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Bobby Krlic

Alongside his work as the Haxan Cloak, award-winning producer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Bobby Krlic remains a master of textured, detailed, and, above all, intense sounds. His productions for the Body, Björk, Father John Misty, and Khalid proved Krlic could translate his aesthetic to the music of very different artists. At the same time, he established himself as an in-demand composer for film, television, and games. Spanning the electro-folk-horror of his breakthrough score to 2019's Midsommar, the alien world conjured by 2021's Returnal, and the underlying, everyday -- but far from ordinary -- tensions telegraphed in his music for 2023's Beau Is Afraid and Beef, Krlic's projects reflected his range as well as his skill at conveying and evoking powerful moods. Born and raised in Yorkshire, England, Krlic inherited his love of music from his guitarist father and his mother, who was a Northern soul DJ when she was a teenager. After discovering hip-hop and electronic music at age 16, he started writing and recording his own folktronica-inspired music. Following a university course in sound and visual art, he expanded his approach by purchasing a cheap violin and cello and quickly picked up the basics by playing along to the Dirty Three's albums. While in his last year at university, Krlic began working under the name the Haxan Cloak, recording in his parents' shed with a handful of microphones and his violin, cello and laptop. In 2009, he self-released the Haxan Cloak's self-titled debut EP. The EP caught the attention of the London-based experimental metal label Aurora Borealis, who picked it up for distribution and signed Krlic. His first proper release for the label, the cassette-only Observatory EP, arrived in 2010. During this time, Krlic worked on the first Haxan Cloak full-length. He collaborated with his former university tutor and Sub Rosa recording artist Mikhail Karikis, whose experimental work with choirs added more depth to Krlic's already foreboding style. Arriving in April 2011, The Haxan Cloak earned praise for its unique style and ominous atmosphere. In 2012, Krlic signed to Tri Angle, also home to experimental electronic artists including oOooO and Holy Other. That July, The Men Parted the Sea to Devour the Water, a nearly 30-minute live composition, was released by Southern Records as a part of their Latitudes series. The Haxan Cloak's Tri Angle debut, Excavation, appeared in April 2013 and explored the soul's journey after death. Like its predecessor, the album was acclaimed for its blend of electronic and acoustic instrumentation. After Excavation's release, Krlic took a hiatus from the Haxan Cloak to pursue a variety of other projects. Under his own name, he worked as a producer, lending his signature style to albums including the Body's I Shall Die Here (2014), Björk's Vulnicura (2015), and Goldfrapp's Silver Eye (2017). Later, he worked with Father John Misty on a 2018 cover of Link Wray's "Fallin' Rain" that appeared on the Hulu anthology series Castle Rock, with Troye Sivan on the track "Animal," and with Khalid on the title track of his 2019 album Free Spirit. Around this time, Krlic also made a name for himself as a composer for film and television projects. With Atticus Ross, he worked on the scores for the 2015 movie Blackhat, 2016's Triple 9, and Steve Hoover's 2016 documentary film Almost Holy. As a solo composer, Krlic's projects included the music for the USA Network television series Shooter, which premiered in 2016, the 2018 Netflix series Seven Seconds, and director Ari Aster's 2019 film Midsommar. Fascinated by the Haxan Cloak's body of work, Aster wrote the screenplay for the film -- in which a troubled American couple attend a Swedish pagan ritual that delivers much more than they bargained for -- to Krlic's music. In addition to composing the score, Krlic also worked with Aster on the music performed during Midsommar's rituals, which incorporated traditional instruments like the hurdy gurdy and key harp along with choral vocals. Midsommar's authentically eerie moods were widely acclaimed, and Krlic won the 2020 Ivor Novello Award for Best Original Score and was nominated for Breakthrough Composer of the Year at the 2019 International Film Music Critics Association Awards. Also in 2019, the TV series Reprisal and The Alienist: Angel of Darkness featured scores by Krlic. The growing acclaim for Krlic's compositions led to a flurry of projects in the early 2020s. His 2020 work included co-producing Father John Misty's "To S." and music for the video game Red Dead Redemption 2. The following year, he scored the second season of the TNT series Snowpiercer, the Apple TV series Calls, and the video game Returnal, a gritty, futuristic, third-person shooter; his work on the latter won the 2022 BAFTA Games Award for Best Music and the 2022 DICE Award for Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition. Krlic returned in 2023 with several high-profile projects. He reunited with Aster to compose the score to the subversive family drama Beau Is Afraid, then provided the almost subliminally tense music for Lee Sung Jin's Netflix show Beef. Later in the year, Krlic scored the DC Extended Universe film Blue Beetle, which was directed by Angel Manuel Soto.
© Heather Phares & Rich Wilson /TiVo


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