Dream Dali’s Aaron Shanahan and Ruby Gilbert’s Guide to Horror

Aaron Shanahan from Dream Dali and singer-songwriter Ruby Gilbert got together for a chat about horror.

Following the release of the 80s style single ‘Thinking Insane’, darkwave band Dream Dali have debuted their EP ‘Life In Legato’.

Since music venues are opening up all around the country, the band have played sold-out shows in Brisbane and are looking forward to getting back on the road with their energetic and theatrical performances.

Aaron from Dream Dali caught up with the enchanting Queensland Music Awards nominee Ruby Gilbert to talk all about their love of horror movies. Be warned, this interview absolutely contains SPOILERS!

Between the moody, surrealist atmosphere Dream Dali create and Ruby Gilbert’s murder ballads in an Americana x Australiana style, it’s no surprise that these two both have a taste for the dark and mysterious.

AARON: Alright, I’m going to try this…..interviewing for Happy Mag. So what are we going to talk about?

RUBY: We can talk about…. Horror movies.

AARON: Horror movies. Okay. Music, I guess.

RUBY: Obviously.

AARON: All right, let’s start with the horror movies.

RUBY: And the festival

AARON: What festival?

RUBY: Airlie Beach music festivals.

AARON: Why are we here?

RUBY: In the universe. What’s the meaning of why?

AARON: Yes and why Airlie Beach?

RUBY: We played a few shows with my band, that you are in and we watched horror movies

AARON: Yeah, we watched a horror movie last night, didn’t we?

RUBY: Yeah, I feel like that’s going to be a tradition in our band when we travel to festivals and do shows. Some people aren’t good with horror movies. I’m glad that you guys are, because it would never work out if you guys weren’t.

AARON: Definitely good tradition to have with this band.

RUBY: I was a bit worried for Caleb (drummer) He was a bit terrified.

AARON: Ratman RATMA Lord.

RUBY: Ratma Lord.

AARON: If you wonder what we’re talking about, check out VHS 94. Good flick. What do you give it out of ten?

RUBY: And eleven.

AARON: Pretty good hey? Took that sound footage stuff and sort of pumped it up with using VHS, but also making it kind of real, huh?

RUBY: We’re both kind of horror movie enthusiasts, which is pretty cool. What’s your all-time favourite horror movie at the moment?

AARON: I’ve got a few. I think the one that I always think of is “Hereditary” just because you can get jump scares in movies……

RUBY: I feel like jump scares are a bit cheaper. Sometimes they can cheapen a movie.

AARON: It’s easy to go and do jump scares. Yeah, but the psychological investment and the Easter eggs in that movie. The first time, you’re always like, oh, my God. The girl’s head fell off. That’s the big one that gets you

RUBY: Yeah.

AARON: And then she gets to the pole. But then when you watch it again, the freaky bit for me was seeing that Tony Collette..… If you haven’t seen the movie, don’t read any further. Spoiler alert. You know, when she’s at the very end and you see her hiding in the background.

RUBY: I didn’t notice that in the first time I watched it.

AARON: So maybe that’s not too much of a spoiler. But that movie is layered, you can watch that many times. I like things that are layered. Like, I like music, language. And then there’s one called “The Wailing”.

RUBY: Haven’t seen that one

AARON: South Korean movie. Maybe we watch that tonight. It’s pretty good.

RUBY: Yeah.

AARON: Okay. Maybe we watch it. We’ll wake up Caleb to scare him. The Wailing is good. I’ll give one more… We’ll do three…. three each.

RUBY: Right.

AARON: Three of our favourite horror movies. Let’s look up the list.

RUBY: There’s always one that I go back to that I watch.

AARON: We’re looking at best horror movies. You can’t beat South Korean horror movies. There’s a whole lot of great ones.

RUBY: I don’t know my favourite horror movie, but I think one of my favourite sub-genres of horror would be survival horror.

AARON: Yes, definitely.

RUBY: That’s a good one.

AARON: Zombie movies.

RUBY: Yes, they’re pretty good, too.

AARON: But when a pandemic hit, I was obsessed with post-apocalyptic zombie movies. I think I was subconsciously trying to prepare myself for the end of the world.

RUBY: (Laughs) Yeah.

AARON: What’s an extreme version of what’s happening… Things were getting silly with all that toilet paper buying.

RUBY: Yeah.

AARON: I think watching those movies, it was kind of like, okay….. Oh, “The Ritual” is not bad. Have you seen that?

RUBY: Because I saw reviews that said it wasn’t very good, so I didn’t watch it.

AARON: Maybe it’s not the best, but I would say it’s a good quality one to watch.

RUBY: Yeah. Okay.

AARON: So we might add that to the list. “The Witch” is amazing

RUBY: The Exorcist.

AARON: A classic supernatural horror

RUBY: Actually, I like “Pet Cemetery”.

AARON: The Cloverfield Paradox” is a great one

RUBY: “Creep” was really good. Creep 1 and 2.

AARON: “Midsummer” I would definitely say would be up to there at the top. Same director is “Hereditary”, but that’s more cult vibes than horror.

RUBY: I said to horror, there’s some horror elements for sure in it. That’s another subgenre of horror that I like, Cult Horror.

AARON: I went on a big found footage horror movie stint. I find ill do that with binging on sub-genres on. I’ll just go for it. So like zombies. All right, let’s watch every lookup.

RUBY: Yeah, I’m going to watch every single one in that subgenre that I can find.

AARON: Yeah. I started with supernatural thrillers like The Ring, the Grudge. When I first started getting to it.

RUBY: I feel like if you’re not used to horror, I feel like supernatural is like a good way to eat into horror.

AARON: That’s your stepping stone.

RUBY: Yeah.

AARON: Like the conjuring was a good sort of stepping stone for people. So there was a few of these found ones that I just did recently and then there was one about Bigfoot. These people were trying to find Bigfoot. That is called “Willow Creek”. These movies kind of tie in with our music.

RUBY: I think it’s a Dream Dali thing.

AARON: I would say a Ruby Gilbert thing too. There’s a darkness with your music. There are dark stories with some of the music you have how me. Like the story in the “Long Black Veil”, the Johnny Cash song. That’s quite dark, isn’t it?

RUBY: Yeah, that’s a murder ballad.

AARON: Murder ballad?

RUBY: I’ve got a few murder ballads, as well that I’ve written, which I think is cool.

AARON: Yeah. Which ones?

RUBY: Light Up Your Torches (unreleased song)

AARON: I think we would be good doing horror movie music. Either writing a score, so if anyone’s doing a horror movie, contact us

RUBY: We know we’re doing.

AARON: So maybe the title of this article could be Dream Dali’s and Ruby Gilbert’s Guide to Horror?

RUBY: An underrated gem that hardly anyone knows about. When I tell them it’s called “Sightseers”. It’s like an English dark comedy, I think. But it’s definitely got elements of horror in it yet. The horror party. All right, but spoiler alert. It’s about a couple that goes around, a seemingly like mundane-boring couple that go around on a road trip killing people.

AARON: Oh, yeah, that sounds good. All right. So what makes a good horror movie?

RUBY: What makes a good horror movie? Originality, not even an original idea, but taking a concept that either hasn’t been done or a concept that has been done and making your own and that’s unpredictable.

AARON: I also reckon the execution of it. Some of these ones I’ve seen say, if we talk about found footage, the cameras of the people that have captured it and they don’t have one floating around like the new “Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin”, the new one….

RUBY: Is that out?

AARON: Yeh, but it’s that like it has all of a sudden there’s a camera over here. It sort of breaks that wall of believability.

RUBY: Is that continuity is important?

AARON: Yeah. Well, that’s the art is with that having that your cameras are accounted for because you’re meant to be buying that it was fully filmed, like, “REC”. Have you seen that? The Spanish movie?

RUBY: Yeah. I think I have seen that one.

AARON: Actually, that was one of the first ones. Well, “Blair Witch” is the first.

RUBY: Yes “Blair Witch”.

AARON: And then they’re sort of taken that topic a little bit further, just being good with “Creep” and all that.

RUBY: Totally.

AARON: I think it’s about execution. I know when I used to go get horror movies, I used to be scared. I would never want to watch them. Like when I was a kid, my cousin and  I were going to the store, the movie store. And I said, oh, I want to watch “child play”, I think I was kind of trying to build up the confidence and the toughness like, to watch a horror movie. And then we got it and then I cried on the way home, we had to go and take it back because I was too scared to watch it. So I wasn’t very good with the horror movies. But back then, there were more sort of slashery, cheap, Nightmare on Elm Street, gory. And I feel like nowadays it’s really gotten more artful. Like, the cinematography is amazing “Hereditary” and “The Witch”, and it’s even the art form of suggestion.

RUBY: Yeh.

AARON: You hear it all sound. You go, ‘don’t go there’ but, you know, maybe they’ll then trick you.

RUBY: Even like the use of sounds, not even music, like just ominous sounds.

AARON: What I’ve heard is they use a subsonic frequency in horror movies that is made to unnerve you. So if you’ve ever at the cinema, see if you can notice the low rumble

RUBY: Wow.

AARON: And it’s meant to unsettle you.

RUBY: But like, subconsciously and you don’t even realize it?

AARON: Yes. Not an obvious sound. Unless you knew of it, you will hear it.

RUBY: Interesting.

AARON: I think a good example of it is “Paranormal Activity”.

RUBY: Yeah. I think they do it a lot.

AARON: Yeah. They show the footage of the video footage and the cuts will be like ’24th March 3am’.

RUBY: Yeah. I think they rely on the use of sounds, not music. Like sounds.

AARON: Yeah. Sound design. There’s one here that I’m a bit scared to watch.

RUBY: What is it called?

AARON: The Taking of Deborah Logan”? I think it’s 2014. This one just even a post. It’s about from what I gather, it’s what kind of horror she’s getting taken over by a demon. Slowly possession is happening like an exorcism, exorcist thing. And it’s a found footage of that.

RUBY: She looks fucked up, though, like the actress.

AARON: It’s on the fence, isn’t it?

AARON: Shudder. Do you know what Shudder is?

RUBY: I’m assuming it’s some kind of, like, review website?

AARON: We need to get onto this. Shudder is Netflix for horror. It’s a whole thing dedicated to it.

RUBY: Wait, is this a streaming service?

AARON: Yes. I believe “V/H/S 2” is through Shudder. This is that thing I was telling you. (Sees creep show on Shudder)This is Creep Show. Remember I said last night that VHS 94 was like a bunch of stories put together is like this Creep Show movie that was back in the 80s, which I should show you a little bit of. They’re, like, all fucked up little stories. And my cousin told me about this when I was a kid. And I think this is another reason it took me a while to get into horror because he scared me.

He would tell me the bat, like, they’d have a bunch of little stories. One was these kids go on a lake, swimming, and then there’s this blob thing that’s there. And then it slowly takes each one and drowns them. And then there’s another one where there’s his hitchhiker. and this lady hits the hitchhiker. And then she’s like, oh, I’m going to keep driving, business lady/well off. And then he keeps appearing. It’s all messed up and he’s like, I need a ride lady to the ride lady.

And then she just keeps trying to kill him and he’s all messed up more and more. They’re little stories.

RUBY: Controversial opinion. I’m not too into, like, old horror. Only like modern horror. Maybe. Just. I don’t know.

AARON: I know. I think it’s gotten better, like the camera work the way they do it. Now the storyline.

RUBY: I think it’s just the production quality. Yeah.

AARON: Well, let’s look up a couple of old horrors just to check in with that.

RUBY: Trying to change my mind?

AARON: Well, I’m actually curious myself because I know there’s some classics like “The Exorcist”.

RUBY: Oh, yeah.

AARON: That one’s got to be that still stand up to today.

RUBY: That’s an exception.

AARON: I think, like her voice when it changes, swearing at things.

RUBY: What’s the other one with …..“The Shining”?

AARON: Oh, yeah.

RUBY: I like that one too.

AARON: That’s another kind of psychological horror. So sort of getting into it then, “IT”!

RUBY: I haven’t seen the original.

AARON: The original is horrible. Like bad or like, real cheesy bad. It’s not good. It still terrified me of clowns when I was young.Tim Curry, who plays that’s probably the best fit is he did Pennywise quite well. And they do have a few things that just disturbing.

RUBY: I’m rewatching “American Horror Story” at the moment, and I’m watching “Freak Show” and one of them like a clown. Like a murderous clown. It’s like kind of a running theme in the season.

AARON: American Horror Story”?!

RUBY: Yeah. It’s like a really mess up one.

AARON: (Sees picture of clown on web) Oh, Jeez, I do like that.

RUBY: It’s really good.

AARON: Do you know about Gacy?

RUBY: Yes, but I do know.

AARON: John Wayne Gacy. He was a children’s performer.

RUBY: I think that’s what that clown is based off. I think he’s.

AARON: That makes sense, somehow taking something innocent……

RUBY: Yeah, because he was like, this clown in “American Horror Story”. He was like a children’s performer before he turned murderous.

AARON: I like it. It looks fucked. I find I like things that are a little off at the moment. Just what I like. I think there’s something intriguing about that side of things. It’s a little different.

RUBY: You know, it’s too horrible. It’s not like super scary. It’s just a bit, like, unsettling.

AARON: OK so let’s go through three movies. Must watch horror movies. So I’ve got “Hereditary”, “Midsommar”, “The Wailing” and “The Witch”. So now they’re my three recommendations. What about for you?

RUBY: I’m going to have to say, do you want, like, an underrated gems?

AARON: Gems are good.

RUBY: “We Are What We Are”

AARON: Good reviews!

RUBY: It’s really good. Also an underwriter gem. Can I say “Midsommar”? I want to say “Midsommar” as well, because I feel like that I’m very into cult vibes.

AARON: That is very culty.

RUBY: Yeah, I’ve got, like, an unnatural obsession with cult horror.

AARON: I think that’s good. I think there’s something interesting about the fact that people can be turned into something very unhealthy. And watching documentaries on those things is quite interesting. Like the NEXIM stuff. Have you seen that? Oh, yeah.

RUBY: I think I recommend that one.

AARON: Ok so list?

RUBY: Creep” 1.

AARON: All right, so we’ve got “Creep”. I’m going to do “Hereditary”, “The Whaling” and “V/H/S/94”. I think just out of originality those three. You’re getting a bit of everything.

RUBY: Yes. These are like gems.

AARON: They’re gems.

RUBY: I could have gone with the common ones that you probably already seen, but I want to go with one that you probably haven’t seen.

AARON: And honorable mentions. “Good night, Mummy”.

RUBY: Good night. I’m going to have to go with “Mama”. That’s an honourable mention.

AARON: Perfect. Thanks for chatting with me for this Happy article


Life in Legato is available to stream now.


Photos supplied