Round-Up: Discussions

From a Piece by Kilian Eng.

Podcasts & Video Interviews


Steven Melin.
We discuss the major projects I've turned down, including Stranger Things. We also chat about how to discover your style as a composer and how to navigate career direction in a world of endless possibilities.

Composer's Concepts
We talked about everything from my music influences growing up to working on games such as Fez, Hyper Light Drifter and films with David Robert Mitchell.

Ashton Gleckman
We discuss film scoring specifically, and the work on It Follows, Under the Silver Lake, and Triple Frontier.


From and Inspired By
We talk in detail about Under the Silver Lake.

Humans Who Make Games
We discuss the chiptune scene, history of music in games, compositional process for video games, the changing internet culture...

Rock n' Roll Beer Guy
We drink beer and talk about my youth, career history, philosophy from project to project, software, and other stuff !


The Game Music Podcast
We talk about the early years of my career, procedural music in Mini Metro and Beasts of Balance, techniques used in Fez and Hyper Light Drifter, among other things.


Lost Beat 6.
We talk about creative process, philosophy, career experiences, and peership.

Game Dev Loadout.
We talk about authenticity, building meaningful relationships, maintaining consistency over long periods and not focusing on too many different projects.

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.

Indie Insider.
We speak about my background, FEZ, Hyper Light Drifter, the art of seizing an opportunity, maintaining motivation and inspiration in your work over time, and negotiating pay as a contractor/freelancer.

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.


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

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.

Composer Quest.
I spoke with composer Charlie McCarron about the early stages of Under the Silver Lake (most of which ended up changing), the musical succession from FEZ to Hyper Light Drifter, and the cross-pollenation that happened between Hyper Light Drifter and It Follows. (Note: Charlie asked me about 'The Water Shelf', and I thought he was talking about 'Acropolis Falls'). We also (try) to improvise a Beach Boys style ditty, but whether we succeeded or not is up to you to decide.

The Collective Podcast. (currently down)
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.

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

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

Sonic Academy.
I join Chris chatting about how I got my break scoring games, producing over 40 albums, and why I turned down the chance to score Netflix's hit 'Stranger Things'



Pop Disciple
We talk upbringing, process, FEZ, It Follows, Triple Frontier, Under the Silver Lake.

Headphone Commute
We primarily talk shop, about studio setup, gear, process, and things of that nature.


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.

The Damn Fine Podcast. (currently down)
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…

Waveform City. (curreently down)
Dropped by the local synthesizer museum to talk synths, naturally!


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. (currently down)
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.

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.

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

Bleeps n' Bloops.](
Group discussion about games and such at Fantastic Arcade 2014.


Bandcamp did an episode about video game music and spoke to me and a lot of other independent game composers like Danny Baranowksy, Austin Wintory, Jim Guthrie, Laura Shigihara, Ben Prunty, and Jimmy Hinson.

Sup, Holmes?
We talk about coming up, Fez, Shoot Many Robots, KRUNCH, Bit.Trip Runner 2 and many other games.


We talk about FEZ.

In Depth: Gunhouse

Gunhouse was a very unique and fun project for me. I set out to create a soundtrack primarily using loops. I was inspired by a conversation I had with my friend and colleague James Primate about a talk Darren Korb gave about his work on the game Bastion. That soundtrack contains a lot of premade loops. There is sometimes a stigma associated with using loops ... I think sometimes its use is characterized as a form of laziness, but I thought it would be a really fun and interesting challenge to try to create a bunch of music that was almost entirely based around these sound files. I wanted to see how far I could get using premade assets as a primary source of inspiration. It turns out it's a great way to not only work quickly, but to flex creative muscle and do strange aesthetic things. There are many artists who have discovered the benefits of this way of working. My friend and colleague David Kanaga is working on a game currently that is made up entirely of prefab assets from the Unity store, and it is one of the most bizarre and entertaining games I've ever played.

From Nothing to Something

One of the real boons of this creative process for me was how quickly I could get interesting musical ideas going. I would listen to loop after loop, using the same sort of vetting process I would use to design synths or produce tracks made up of original samples.

Track Descriptions


This one had sort of a game show meets arcade vibe that seemed to work well as a title screen. Farfisa type organ ended up being one of the sounds I used repeatedly in the soundtrack. That and harmonica.

Children's Sport

This tune has some looping phrases of a Chinese stringed instrument (can't remember which one) that I autotuned to have less note changes. I used these as a framework for a lot of the compositional choices which was quite a fun exercise. I harmonized with the part using pulse waves, and created entirely new melodies using that melody. The three-part organish solo at the end of the loop is also in a way inspired by that original looping phrase.

These Skulls are Really Mad

This is probably my least favorite tune on the soundtrack. It's more of a pensive, puzzley vibe.

General Supplies

This tune was actually a reject submission from the game 'Beatbuddy'. I think I wrote this after coming back from a Disasterpeace tour in Mexico. I met Baiyon there, the electronic artist from Kyoto and I was inspired to try to write something more groove oriented. While it's not particularly loop focused (though there is some stuff from Stylus RMX), the light, funky vibe turned out to be a solid fit for this soundtrack. The bass sound is a NES-style pulse wave and a picked bass in unison.

Today's Commotion

Fun fact, this song has a loop from the Omnisphere library in it that you can also hear in one of the Bit.Trip Runner games ... I noticed it almost immediately when browsing through the library and thought it would be fun to add it anyway and try to make it sound different. This track also features a real fun harmonica solo.

I was inspired by the general vibe of 'Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp', by Peter McConnell, from the Psychonauts Soundtrack.

Took to Misdeeds

This song was originally called 'Wizard's Tower. I wrote it around the same time I wrote the music for 'Rise of the Obsidian Interstellar', but never quite found a home for it. Originally it had more of a prog-rock instrumentation, so I went back and made it a bit more electronic and weird.

Hale and Hearty

This was the first tune I explicitly wrote for Gunhouse. I really wanted to write something groovy and weird that would get you moving. This was before I settled into the more loop oriented approach, and was focusing more on production and vibe. Those elements definitely carried over.

Eat Your Vegetables, Punks!

This one really ventures out into different geographic territory. Cuíca (Brazil), Mbira & Axatse (West Africa), Didgeridoo (Australia), all come together to make a fun feel good jam.

My first exposure to cuíca was on the Paul Simon song 'Me & Julio Down By the Schoolyard'.

Decent Spirits

I definitely had dreams of George Michael's 'Careless Whisper' and the 'Sexy Sax Guy' meme from YouTube, where a fella just shows up in random public places, riffing on the melody from aforementioned song. It was fun to experiment with saxophone, since I almost never do. I also experimented a lot with throwing delay effects on the whole track to get some pretty weird pulsing effects. One of the techniques I developed for this soundtrack, was harmonizing and mimicking the looping phrases with 8-bit sounds to flesh them out and give them a bit more of a gamey personality.

The Other Kind of Fork

Brandon, the lead developer for Gunhouse wanted me to make something with gamelan instruments. I happened to have some gamelan loops and the rest is history! I found combining real world instrument sounds from around the world with old electronic sounds created a fun vibe that suited the game well. This tune also has trombone runs, a string section, a crazy pentatonic distorted harmonica solo, speak and spell sounds, and some NES-style pulse waves.