about Adnan Syed's case that makes this such a compelling story? I mean, Serial was successful enough to spawn a fact-by-fact spinoff.
I feel like it's a pretty nuanced case to begin with, but I think what makes it fascinating to me is the meta aspect it took on with Serial. Serial started out being about a case that was already interesting enough on its own, and now because of Serial, we have all these new developments. It's always interesting when the media becomes part of the story.
How did your music become a part of it?
Basically, Twitter. I started listening to Undisclosed two or three weeks ago, and a few episodes in, I realized that, a, there's music in this show and, b, this isn't an NPR production like Serial. It's a lot more DIY. And, c, Rabia Chaudry and company seem to be super engaged with the listeners via social media, so I took a shot in the dark and tweeted at Rabia to offer my music to the show for free. Rabia tweeted right back and seemed super receptive to it, so I followed up over email with Rabia and her editor, Rebecca. Next thing I know, I'm waking up from a nap to find tweets about it. That was last night. I still haven't heard it yet. I'm a few episodes behind.
Yup. I knew Twitter was good for something!
Which tracks did she use?
Skimming through, I caught "Something Like" and "Bandaid" in a few places. Since I'm behind, I didn't want to listen too closely (can you call it a spoiler if it's real life?), but they've been saying for a couple weeks this one is going to be a mind-blower, so I'm excited to hear it in context. Rabia did tell me that it suited the mood, which I was a little worried about.
Do you want to continue scoring podcasts, or was this more unplanned than that?
This was an almost hilariously unplanned and spur-of-the-moment thing, but now that it's happened, I would definitely be interested in doing it again. I've pretty much always wanted to score something—a short film, an indie game, a podcast, something already super-cool that I could hopefully make even more engaging.