Round-Up: Discussions

From a Piece by Kilian Eng.

2017

Checkpoints. We talk about creative processes, procedural audio systems, chiptunes, my evergreen love of Ice Hockey games, being exposed to Zelda in utero, Cave Story and my early musical steps creating entrance music for electronic wrestlers.

Super Marcato Bros Podcast. I spoke with the Marcato Bros. about my career, and more specifically about my sound, and the specifics of projects like FEZ, Hyper Light Drifter, It Follows, Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake, Gunhouse, and Mini Metro.

2016

Adventures in Success. I recall the untold story of 'Jack Brooze', my eWrestling alter ego as a teenager.

How Was Work? I talk with my friend Randy about moving to Los Angeles, workspace tinkering, and Beasts of Balance.

Dear Air. I speak with Gamespot's horror podcast about my career, ewrestling, Rescue the Beagles and horror, naturally.

Butterfly Effect. I spoke with Tristan Ettleman about the draw of chiptunes, the doors Fez opened, and writing the score to It Follows in three weeks.

The Collective Podcast. Ash and I talk about breaking into the music industry, the business side of making music, the importance of inspiration and collaboration, and where things are headed in the future.

Biya Byte. We talk about Hyper Light Drifter and It Follows, and work process. We also talk about VR.

2015

Vehlinggo. Aaron Vehling and I had a very thorough conversation in New York over dinner. We talked a lot about creativity and lifestyle.

The Damn Fine Podcast. We talk a lot about vinyl and soundtracks.

Train Station at 8. We talk about video game music, live performance, listening habits, Doom, LA Noire, Tom Francis, Zan-zan-zawa-veia, Sonic the Hedgehog, The Floor is Jelly, domain names, Hearthstone, Peter McConnell, tone, soundtrack lengths, retro music facsimiles, The Hero’s Journey, Hideki Naganuma, Jake Kaufman (virt), Kirby, April Fools, Shnabubula, brain training, Jeff Bridges Sleeping Tapes, music in dreams, Mini Metro, etc…

People I Think Are Cool. I talk about It Follows, FEZ, creative freedom and expectations, live performances, switching format/medium, Wikipedia, musical cross-pollination, horror, Fantastic Fest, interviews, blogging, social media, patronage, streaming, income, work history, reading, Jodorowsky, Adventure Time, Mini Metro, GTA, Katamari, Keita Takahashi and my minimalistic philosophy and how it seeps into everything I do.

Waveform City. Dropped by the local synthesizer museum to talk synths, naturally!

2014

Composer Quest. I talk about January, generative music, music theory, programming, The Floor is Jelly, postmortem, Monkey Island, iMUSE, time management, FEZ, Chopin, FZ, remix albums, hair, Rise of the Obsidian Interstellar, my solo piano project, songwriting, lyrics, advice for composers, etc…

Inside Video Game Music. I talk about my musical background, music rights, contract terms, NEUTRALITE, collaborative process, time management, FEZ, synthesis, “Adventure”, musical analysis, note entry, quantization, tempo, looping, soundtrack variations, Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake, mastering, leveling, Leq, January, programming, my solo piano project, It Follows, temp love, name origins, using an alias, identity consolidation, listening habits, favorite games, games with great music, Jukio Kallio, Eirik Suhrke, etc.

Top Score. I talk about FEZ, musical narrative, “Fear”, “Glitch”, “Sync”, “Puzzle”, soundtrack variations, “Continuum”, Chopin, name origins, January, my solo piano project, etc.

Shutup Songwriters. Kyle and I talk about style & genre, entrepreneurship, expectations, creative process & the role of technology, instrumentation, process, old ideas, FEZ, “The Greatest Video Game Music, Vol. 2”, the internet, musical background, chiptunes, limitations/constraints, bitcrushing, tape emulation, sketching, switching from design to music, Berklee College of Music, going to school for music, navigating being an artist and a business, identity, etc.

Stay in Your Box

Artwork by Moebius. One of my favorite artists.

As an artist, being pigeonholed is an unfortunate reality that comes with the territory. There are times where a day doesn't go by that I don't feel categorically misunderstood. It can be frustrating to see people cast me into the same pools as things I might find distasteful, poorly executed, or weakly related ... But these associations are rarely malicious. They are judgments, often based on a small sample size ... a single point in space. I've worked on upwards of 50 different projects, but you might know me for one thing, therefore insert genre name here. People try to pin things down as static objects. It's a convenient shortcut that fails to illuminate the complexity of our world. We're all dynamic beings moving through space and time. I am a different person then I was an hour ago and so are you. This paragraph from Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay "Self-Reliance" sums up my feelings very nicely:

"With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. — 'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood."

I think the frustration I feel comes from an inherent desire to feel connected to people. I use my work as a way to connect to the world. On occasion people do manage to see what I am trying to express in my work and that is a very gratifying feeling. But often people find their own meaning in the work and it's been an ongoing process to accept that, especially when there is a consensus of which you are not a part.

Once you make something and release it out into the world, it can be hard to let go. But to find a healthy sense of distance from the work at that point helps to accept that others will experience it in their own way. There will always be some new genre, or some new piece of pop that people are influenced by, and no one's work exists in a vacuum. What you make will get caught up in the greater school of culture whether you like it or not. I've found it helpful to try and detach myself from the minutiae of external perceptions, whether they are collective or individual. I just try to focus on myself and my work.

If I'm doing the right things, I think I'll always be a few steps ahead, people trying to pin me down by the tail as I move past. And I'll always be misunderstood. Mostly.

Interview: High Scores

From 'Babel' by Cildo Meireles, a Tower of Old Radios at the Tate Modern in London.

I recently spoke with Bandcamp about a wide array of topics. We speak about my transition from graphic design to music, the rise and convergence of chipmusic and independent games, and how my personal life effects my work.

Link: Bandcamp