Adrian and Anthony are big fans of Wings of Bluestar so they tracked down the music supremo responsible for this and some other lovely games. Here’s Big Impact Sound to answer some of their questions. Take it away, gents.
Tell us a little about yourself personally and how long you have been in the industry?
As a composer I have more than 25 years of experience. I am originally classically trained, but I feel at ease in all musical genres. I pursue perfection in everything I do, whether it concerns writing acoustic or electronic music, mixing or mastering. I always aim for the highest quality; I try to incorporate classic virtue in my sound, in every note I write.
Could you explain to us a little about your Big Impact Sound outfit?
I mainly work as a solo artist and hope to make a mark with my music and sound design, hence the name of the company. I am composing and mixing all the music myself. In case of tight deadlines or specific requests I can call upon fellow musicians to offer a helping hand. Meeting the needs of my customers is my highest priority. By offering a wide selection of library music on the one hand and custom-made creations on the other I hope to have an impact on my clients’ projects.
Could you tell us about your track record in the industry and any well-known works you have done? What can we expect from you in the future?
In the past I have worked on various projects. Currently there is a lot in the pipeline: I am working on the music and the sound design for a racing game, a platform game, a puzzle game and an RPG game. None of those is released yet, so I cannot disclose much about it yet. What’s just been released is “Wings of Bluestar” a beautifully drawn shoot ‘em up with a nice retro feel to it. The game can be downloaded here.
What’s it like working at Big Impact Sound on a daily basis?
It’s a dream come through. Although it means working hard every day again, finding new inspiration over and over, managing tight deadlines, it’s very rewarding when your music in the end is used in various projects and listened to by an audience that is different every time. It’s like creating a new universe every day within the confines of the four studio walls, releasing it into the real world when I close the studio door behind me.
How did you get the inspiration and idea to work in this particular area?
I have a long history of game playing myself. This combined with my lifelong interest in music and image made me enter that area almost naturally.
As a child already I was fascinated by the music in games and movies. I quickly understood that good music is not only there in the background but can lift a game or a movie to a higher level. The evolution from 8bit to the orchestral scores from today and dealing with the specific limits of every medium has particularly drawn my interest.
What video game soundtracks and composers do you believe are the best in the business?
I greatly admire the work of Koji Kondo. He has been around in the music business for such a long time and wrote so many classics. Over the years his compositions have instrumentally remained intact and are brilliant in any arrangement or adaptation.
David Wise is also a favourite of mine, mainly because of his work for Donkey Kong on SNES. It’s incredible how he, back then, pushed the boundaries of what was possible with the SNES in terms of sound.
What are the best ways for keeping up to date with your work?
You can always find the latest compositions and news updates on my website https://www.bigimpactsound.com/; or you can go immediately to my Soundcloud account to listen to the music. I can also be found on Twitter.
How do you give a helping hand to make sure the music fits the correct game and particular levels?
I always work in close dialogue with the customer. I mainly use keywords or reference tracks to get a description of the needs of my clients or to propose to them what I had in mind based on their requests. I take enough time to thoroughly discuss their requirements in order to be and to stay on the same page with them throughout the whole duration of the project. By sending them intermediate parts of the score – in the case of custom-made music – I give my customers the opportunity to fine-tune or detail even further their needs.
What advice would you offer anyone looking to enter the VGM industry?
My advice is fivefold:
- Work every day.
- Be persistent, don’t give up to soon.
- Be able to genuinely write music.
- Don’t limit yourself to one genre.
- Have a true interest in games.
What are your personal favourite video games of all time and why?
My all-time favourite games are Pro Evolution Soccer, in my opinion the best soccer game there is because of its awesome gameplay; SimCity, because it’s one of the archetypes of strategy games; Super Mario Bros. 1, it’s iconic, full stop; and ultimately, Pac-Man, also iconic and it aged more gracefully than other games from the same era, like Pong or Space Invaders.
If you had the chance to have a special video game character work in your studio, who would it be?
Without any doubt Sonic would come in handy: his spines are ideal as a paper holder. Yoshi could join us too. With his stretchy tongue he can grab objects I cannot reach for. Last, but not least, Princess Zelda could complete the pack: some womanly counterweight for all the testosterone in the room. I can imagine her entering the studio, while “Zelda’s Lullaby” reverberates through the room: the perfect inspiration for a composer.
If you could share a few drinks with a video game character, who would you choose and why?
I guess a drink with Bowser would be interesting. I don’t think he is as evil as everyone thinks. We could end the night with some good old-fashioned hammer throwing – if he still got the moves, that is.
Next to that I would also like to invite the Duck from “Duck Hunt” for a nice chat to boost his morale a bit. I think he needs it.
Adrian & Anthony