How the ‘Stranger Things’ Team Builds Its Scary Soundscape

Oct 27, 2017

“Stranger Things” is coming back for season 2 on October 27. If you managed to miss binge-watching it last year, it’s set in the ’80s and it takes place in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana. It all starts when a young boy goes missing… and then things get, yes, stranger. There’s an alternate universe called “The Upside Down,” a young girl with psychokinetic powers, and a monster called the “Demogorgon.” Hooked yet?

Our associate producer James Kim interviewed the Emmy-nominated composers and sound design team from the show, including Brad North, the Sound Supervisor, and Craig Henighan, a Sound Editor. They’re the ones who create the sounds of the “Upside Down” world, the monster, and even the buzzing sounds of light bulbs being switched on. The creators of the show, brothers Matt and Ross Duffer, showed Brad and his team clips from old films they wanted to replicate to give them some inspiration, including “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”

In the audio above, two reveal some of their unusual methods for making the show’s creepy audio effects, some of which were modulated sounds from a battery charger and… pig squeals.

James also had the chance to speak with composers Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein. “Stranger Things” is the first show Kyle and Michael have ever worked on. The Austin-based duo mainly write music for their synth band S U R V I V E. The Duffer Brothers loved their music and asked them to work on “Stranger Things.”

It took a few tries before Kyle and Michael figured out how to score for TV. For instance, the first piece of music you hear in the show, titled “Kids,” was the first piece they worked on. And it was also the last one they finished.