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'Over 40,000 Sleuths Worked Hard to Get This Song Tracked Down': Christopher and Philip Booth on the Strange Saga of Their Viral Mystery Song 'Ulterior Motives'

The Booth Brothers wrote and recorded a track that appeared in a forgotten '80s adult film. Nearly 40 years later, it's been rediscovered — and celebrated.

booth brothers
Source: Instagram/@ChristopherSaintBooth

We talked to Christopher and Philip Booth about the "Everyone Knows That" mystery that captured the imagination of tens of thousands of listeners.

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In 2021, an anonymous user going by the handle "carl92" uploaded a lo-fi 17-second snippet of an extremely catchy '80s pop song to WatZatSong. Three years of very dedicated searching later, online sleuths finally found the viral lostwave track that had captured the imagination of tens of thousands of listeners and come to be known as "Everyone Knows That," or "EKT," in a 1986 adult film called Angels of Passion.

The song, actually titled "Ulterior Motives," was written and recorded by identical twin brothers and lifelong collaborators Christopher Saint Booth and Philip Adrian Booth. While pursuing a music career in the '80s, they began working on porn sets and licensing out their compositions to make some extra cash. One of those compositions was, of course, "Ulterior Motives."

Until "Ulterior Motives" was identified this week, the Booth Brothers had pretty much forgotten about it. In the intervening decades, the pair had gone on to make and scorea series of horror movies and paranormal documentaries. But they never forgot their passion for music, and they were more than happy to chat with Q over the phone about the strange, beautiful saga of "Everyone Knows That" and how grateful they are for the community that helped rediscover it.

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When and how did you find out about this whole years-long search for "Ulterior Motives" or "Everyone Knows That," as it was called online?

Christopher: I want to say three days ago? When somebody was posting some comments — "redo or find 'Ulterior Motives'" — on some of the movies that we do. We do movies for television and horror movies for big networks. Somebody posted "Ulterior Motives" all over the pages and I went, "What is this? This is weird." I didn't remember the song and I thought it was like, "This nutcase is going crazy," right? And I didn't think about it. And then somebody sent me a Reddit article and I clicked on it and I was reading and went, "Wow, this is weird." And then I played the YouTube video and I went, "Oh my god, that's our song." [Laughs] And that's where it started. And I think both Philip and I are still in extreme shock.

Philip: We're overwhelmed, to be honest with you. I guess they found out who it was, it was us, on the 28th, which is only a few days ago. And we were bombarded by messages and Instagram, social media stuff, and all this. And we went, "What are we going to do now?" [Laughs] Because everybody wants this song now! Everybody wants us to release this song. And I have to tell you, it brought tears to our eyes seeing all those kids on TikTok and all those people singing the song, remixing the song, doing the song. And for musicians, like we are, there's no sense of greater satisfaction. There really isn't.

I'm sure the last few days have been so surreal for you.

Philip: Surreal is a good word!

Christopher: Yeah, I mean, hey, dude, I'm sitting in a studio going through 40 years of tapes right now. [Laughs] Trying to find it.

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It is a really beautiful, kind of heartwarming story. There's so much bad stuff on the internet that it feels so special when it leads to something like this that's just fun and good for everyone.

Philip: It is, and those people who love the '80s music and they still stand by the big comeback of the '80, we originally were doing music back then and we opened up for Mötley Crüe. A little bit after that, we were into Culture Club, the early '80s Duran Duran-type vibrations. We were fortunate to get produced by some big people that were doing Tiffany, "I Think We're Alone Now." And those producers helped us do some of this music. And to see it acknowledged, like, "You gotta release that, that'll be like a Taylor Swift song." And I'm going, "Oh my god, listen to what you're saying." [Laughs]

Christopher: I don't know about Taylor Swift. [Laughs]

Philip: I said, "No pressure here," you know? [Laughs]

Christopher: I think what you said there is exactly what it is. There is so much ugliness out there on the internet. To see such, truly, people that are just after finding missing music. And then to find it and then make the people that thought everybody forgot [know they] didn't. It really brought an incredible amount of warmth to us. It's been a very beautiful experience. It really has.

Philip: We went and listened to a bunch of tracks, looking for "Ulterior Motives," that we recorded around the same time. Both of us had tears in our eyes. Because it brought back that memory of the '80s — what a fun time that was for music. And we just have so much gratitude, to thank all those people that are supporting us. I'm just speechless.

What have you found so far while you've been searching through all the tapes?

Christopher: We found a lot of other tracks that are in that same vein as that song. The same style, the same era that we did it in, which we think also they might like. And we were able to find the rhythm tracks of "Ulterior Motives" so far. I own a studio, so if we can't find the vocal tracks we're going to go ahead and go in and re-record it. So we're going to definitely give it to them. Whether they like it by the time it's finished, I don't know. [Laughs] I hope they do! But we're gonna do it.

Philip: I know they want us to keep it like how it was. Like the '80s. Because I think that's the charm that it has. And since we still have some of that old vintage equipment, those synthesizers that made those tracks back then, we're just going to keep it the same. We're going to just deliver it the same. Because my phone, I know Chris's too, has not stopped blowing up. It just beeps every second. Beep beep beep. On Instagram and social media. So I think we have to do it! [Laughs]

You have to give the people what they want!

Philip: We're gonna do it. We're gonna do it as a thank you to them and we're just happy that they liked it. We're very happy about it. It's a celebration of all the hard work we put in back into the '80s, doing all that music. And then we moved on to movies and we did really well, and do well, on the movies, but there's something that still...our heart sings to that music. It was an incredible time for music. This is great to be able to redo it again.

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I know you said that when you first found out about it you didn't remember it. But now do you remember anything about writing and recording the song?

Christopher: Yeah, we do. It was recorded in Encino, in California, Los Angeles.

Philip: In our house, actually.

Christopher: Actually, it was a block away from Michael Jackson's house. Because Michael Jackson was living down by Hayvenhurst in Encino at the time and we were living in a house and we turned this one bedroom into a makeshift recording studio. And we brought in the Oberheim keyboard and the LinnDrum machine and we had a great bass player, Ira. I can't remember the chap's name who played keyboards. And then I sang and Philip played guitar. And we put out four tracks, which actually originally got us a record contract in England by Jet Records. And then we at that point packed up and went to London and worked over there for a while. And then we came back. We started working with a guy named Gary Goetzman who was the music coordinator for the Talking Heads movie Stop Making Sense.

Philip: He also produced Silence of the Lambs.

Christopher: Yeah, he was an exec producer on Silence of the Lambs as well. He did UB40. So then we started working with them and then obviously to make money we had to start working on whatever. And we were working on real movies, not adult films. And then we had a friend that was doing adult films and said "I need help," and we needed money, so we just started doing the heavy lifting and stuff. And then he said, "Well, we need some music if you want to make some extra money." I said, "We got a couple of songs we can let you use." And then the rest is history, right? [Laughs]

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Do you remember anything about the movie Angels of Passion? Because I saw, according to IMDb, Christopher, you were actually in the movie as well.

Christopher: Yeah. I did not know that. I said, "I'm not in that movie!" And then I went to PornHub, OK, and I watched it, because I wanted to see if I was in it. And I must admit, I had to close my eyes through some of those scenes, because it's like...very '80s. [Laughs] Very '70s, you know what I mean? It was a whole different world back then. I remembered the people that were in it, because we worked on it.

Philip: They were nice people.

Christopher: They were really nice people, I'll tell you that. They were really sweet people. And then I saw me in it and...ooh. [Laughs] Yeah, I made a guest appearance. As a bomber.

Philip: You walk on and they say, "Did you bring the suitcase and the bomb?" "No, I brought the suitcase." And the bomb blows up. There's this really tacky explosion. It's funny.

Christopher: I didn't do any nude scenes or anything. I was just an extra as a bomber. I guess I bombed a car or something. Yeah, it was very shocking to me to remember even being in it. So yeah, that was cute. Very cute.

That's so funny. All those adult films from the '70s and '80s, there really is an interesting history. A lot of them have music that's actually really good and way better than it needed to be.

Christopher: When I was writing music I never really wrote music for a sex scene, because that seems silly to me. I just wrote music like Sade or music that was romantic and sexy. And I wrote it for my own songs and then I would just license them to them. Because I would never actually sit down and score some kind of X-rated scene, because that's kind of weird to me. But we just wrote music and it fit it.

But I agree with you, back then there were a lot of musicians that were trying really hard and they needed an outlet. Probably even more today, in the shape that the music business is in. Some people kind of kid me about, "Oh, you did music for a porno at some point." And I go, "Well, I actually ended up making, at one point, over $8000 a month in royalties from all the films that we put music to." So I didn't have a problem with making the money, and I didn't have a problem at all making money doing what I loved, which was music. So I left it at that. I did leave it at that, though. [Laughs]

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You're still making music but it's been a long time since you've made pop music in that vein, right?

Philip: Yeah, we went to a more Queen-type, heavier...not heavy metal but rock-based thing where we had success. We opened up for Mötley Crüe in Troubadour in the late '80s when they first came out. And we actually heard those songs the other day. They're fantastic. They would blow the internet away, those songs. They were really good. We did a rock and roll version of the old Gene Kelly song "Singin' in the Rain." And it just f--kin' rocks. But we did a lot of music. And then when we moved into movies we got heavily into writing, shooting, directing, and editing, and we did really well on those. So I think this is a reminder to go back to your roots a little bit.

Christopher: I think what we did is we went from pop to hard rock to sort of a Peter Gabriel, Nine Inch Nails. And then I went into soundtrack music because I've done over 86 soundtracks to movies. And then my latest album, SkyPolar, is basically a tribute to the synthesizer work. Because I have a studio and I have 23 vintage synthesizers in it. And I just go in that room and I turn everything on and I don't write, I just hit record and I jam it. Kind of like what Mike Dean does, in a way. But I just went ahead and did that and I just started getting very emotional about the melodies of the old Moogs and how they need to be detuned at a certain point and the pitch and the bend and the glide. It took me away. And that was SkyPolar.

Actually, we did put the rhythm tracks of "Ulterior Motives" up in the studio last night and I went, "This is gonna be great, where we're gonna take this." And we're gonna keep it very original but I'm also probably going to include a remix of it where I'm gonna take it to a different level. We'll do the original version, very '80s, we'll use '80s synthesizers and all that. But we're gonna do a remix on it too that's gonna be very dark and very fun, too.

It seems like you have had really interesting careers. I know you did a lot of paranormal ghost documentaries together.

Christopher: Yeah, we did a film for Sony Pictures called Death Tunnel, and it was about one of the most haunted places in America. And after we did that we witnessed some paranormal experiences so we shot a documentary, SyFy Channel picked that up, and then we started working with them for the next 10 years doing paranormal documentaries, which did very well. Including the real Exorcist story of what really happened. So that did really well, and of course I did all the music to all those films as well. But I don't think we ever forgot our musical roots, you know? You never do, whatever you're really savvy and really committed to, what's in your heart. You can go somewhere but it still comes back. It's always there. And that was music for us.

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Are there any other funny or interesting stories that you can recall, either from around 1986 or just throughout your career?

Christopher: If you think it's awkward to watch a porno, just try working on one. [Laughs] That's weird. It's kind of like watching your dog jump on the couch and hump the pillow. You kinda go like, "Don't do that, please, don't." So that was very awkward for us to be involved in that.

Philip: Yeah, I think in a nutshell that that whole era of adult stuff was a whole different world. Because nowadays it's just a camera and it goes on. But back then they were really trying to make films with stories. And there were a lot of great filmmakers that came from that genre. I learned how to shoot film — I'm not talking about digital or video, I'm talking about actual film. And there were real craftsmen on those movies. Real lighting people. So I have a different viewpoint when people...you know, they joke about it and I laugh with them, but I also know that a lot of people that are real artists do these kinds of things so they can get their chops in. They get to learn their craft and they get paid to do it, and then they move on to other things.

Christopher: I will say this. I'm not saying this is something to be bragging about but we won best music for every adult film we ever did. [Laughs]

Philip: And here's something funny. Chris would always say, "So what did you do on the set? I did the wardrobe." And they're going, "There's wardrobe?" [Laughs]

Christopher: I actually did the costuming on some of those movies as well. I was able to go and rent very big costuming from big costume houses in Hollywood and bring in the real Hollywood wardrobe. Which made the girls feel better and that made me feel good because a lot of them were treating them not very well. So it was nice to be able to treat them classy. It was a different time, and it was some fond memories. But we do want to just say that we appreciate everyone that fought to get that song found and carl92 is nowhere to be found, I hear. So if carl92 reads this article, reach out, because I want to say thank you to you.

Philip: I guess he didn't want to admit he watched an adult film to find the song. [Laughs]

Christopher: I'm not sure what the situation is, but we wanted to thank him and thank...I believe it's over 40,000 sleuths who worked hard to get this song tracked down. And that meant a lot to us, that people even cared. I mean, it really means a lot to us. So thank you to everyone that went to bat for the song.

Thank you guys for making it!

Philip: It's a very catchy song, isn't it?

It is! It's been stuck in my head for the past two days now.

Philip: You want to know something? Everybody keeps telling me that. They hear it once and then it's stuck in their head. [Laughs]

There are much worse things to have stuck in your head, I can tell you that.

Christopher: Yeah, like the scenes from the movie! [Laughs] I couldn't even watch that movie, to be honest with you. It was like, "Whoa." That's what people used to look like in the '70, I guess.

If there's anything else you want to say...

Philip: Follow us for the release. The Booth Brothers films, also, and what we're doing. Because we want to thank everybody and we're gonna blow people away.

Christopher: We are going to put out an '80s album after we re-release "Ulterior Motives."

Philip: We're going to give 'em what they want!

Christopher: And if they like it, please enjoy it. And if not, we had fun doing it, you know?

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