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How Music Helped Stranger Things Villain Jamie Campbell Bower Get Into Character

"Stranger Things" Season 4 took the streaming world by storm when the first part dropped in May of 2022, and it kept the momentum going when the second part arrived in July of that same year. After waiting three years to learn what became of Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), Jim Hopper (David Harbour), and more at the end of Season 3, fans couldn't wait to dive back in. However, for many, that optimism-infused curiosity likely dissipated somewhat once they met the reality that Season 4 would be nothing short of a terrifying, heartbreaking small screen ride.

Most of these strong emotions stem from the villain of "Stranger Things" Season 4, Henry Creel. A powerful psychokinetic, Creel was banished to the Upside Down courtesy of a young Eleven in 1979. However, during his time in the parallel dimension, he grew stronger, allowing him to return to the real world in a sense by 1986. Now a horrifying creature dubbed Vecna by the likes of Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo) and his friends, he embarked on a path of destruction across Hawkins, Indiana, showing not even a shred of remorse for his heinous, torturous actions.

Actor Jamie Campbell Bower brought Henry Creel and Vecna to life on "Stranger Things" and did a remarkable job in those roles. As it turns out, when it comes to the latter, music played a pivotal part in pulling such villainous performances out of him.

Music put Jamie Campbell Bower into a Vecna mindset

On July 5, 2022, Jamie Campbell Bower sat down with Screen Rant to discuss "Stranger Things" Season 4 and all that went into portraying Vecna. During the chat, he touched on the process behind finding his Vecna voice, which entailed becoming familiar with his bass-baritone vocal register, relaxing his larynx, and warming up his diaphragm. Bower revealed that he also used music to get into the proper headspace to play the character. "Carpathian Forest. Revenge. Dark, black metal; heavy stuff. Norma Jean. Yeah, dark stuff," he told the publication of his Vecna playlist.

Jamie Campbell Bower made similar remarks in an interview with Collider, explaining his music choices a bit further. "It just made me feel powerful in an interesting way. It was a strange result of...music has that ability," he said, adding that low-frequency sound went a long way in keeping him in the proper Vecna frame of mind as well. At the same time, his preparation for the character was just as physical as it was mental. After all, Bower found himself under a ton of prosthetics for the character, so learning to move and understand the space he occupied as Vecna was incredibly important.

Jamie Campbell Bower clearly went above and beyond for "Stranger Things" Season 4, especially for his Vecna scenes. When watching him perform, it's abundantly clear that his playlist did its job and then some.