Interview: Sound of Games – Part I

portrait_sound_of_gamesSound of Games: Two musicians on a mission to compose and perform the best game music ever. With their very individual style and well-known music, Filipp Issa and Michael Stoeckemann are guests of honour at every large gaming convention. Their way of writing for games is unique in different aspects. First of all they research real-life locations that fit the mood of the games they write for to get into the feeling for the ambience such a location creates. On the other hand Sound of Games represents a tailor-made approach to what the game will need – no matter if it is composing for a large orchestra or smaller, more intimate setups.

We sat down with Filipp and Michael to talk about their inspiration and aspirations in the world of game music.

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?

We team up with the game’s producers as early as possible to get a deep insight into the game’s concept, art, story and style. With this information, we go out to visit places in the real world that are similar to the environment that the player is going to find in the game later. This gives us the inspiration and the feeling of how the sound of the game should be.

How much does the underlying story affect your creative process?

The story includes the behavior of the game’s characters, what happens to them and how their feelings are affected during the story. Our music has to underline all these feelings. Like in a blockbuster movie the music has to deeply express all actions of the game.

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?

As a video game composer, who wants to create a premium listening experience, the knowledge about the music classics is indispensable, be it the old masters like Bach or the pioneers of film music like Bernard Herrmann. A video game that takes place in the 17th century should make use of sounds and composing techniques of that century, to put the player right into that place and time. When we score a game like this, we deeply study the music of that time. For example: We are working on an ancient Greek game right now, and we are getting deep insights into the instruments and the compositions of that time period.

Read here for Part II of the interview.