The musician and composer on action RPG Bastion talks about his path into the games industry.
Published on 13 March 2012.
What first inspired you to get into your craft?
I think the first time I knew I wanted to pursue music was when I recorded my first EP with my high school band. I didn't know a lot about recording at the time, so I did as much research as I could, went out and bought some basic equipment and started messing around. Something about the process of multitrack recording was particularly fascinating to me, and I knew I was hooked!
How did you first break into the industry?
I got lucky! My good friend from childhood, Amir Rao, is one of the co-founders of Supergiant Games. When the studio was just starting, he asked me to do all the audio and I said "Yes!"
Which professional figure in your field do you find the most inspiring?
When I played Dungeon Keeper, back in the day, I was really inspired by the music that Russell Shaw composed for that. I've had a handful of other moments like that with specific games, but there isn't necessarily one particular individual I draw inspiration from.
If you hadn’t managed to break into your field, what was your plan B?
Before I was working in games, I did a bit of composing for some smaller TV and film projects. I was also working as a producer as well as a hired musician here and there. I suppose that was plan B...
Which game do you wish you could have worked on?
Fallout 2 is one of my favourite games of all time! I would love to have been a part of that process.
What single piece of advice would you give to a young person trying to break into your discipline and get noticed? How do you stand out from the crowd?
The ability to be self-sufficient as a composer/performer/producer all in one is really valuable. This involves some level of proficiency with a DAW [digital audio workstation] of choice, and probably the ability to play a few instruments as well. If every mix you give to someone sounds ‘final’ this will definitely give you a leg up!
Were there any people who supported/mentored/championed you in the early stages of your career? How important are these kinds of relationships?
Before I got into games, I interned with a couple different composers for TV and film. This was really valuable to learn about the different workflows people have. My parents were really supportive when I was trying to make it doing something I love. Amir Rao trusted that I wouldn't screw up too bad and gave me a chance to work in games. This was a pretty invaluable relationship. Developing personal relationships with talented people you respect is never a bad thing!
How do you think the UK games industry will change in the next few years?
In general, games are headed more in the direction of being downloadable, with the retail model becoming less and less relevant. This allows all sorts of smaller companies to spring up and digitally distribute, without the massive overhead associated with retail. Exciting times!