Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats made a soundtrack for an Italian movie that doesn't exist: Then they got actors in to supply the dialogue

Uncle Acids & The Deadbeats looking all mysterious
(Image credit: Karin Hunt)

Inspired by 70s Italian slasher horror and crime flicks, Cambridge-based psychedelic doomsters Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats returned last month with their sixth album, Nell’ Ora Blu (The Blue Hour), the soundtrack to an imaginary movie. 

It’s a bit of a change from their usual busy schedule of touring with the likes of Black Sabbath, King Diamond and Ghost, says founder and frontman Kevin Starrs.


It’s been a while since the last Uncle Acid album, 2018’s Wasteland. You were quite busy, weren’t you? 

Touring, yes! We went out with King Diamond in Europe, then went to Australia, New Zealand and Japan… We were one of the last bands out and playing until lockdown in 2020. 

The King Diamond shows must have been a blast. 

We were his personal choice to support, and he was really friendly to us, although he never saw us play as he had to do fan meet-and-greets while we were on stage. I like a lot of his work, and [his former band] Mercyful Fate. He’s got a great voice and puts on such a good show. 

You’re back with Nell’ Ora Blu. Fill us in. 

This is what I was up to during lockdown. It’s inspired by seventies Italian murder-mystery cinema, the giallo genre [which comes from pulp paperbacks]. Years ago I got into forties and fifties film noir and somehow moved on to the Italian stuff, which is quite wild, sexual and horrific, and features a lot of detective work and shadowy figures. It was a psychedelic version of film noir. I’d always wanted to do a soundtrack sort of thing, but expand on the idea, so writing a script, recording dialogue and having sound effects included. This was my opportunity. 

You brought in two classic actors for this. Tell us about them

Frank Nero is known for being quite over the-top, and I wanted that for his role, Scarano – someone unhinged! Edwige Fenech has one of the most distinctive voices in giallo. She’s a screen legend, and even though she couldn’t communicate in English with me she delivered perfectly recorded parts straight away.

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Did you learn Italian in order to write the script? 

I tried to [laughs], but I had to use a translator. And there was a lot of back-and-forth with the actors – this was a totally new experience for all of us. I also had to focus on learning new instruments, such as keyboards, which I can’t play too well and I had to try to get tunes out of them. A lot of it was improvised: hit ‘record’, play the dialogue and start creating something on the keyboard. 

You use a lot of synths on this. 

It was important to use a lot of old analogue synths as well, because they just sound better when you record them. And a lot of the effects that we used were analogue. One of my favourites was a Crumar Stringman, a vintage Italian synthesiser, which Neil Young used on Like A Hurricane

The record’s quite proggy, with a Tangerine Dream/John Carpenter feel. 

I love that stuff, and I actually used a unit that Tangerine Dream used a lot, Compact Phasing. It’s got a great, eerie filter sweep. It was so much fun to try out all this stuff. The next record might be Krautrock!

Nell’ Ora Blu is out now via Rise Above.

Jo Kendall

Jo is a journalist, podcaster, event host and music industry lecturer with 23 years in music magazines since joining Kerrang! as office manager in 1999. But before that Jo had 10 years as a London-based gig promoter and DJ, also working in various vintage record shops and for the UK arm of the Sub Pop label as a warehouse and press assistant. Jo's had tea with Robert Fripp, touched Ian Anderson's favourite flute (!), asked Suzi Quatro what one wears under a leather catsuit, and invented several ridiculous editorial ideas such as the regular celebrity cooking column for Prog, Supper's Ready. After being Deputy Editor for Prog for five years and Managing Editor of Classic Rock for three, Jo is now Associate Editor of Prog, where she's been since its inception in 2009, and a regular contributor to Classic Rock. She continues to spread the experimental and psychedelic music-based word amid unsuspecting students at BIMM Institute London, hoping to inspire the next gen of rock, metal, prog and indie creators and appreciators.