Investigation Discovery’s new original series Evil Lives Here explores the true, heart-stopping stories of people who shared a home and a life with a loved one who would later become a killer. Helping convey that tension is a gripping audio mix and sound design from creative audio studio HOBO and engineer Stephen Davies.
“This was the opposite of your typical TV audio mix,” said Howard Bowler, HOBO’s president. “We treated it more like an indie doc where we put the focus on the story and the dialogue. This allowed our engineers to create an unsettling mood — a mood that makes the sound of our shows stand apart from others in the true crime niche.”
Each Evil Lives Here episode combines exclusive interviews, archival footage and dramatic reenactments that tell the stories of families devastated by violence committed by loved ones. Each episode puts the viewers in the shoes of those who lived through these devastating experiences — from first noticing something amiss, to interpreting all of the puzzling signs and clues. Eventually they come face-to-face with the horrible truth — that the person they loved has a very dark side.
Communicating that atmosphere sonically fell to Davies and HOBO engineer Diego Jimenez, who sound designed the show open. Davies notes that he and Red Marble Media wanted the audio to feel intimate, like you’re in the same room with the people telling their story.
“For me the key to the project was focusing on the sound of the subject’s voice and finding that sweet spot where the level of the music enhances the mood rather then pushes it,” Davies said. “It’s easy to let the music drive or overtake a mix, but for this series it was important to keep the focus on the story and not let the mix get cluttered. These are compelling narratives, and the mix and sound design needed to convey these stories in a direct way.”