Interview: Chris Huelsbeck @ gamescom

Chris HuelsbeckChris Huelsbeck is not just a composer, he is a living legend among those who have scored some of the well-known classics in videogame history. Not only through his music, but by creating the base idea for scrolling music arrangement programs (so called trackers) and thereby redefining how game music was created in the beginning of game music for computers like the Commodore 64.

Counting all the awards that Huelsbeck has racked up over the years is nearly impossible, he has been inspiration to a lot of composers.

We sat down with Chris to talk about his own creative process when scoring games.

How do you go about finding the right mood of the game you work on? Do you read up on all information or do you freely create a concept?

I look at all materials that are available already when starting out on a project, be it story, concept art or early demos and try to form an idea about the mood, style and instrumentation of the soundtrack.

How much does the underlying story affect your creative process?

I think it is very important that a game soundtrack supports the action on the screen and adds to the emotional impact of the story. So I always strive to find themes that are supportive and memorable at the same time.

If the game is set in a realistic environment which can be mirrored to our world, do you use classic scores as a basis for your new creations?

There are definitely inspirations to look to in movies and other game soundtracks, but I often try to find something new and special to add.

Do you usually start with a segment, a theme or do you develop the overall score as a whole?

I start the composition process by collecting a lot of very rough ideas, melodies or fragments to try out different things. The best of these then go into the next stage where I flesh things out a bit more with better sounds and more arrangement. The whole project then starts to come into focus musically.

Do you like working with orchestras and big scale compositions or small band-like environments more?

The bigger the better…