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PixelJunk Monsters Soundtrack: An Interview with Otograph

Dylan Cuthbert's Avatar + Posted by Dylan Cuthbert on May 22, 2008 // President and Executive Producer, Q-Games Ltd.

PJM Soundtrack

Hello, it’s Dylan Cuthbert from Q-Games, the company behind PixelJunk, and I’ve decided to write another blog entry to coincide with our upcoming release of the PixelJunk Monsters Soundtrack. Yes, you heard right! We are going to be the first people ever to release a soundtrack on the PSN store and it’s because we have been inundated with requests from all the fans out there! Here’s a sample track:

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So today’s blog is going to be slightly different so I can simultaneously introduce you to Otograph, who made the music, and Kentaro Yoshida, who is studio director here at Q-Games and has worked hard as Producer on all the PixelJunk titles. Yoshida has a long history, having worked as an artist on all the Panzer Dragoon games for Sega, including “Orta” (for which he was art director) and he also worked for a few years at Sony Japan during which time I met with him and we made the duck-in-a-bath PS2 tech demo together. Anyway, today I am acting simply as translator because I have persuaded him to interview Otograph for the blog, so here we go:

Yoshida and his chaos

Yoshida: To begin with please tell us a bit about yourselves, the genre of music you make and what you have been up to recently.

    Otograph: We are creative unit consisting of two people, Iura Takashi and Oshima Sachiyo. We formed in 2004 and work to express ourselves in art as well as music, without limiting ourselves to any particular medium. We are often told our music doesn’t really fit in a particular genre, and that is probably because instead of specializing in one style, we place more importance on moments of touch and visual sensation to inspire us.

    From 2007 we have been involved in a young modern artist group called “small-ness” and have been holding exhibitions here in Japan. We are planning to show this exhibition outside Japan in the near future. Also, we are considering holding our own independent Otograph exhibition.

Yoshida: It’s interesting but there seem to be many artists and musicians in Kyoto, why do you think this is so?

    Otograph: Well the truth is both of us just happened to have been born here and we also went to University here in Kyoto. But we do think Kyoto is a very relaxed city that lets you concentrate on being creative and this might be one of the reasons. We also have a lot of artistic friends here. To use a phrase from Buddhism, Kyoto is a city with many threads of destiny. Of course, nowadays, no matter where are you are there are many ways to get your message across to the world. We plan to expand out of Kyoto at some point but wherever we go it will always be a very important place for us.

Yoshida: Ok, so name some of your all-time favorite games!

    Otograph: Well, we like different games, Iura’s favorite game is Wizardry 1 thru 4 and Oshima’s favorite is the original Game&Watch Donkey Kong!

Yoshida: You’re making me nostalgic. Tell me your favorite musician.

    Iura: There are so many musicians that I greatly respect so it is very difficult to choose a favorite. However, recently I have been listening to nothing but Wes Montgomery.
    Oshima: Glenn Herbert Gould. The grain and quality of the sound is really beautiful.

Yoshida: Please tell us about the experience you had making music for Monsters.

    Otograph: Well, first of all we were approached by Mr. Tominaga [Dylan side note: "Tomi" is the main director of PixelJunk Eden by the way] of Q-Games who would always came to our live music performances. We were interested in collaborating so we prepared a sample track (the raw material for “bye bye Monsters” which is on the soundtrack), and Q-Games signed us up. The rest is history!

Yoshida: I think this is the first time you’ve been involved in making music for a video game. So how was it?

    Otograph: We progressed quickly with the music before the design for the game was finalized. After hearing the initial description of the type of music Q-Games was looking for, we were given a lot of freedom to create whatever we liked. Then, when the game started coming together we were nicely surprised at how the music, art and the player’s movement all fit together so strangely well.

Yoshida: What did you find difficult about working on Monsters?

    Otograph: Well, for games, not only is there music, but there are also sound effects and we had to design both not to conflict with each other. For example, we tried to keep the rhythm sections and tones simple because of this. We also paid attention to giving the sound effects and music a sense of unity. The stages in Monsters are basically one screen so we attempted to use the music to expand the world beyond that for the player, and with just the music, our goal was to arouse the sensation in people to create puzzles.

Yoshida: So what is your opinion of the final product – PixelJunk Monsters?

    Otograph: Well actually, we only got around to buying a PS3 just a few weeks ago and now we are totally addicted to Monsters! Of course we play-tested the game a number of times during development but the final tuning that went into all of the stages is exquisite! When we close our eyes we see those pink tower level meters and gems floating before us. :-)

Yoshida: If you have the chance again, what genre or type of game would you like to be involved in?

    Otograph: Well, PixelJunk Monsters was a very fresh but at the same time somehow nostalgic-feeling game, so next we’d love to work on a game style that has never been seen before and is totally new and different. Right now, we are very interested in puzzle games, or games that make you exercise your brain.

Yoshida: I think there are probably a lot of people in the West who heard your music for the first time when they played Monsters and I’m sure you have gained many fans. So finally what would you like to say to them?

    Otograph: To everyone who listened to and enjoyed our music, we are hugely grateful to you all! We will endeavor to challenge ourselves more and more so keep cheering us on!

otograph

________________________
Well, that wraps up the Q&A. Thanks to Yoshida and Otograph for taking the time to give us some detailed and thoughtful answers…I enjoyed translating them. Remember everyone, the soundtrack is available this Thursday May 22 on the US store for just $2.99. Support us and we’ll support you!

//Add Your Own

53 Comments   1 Reply

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1

+ maluraq on May 22nd, 2008 at 6:18 am said:

I’ve had several people ask me about the music for this game, and now I’ll have to inform them all they can actually get it soon. Excellent music, love the music + sound effect mix, and I hope Otograph works on more games in the future.

– Maluraq on PSN
Yes, I blog – http://blog.mikebabcock.ca


2

+ vagreville on May 22nd, 2008 at 6:22 am said:

This is too cool. Thanks Dylan. I’ll be buying this the moment I get home from work. PSN is getting better all the time and its because of stuff like this.


3

+ Cpt.blue on May 22nd, 2008 at 6:34 am said:

So the whole time i’m reading this i’m thinking… “No way, I stopped buying music years ago…” But $3? I will most def support the numerous people mentioned here


4

+ Federation on May 22nd, 2008 at 6:51 am said:

Love it. Are you making more ad-ons for Monsters?


5

+ OddyOh on May 22nd, 2008 at 6:53 am said:

$3?! SOLD! Prepare to win the first ever PSN-Grammy! :)


6

+ StalkingSilence on May 22nd, 2008 at 7:03 am said:

Wha wha wha wha wha whaat dog?
This woulda been cooler if PJM was being patched to have custom soundtracks. And then you sold the actual soundtrack to the game. Would have been a cool promotion.


7

+ GeminiBoy on May 22nd, 2008 at 7:07 am said:

How many tracks will there be?
Also, will they be full length songs or a collection of 2 minute pieces?


8

+ StalkingSilence on May 22nd, 2008 at 7:09 am said:

Oh what format will the songs be in? MP3? MP4? Will they be DRM-protected?


9

+ Stoffinator on May 22nd, 2008 at 7:16 am said:

Great stuff, just a shame I got no way to buy it.


11

+ vagreville on May 22nd, 2008 at 7:18 am said:

@Stalking
Dylan said they weren’t going to be DRM’d.


12

+ Chrisrahosiris on May 22nd, 2008 at 7:38 am said:

I didn’t see this coming. I wonder if other games will follow suit.


13

+ StalkingSilence on May 22nd, 2008 at 7:49 am said:

@vagreville,
I must have missed it – I still don’t see it… Must be going crazy today.


14

+ maluraq on May 22nd, 2008 at 7:54 am said:

TheMissingLink: in-game soundtracks are already available through the SDK for game companies that wish to use it. See Super Stardust, Bowling and MLB if you need examples of different ways to do it already. Burnout: Paradise will have this in June as well.

Personally, I play most puzzle and shooter games with their built-in soundtrack and expect it to contribute to the game. Playing a game with a well-designed (non-random) soundtrack with your own music is like replacing the textures, map layouts and characters. It may be fun, but its not the same game anymore. I expect my games to be good as-delivered; I shouldn’t need to change the graphics, nor should I need to change the music.

See http://blog.mikebabcock.ca/2008/05/music-and-immersion.html


15

+ Kamesen on May 22nd, 2008 at 8:22 am said:

I love everything PixelJunk!

Sony – Please give us more MMOs. The PS3 can be “THE” MMO console (amongst everything else!). The Agency will not satisfy every MMO player. We need a classic-style RPG original title (aka. not Everquest anything, we already spent a few years playing that). What happened with Age of Conan? FFXI would have done great too! The MMO market is huge. Capture it.

-K


16

+ mtrevino on May 22nd, 2008 at 8:29 am said:

Um, $3? Okay… I’ll buy that. Seriously, the music is one of the best elements of the game. I’m guessing some of the music will find its way on my girlfriend’s next mix cd (she loves that game). :)

- michael


17

+ vagreville on May 22nd, 2008 at 8:33 am said:

@Stalking
Oh sorry, I didn’t mean to imply he said it in the post. It was in the PixelJunk news letter.


18

+ StalkingSilence on May 22nd, 2008 at 8:38 am said:

@vagreville,
What is the PixelJunk newsletter? Never heard of it. Is it emailed or can you drop me a link to it?
If you don’t want to post anything here, I’m StalkingSilence over at the PlayStation.com forums.


19

+ EmThor on May 22nd, 2008 at 8:40 am said:

THANK YOU, A DREAM JUST CAME TRUE!

sorry for caps, but I’m so happy!!!!!!!!!!

A humble Pixeljunk Monsters & Otograph fan from Hungary ^_^


20

+ vagreville on May 22nd, 2008 at 8:48 am said:

@Stalker
I can’t remember how I found out about the newsletter but all you need to do is drop a line to pixeljunk(at)q-game(dot)com and ask to be put on the PixelJunk news mailing list.


21

+ vagreville on May 22nd, 2008 at 8:50 am said:

Doh, I meant @Stalking

“Stalker” give you a whole ‘nuther image! Sorry.


22

+ stevelak on May 22nd, 2008 at 8:52 am said:

fantastic! i’ve looked on the internet for the PJM soundtrack before, i was hoping maybe the Asian market had a CD put out seeing as they have a CD soundtrack for pretty much every game released ever but not look.

But now for $3 i can get this! :D still, im a little worried that for $3 it wont be all the tracks :-S


23

+ Captain Fury on May 22nd, 2008 at 9:25 am said:

you got my support Q-games

PS: Blasto is still alive in our memories :(


Dylan Cuthbert's Avatar

24

+ Matt Morton on May 22nd, 2008 at 9:31 am said:

@stevelak: 24 tracks, all full-length, no DRM protection, MP3 format.

Granted, a very small number of the tracks are not full length ‘songs’ like the ‘Game Over’ theme, but the rest are all full-length and crystal clear.

BTW – The ‘Game Over’ track is now my ringtone! :)


25

+ reson8er on May 22nd, 2008 at 9:39 am said:

To Otograph:

I would like to thank you for bringing your unique outlook to the Pixel Junk Series!

My Wife, who usually really dislikes video game music, complimented your music whilst I was playing PJM! I really was shocked as I never usually hear words “Wow this has really nice music” from her when I’m playing a game!

Thanks again, for your contribution, and we are looking forward to your next collaboration with Q games.

Keep up the good work!


26

+ CorrisD on May 22nd, 2008 at 9:53 am said:

This is really awesome, and I would totally purchase these, especially for the price.

But alas, I am in the UK.
How long till we get it over here?
Make the price just right and for £5 I can get the sound track and a Classic PS1 game. :D


27

+ Cpt.blue on May 22nd, 2008 at 10:10 am said:

@maluraq

Stop shamelessly advertising your blog here.

Its pathetic.


28

+ erico316 on May 22nd, 2008 at 10:36 am said:

wait wait? am i hearing correctly are we getting music on the playstation store?You said this is the first one so does that mean we getting more?Also if we getting more cds on the store we going to need a music taged to find its easyer so are you guys working on that?


29

+ andycapps on May 22nd, 2008 at 10:46 am said:

Dylan – Any chance of getting a patch later to include online co-op and voice chat? I’ve had a blast playing this with a friend, but it would be even better if he didn’t have to come over to play.


30

+ Stinkin Mushroom on May 22nd, 2008 at 11:31 am said:

Hmm, if it’s not too expensive i’ll maybe buy it, i love the songs from Encore!

Oh by the way … Will there be Encore 2??? Please say yes


31

+ maRzTYPE on May 22nd, 2008 at 11:36 am said:

This is cool. Will it be on the PC store so I can just download it to my PSP?


32

+ frito on May 22nd, 2008 at 11:39 am said:

Only $2.99?!?!?!?!?!?!?

wow! This musician’s time is worth waay more than that, so consider this purchase a no- brainer!

I like glitchy minimal electronic music and the 8_bit scene is cool too, so this is right up my alley, and at only $2.99 for the entire soundtrack, it’s insanely affordable, too!

Wondering what the composers use for creation..

I use Cubase, Ableton, Fruity loops, and Sound Forge mainly.

I like the idea of affordable soundtracks!

If they are all only $2.99 I’d buy em all!


33

+ Stinkin Mushroom on May 22nd, 2008 at 11:42 am said:

sorry didn’t saw the price… for 3$ i’ll buy it just for the support and to make it a ringtone as well


34

+ Withnail on May 22nd, 2008 at 12:38 pm said:

Please bring this to the EU store. The PJM music is great.


35

+ kspraydad on May 22nd, 2008 at 12:51 pm said:

I’m gonna feed this into BEATS on my PSP…ahhhh, PlayStation MashUp.


36

+ MidgetguyII on May 22nd, 2008 at 12:52 pm said:

lol It’s kind of funny how people were always complaining that there was no music on the Playstation Store… Well, now we get AWESOME music for just $3!!!! I have a feeling that this is just the beginning of an AWESOME future for the PS3!

*Now… if only those darn Playstation Network Cards were released!!!! lol


37

+ kspraydad on May 22nd, 2008 at 12:54 pm said:

oh…btw…don’t be d**chebags and ‘share’ this…support your developers!


38

+ Delriach on May 22nd, 2008 at 1:20 pm said:

2.99 is quite the nice pricepoint. I hope this leads the way into more soundtracks being released.


39

+ Youlikeyams on May 22nd, 2008 at 1:23 pm said:

One question I know will remain unanswered; will this come to Europe?


    Dylan Cuthbert's Avatar

     

    + mmorton on May 22nd, 2008 at 2:04 pm said:

    We are working very hard to get it ready for a Europe release as well. I don\’t have the official release date for SCEE yet, but please be assured that we are working to get it released as soon as possible.


40

+ Ktoso the Ryba on May 22nd, 2008 at 2:24 pm said:

The music is great and a REALLY appriciate releasing it as MP3s! It’s great promotion for the band/game/and even sony. Hope you’ll consider releasing more soundtracks in this way, would be very happy about it! :-)


41

+ xplosneer on May 22nd, 2008 at 3:16 pm said:

Hey, why not use the “Preview” button on the store? Great place to.


42

+ Joakim Hagdahl on May 22nd, 2008 at 3:53 pm said:

That was a great surprise.

Oh and I had a question for Dylan, are you doing something similar for the soundtrack of Eden. The game seems like it could work well with a similar kind of music.


43

+ pakkman781 on May 22nd, 2008 at 4:37 pm said:

Just finished moving it over into iTunes. Well worth the asking price. Thanks for making it DRM-free MP3s, DRMed stuff is a real drag when I want to play it between my computers, iPod and PSP, depending on what I have with me at the time. Any chance you could provide a higher resolution album art for this? Somewhere around 600×600 would be great. I’m a real stickler for album art, and the art that came on the files was tiny, and the 256×256 art is still kinda small from the top of this post.

Thanks for the great soundtrack!


44

+ X1rtam on May 22nd, 2008 at 8:15 pm said:

I would have liked to see these in some sort of surround-sound mode, makes no use of my sound system! At least not without simulated surround on or something so at least all the speakers are doing something…I would have paid a bit more if that were added. Still totally worth the $3 though.


45

+ stevelak on May 23rd, 2008 at 12:50 am said:

Wow my question got answered! :D and it’s fantastic news! I was going to buy it for $3 anyway, even if it was just a few tracks, but it being the whole soundtrack is amazing. Guys, I’m so impressed! :D needless to say, I bought & downloaded it last night. As for Europeans (like me), there are ways to buy from the US store! And X1rtam, that’s what Pro Logic II music mode is for! ;-)


46

+ Insane_Rooster on May 23rd, 2008 at 5:01 am said:

Will these tracks be released in Europe as well? I live in Sweden and would very much like to have these as well.


47

+ kspraydad on May 23rd, 2008 at 6:08 am said:

@46 … see #39


48

+ maluraq on May 23rd, 2008 at 8:26 am said:

@cpt.blue – most forums/blogs allow signatures and link-backs — this one is terrible for the fact that someone can’t even check what other posts another user has made or mark them as a friend or foe.

I make my own blog entries about things that interest me and when they’re in response to something posted here, I include a link in my comment. I might note, I _also_ comment. I saw your one-liner, very insightful. I’m pretty sure people would be annoyed if I’d posted all 6 paragraphs of my blog entry in the comment box instead of linking to it.


49

+ ahhhchoo on May 23rd, 2008 at 1:58 pm said:

Will the soundtrack be released on CD some time as well? Or is this a PSN only release?


50

+ ongak on May 23rd, 2008 at 6:27 pm said:

That’s so awesome that you guys are bringing it to us for only 3 dollars. I recently purchased some of OTOGRAPHS earlier works on HearJapan for like 40 dollars!!!! Regardless it was the only place I could get them and the music is really amazing and unique. I also got this which is quite good:

http://www.hearjapan.com/store/album_info/The_best_of_ryoondotea

This is a compilation album of all of the other artists on Otograph’s label in Japan. OVerall the musical style is somewhat similar, that ambient techno vibe. There’s a whole world out there of awesome music. Thanx PSN!


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