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Inside the inFAMOUS Music

Jonathan Mayer's Avatar + Posted by Jonathan Mayer on May 29, 2009 // Music Manager, SCEA

I’ve been playing and writing music for most of my life. I started playing the drums at a very young age and, as a drummer, I think I had a natural aversion to ‘electronic’ music when I was first turned on to it. Then one day, about ten years ago, a friend played me a record called ‘Permutation’ by Amon Tobin and suddenly I could see the light (and hear it, for that matter). Years later, I had the opportunity to put together a bunch of music as a style guide for Sucker Punch‘s new game, inFAMOUS. I did my duty as a loyal fan and peppered the style guide with some of Amon’s music, not because it would have worked in the game, but because I thought the folks making the game might have the same visceral reaction to his music that I always did. I never expected that it would actually lead to us working together.

inFAMOUS music 2 inFAMOUS music 1

Provided below is an interview we conducted with Amon Tobin regarding his involvement in the game. Check it out!

Q: What drew you to this particular project? How’d you get involved?

A. It was an opportunity to try something I’ve been wanting to do for some time, which was to make a musical score based on sound design. My last album “Foley Room” explored the use of foley recordings as the building blocks for rhythm and melody. This score took the marriage of music and sound design further still, using the environments and materials being interacted with in the game as the basis for the music itself.

Q. What was it like collaborating with other composers on the score? What was the collaboration process like?

A. It was an honor to have such a wealth of talent providing me with material to write with. Jonathan Mayer, Clint Bajakian and others all worked hard with me in the foley room to create unique percussive sounds that formed the basis of the music. Jonathan was like a machine constantly sending me new drums he’d laid down and we also benefited from the general enthusiasm of the people in the department who weren’t even supposed to be recording but who lent a hand. One of my favorite sessions was with Chuck Doud who spent a day with us recording these wicked bass lines which turned out to be extremely useful material to me. In addition I had these awe inspiring strings that Jim Dooley had written for the cinematics which I was given free reign to incorporate into my own arrangements. A highlight for me was working with Martin Tillman whose cello work inspired us all.

Q. What’s your favorite in-game track? Why?

A. There’s a track I submitted quite early on with the working title (“Nightcrawler”) which to me was very satisfying in the sense that it did what I set out to achieve. It had a balance of electronics and weird acoustic instruments that I felt worked. Later on there are whole sections of related music for gangs like the ‘Dustmen’ in the game which I really love.

Interested in learning more about the soundtrack? Take a look at Music4Games’ recent review, or better yet, experience it for yourself by downloading the soundtrack, available now on iTunes.

LISTEN TO A CLIP OF THE SOUNDTRACK HERE

//Add Your Own

59 Comments   17 Replies

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1

+ FelonOnParole on May 29th, 2009 at 2:02 pm said:

1st!


2

+ Thwip on May 29th, 2009 at 2:07 pm said:

It’s so interesting to hear about this kind of stuff, and how it comes together – thanx!


3

+ Korbei83 on May 29th, 2009 at 2:07 pm said:

That’s pretty much what I envisioned as I listen to inFamous’ score.

One thing: There’s not enough of it in-game. Too much silence.

Cole should have an MP3 player. i.e XMB in-game music.


    Jonathan Mayer's Avatar

     

    + Jonathan Mayer on May 29th, 2009 at 2:32 pm said:

    Thanks so much for the positive feedback! You know, it\’s always a tough one to strike that balance of how much music to have in a game of this size. This was our first experience at scoring a \’sandbox\’ game so we\’ll see how it evolves from here.

    -J


4

+ mckg123456789 on May 29th, 2009 at 2:10 pm said:

THATS COOL! THE inFamoussountrack does sound awesome!


5

+ Thrasher20 on May 29th, 2009 at 2:11 pm said:

That’s some creative stuff there!


6

+ TubaDude49 on May 29th, 2009 at 2:11 pm said:

What sound does a suspended tuba make? I haven’t been willing to try myself.


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    + Jonathan Mayer on May 29th, 2009 at 2:35 pm said:

    Yeah, the brass instruments that we beat on will never be the same, that\’s for sure….LOL!! Mostly I played that suspended Euphonium with wire brushes and it\’s pretty much used like a hi-hat would be on a regular drumkit. It\’s really rich and resonant and I had a lot of fun beating the tar out of it.
    -J


7

+ TerryVSL on May 29th, 2009 at 2:19 pm said:

Been playing inFamous all night.

The most fun I’ve had played a game this gen.


8

+ LN_MEXWARRIOR on May 29th, 2009 at 2:20 pm said:

CAN WE PLEASE GET IN-GAME XMB MUSIC?

It does not hurt the game because it would be an OPTION. I don’t understand why a AAA title can’t have this option when others like KILLZONE 2 do!


9

+ spunnups on May 29th, 2009 at 2:28 pm said:

That’s awesome. I really hope you guys do a sequel. I hope this game sells really well! I have a few suggestions for the next one, so please come to the blog when you start working on inFAMOUS 2!


10

+ ADR143 on May 29th, 2009 at 2:35 pm said:

btw game is great!


11

+ BigPoppaB on May 29th, 2009 at 2:40 pm said:

I really wanna pick up InFAMOUS.

But, $78 (the new price in Canada) is just toooo much.

I cant find work at the moment and need to worry about paying off my student loans.

What is a boy to do? Please!


12

+ Silent_Gig on May 29th, 2009 at 2:46 pm said:

I knew there was tracks on the soundtrack that was missing!

Where can i get the FULL soundtrack plus the track you love, Nightcrawler

My faveourite track is definitly Hunt for the Ray Sphere


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    + Jonathan Mayer on May 29th, 2009 at 2:56 pm said:

    Hi,
    Thanks for the note.
    Well…there are over three hours of music in the game so we couldn\’t fit it all on the soundtrack. We\’ll see what happens as time goes by, though ;-)

    -J


13

+ drownedphoniex on May 29th, 2009 at 2:47 pm said:

I’m playing inFAMOUS right now and the music is so awesome! Great game all around too!


14

+ Pound_lb003 on May 29th, 2009 at 2:47 pm said:

Man, Jonathan, pleasse keep Amon Tobin, and other cool atmospheric famous people on the line for other awesome agme soundtracks.

I haven’t heard the inFamous Soundtrack in the game yet, but he worked on Splinter Cell and that had one of the best soundtracks, (after Shadow of the Colossus) last generation.

Thanks so much for your hard work defintely as I said, keep Amon Tobin in check for a sequel. What I did hear of it was really percussive, as opposed to musical like Chaos Theory, but it’s still great.


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    + Jonathan Mayer on May 29th, 2009 at 2:55 pm said:

    Thank YOU for listening and thanks for the kind words. We absolutely love working with Amon. It\’s a real treat!

    -J


15

+ Pound_lb003 on May 29th, 2009 at 2:48 pm said:

I wish every game wasn’t some generic classic soundtrack. That never helps. Every game should have an awesome and different soundtrack like this.

Wish Uncharted 2 did the same.


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    + Jonathan Mayer on May 29th, 2009 at 2:58 pm said:

    Uhhh….thanks so much!!!

    PS – I\’m the music manager on Uncharted 2 as well….

    We do our very best to match the game\’s aesthetic with an appropriate musical style. Hence the difference between the music in Infamous and Uncharted mirrors other differences between those products.

    Thanks again!!

    -J


16

+ mafecto on May 29th, 2009 at 2:51 pm said:

Whoa, Jon Mayer is working for Sony now?

Weird.

Anywho, InFamous is too much fun. Can’t get enough. And the music is near perfect. Nice work!


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    + Jonathan Mayer on May 29th, 2009 at 2:53 pm said:

    Hah hah hah….I\’ve never heard THAT joke before.
    -J


17

+ BlooodyCow on May 29th, 2009 at 2:53 pm said:

You guys just made the best game I played so far this generation and I can’t wait for the next installment. My favorite next generation game so far. That is saying a lot because I played and owned well over 60 games so far this generation.


18

+ ilikemonkeys on May 29th, 2009 at 2:53 pm said:

Wait… is this THE John Mayer… or is it some guy with the same name? Either way it’s a good read.


    Jonathan Mayer's Avatar

     

    + Jonathan Mayer on May 29th, 2009 at 3:28 pm said:

    Being older, I would argue that I am indeed THE Jon Mayer (although I prefer Jonathan to avoid confusion). However, here are some tips for those of you who can\’t tell us apart:

    1. John Mayer is much taller than Jonathan Mayer
    2. Jonathan Mayer has been working in the music business much longer than John Mayer but still has far fewer Grammys
    3. Jonathan Mayer thinks Guitar Hero is cool….John Mayer does not (for some strange reason).
    4. Jonathan Mayer only had a very short fling with Jennifer Aniston while John Mayer actually had a serious relationship with her.
    5. Jonathan Mayer plays the drums. John Mayer plays the guitar and sings.
    6. Jonathan Mayer is better looking but has much less money.
    7. John Mayer can\’t breakdance.
    8. Jonathan Mayer never had BB King tell him to play fewer notes in his solos.
    9. Jonathan Mayer makes a wicked fruit pie (the secret is lard in the crust)….I bet John Mayer can\’t half as good as I can!!
    10. Jonathan Mayer doesn\’t have any tatoos (yet).

    I hope that clears up the confusion.

    -The real Jon Mayer!!


19

+ TRIX_BOL on May 29th, 2009 at 2:55 pm said:

Perfect & clear sounds, good job Music Team! By the way, which other game(s) sounds/musics inspired you’all to create those awesome musics?


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    + Jonathan Mayer on May 29th, 2009 at 3:12 pm said:

    Good question!
    We had a lot of trouble finding music that sounded like what we had in mind for this game. As a result, we were inspired by all kinds of odd stuff…a lot of Amon\’s music was inspirational, especially his wicked sense of groove. We listened to a lot of stuff created with found objects and a lot of darker film scores as well.

    Thanks!

    -J


20

+ ThreeLeggedFreak on May 29th, 2009 at 2:59 pm said:

Why is the soundtrack exclusive to itunes and not available on PSN?


21

+ TankAojiru on May 29th, 2009 at 3:00 pm said:

Yeh music was poorly paced in the game. But music was good.


22

+ BigPoppaB on May 29th, 2009 at 3:02 pm said:

@15,,,

i thought Uncharted had an awesome/epic soundtrack. I dont usually notice soundtracks that much, but that one really stuck out.

I am guessing the sequel will be the same.


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    + Jonathan Mayer on May 29th, 2009 at 3:35 pm said:

    Rest assured the sequel will be bigger and better!!!


23

+ challen on May 29th, 2009 at 3:02 pm said:

FYI, I like the balance of the musical balance in the game. I never got annoyed with any of the in game music. It’s great music too.

However, I’m surprised you didn’t have some option for custom music.


24

+ BlooodyCow on May 29th, 2009 at 3:03 pm said:

@Jonathan Mayer
Uncharted 2? I can’t wait to play that baby because I LOVED the first Uncharted.
Did you work on the music for Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune? That is my second favorite game this generation.


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    + Jonathan Mayer on May 29th, 2009 at 3:10 pm said:

    Hey,

    Yeah. I supervised and managed the music production and implementation on Uncharted along with our amazing team here at Sony….in particular, my manager, Clint Bajakian worked very closely with me on producing the music and recording the orchestra and our main-man Scott Hanau actually implemented all the music into the game (which we feel is at LEAST as important as getting good music…..good music with bad implementation = lousy score IMO)

    Thanks again!!


25

+ TRIX_BOL on May 29th, 2009 at 3:06 pm said:

Since you already managed inFamous music, and are going to be managing Uncharted’s 2. Are you going to keep up to manage God of War III music as well?


    Jonathan Mayer's Avatar

     

    + Jonathan Mayer on May 29th, 2009 at 3:14 pm said:

    That\’s a great question. The answer is: sort of….My manager, Clint Bajakian, has been the musical architect of both of the first two GOW games and he is very much driving #3….I do help and get my licks in but it sure helps to have someone like Clint keeping us in line.

    Thanks!

    -J


26

+ BlooodyCow on May 29th, 2009 at 3:17 pm said:

@Jonathan Mayer
Since you worked on my two favorite games so far this generation. Can you please work on the music for God of War 3 as well? It seems that everything you work on so far this generation has been GOLD. Until now I had no idea who you were. But now, I have a lot of respect of you. Keep doing a kick azz job on games music Jonathan Mayer.


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    + Jonathan Mayer on May 29th, 2009 at 3:30 pm said:

    Thank you so much!

    I am, indeed working on GOW3, however, ours is a big team and all of the guys (and ladies) in our music department make huge contributions to all these products.

    Thanks again!!

    -J


27

+ almighty-slayer on May 29th, 2009 at 3:20 pm said:

Hey there, this music is fantastic. is there any chance at all this will be made available on the Playstation Store? I don’t use iTunes (not a fan) and i would LOVE to be able to buy this music


28

+ Demonized on May 29th, 2009 at 3:20 pm said:

Hey Johnathan,

Great work from you and e veryone else behind the music in inFAMOUS. It’s such a fantastic game I haven’t been able to put it down and the game is very close to being my favourite game of this current generation so far.

The game is just so much fun in every aspect and the music is also very fitting, not the kind of music I’d stick on my iPod but it works so well with the game and helps create the experience.

The music in Drake’s Fortune was superb and I look forward to Among Thieves later this year.

Thank you Johnathan, Sucker Punch and Sony for a really amazing game in inFAMOUS.


    Jonathan Mayer's Avatar

     

    + Jonathan Mayer on May 29th, 2009 at 3:32 pm said:

    Thanks!

    I really loved working on inFamous. We never got tired of playing it and that\’s always a great sign to me when we\’re about to put a game out. The guys at Sucker Punch are the bomb!!

    -JM


29

+ HongoXIII on May 29th, 2009 at 3:24 pm said:

I loved the music in the demo. The score that plays when Reapers are all around you. It had an urban yet epic “There is danger around you. Think fast.” vibe to it. Excellent for the setting.


30

+ Arsenal55 on May 29th, 2009 at 3:34 pm said:

Awesome. This game has really cool music. I love when it starts as i get into an epic battle. This game rocks.


31

+ infamousXX87XX on May 29th, 2009 at 3:35 pm said:

Just beat infamous today….fantastic game Sucker Punch. I WANT MORE infamous!!! lol


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    + Jonathan Mayer on May 29th, 2009 at 3:39 pm said:

    Me too!! Couldn\’t agree more.

    -J


32

+ whiskey_14 on May 29th, 2009 at 3:35 pm said:

Amon Tobin is great, I’m an old school Drum n bass fan myself!


33

+ MatheAdi on May 29th, 2009 at 3:39 pm said:

Thanks for the great soundtrack, I am definately buying this soundtrack! Plus I am getting the game this weekend, because I was way too busy this week to get it.
That suspended tuba must sound awesome!!


34

+ BigPoppaB on May 29th, 2009 at 3:41 pm said:

@the real Jonathan Mayer

I sense a lot of pent up rage towards john mayer lol


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    + Jonathan Mayer on May 29th, 2009 at 3:46 pm said:

    Huh…that\’s what my therapist keeps saying too. Maybe you\’re right!

    ;-)

    -J


35

+ SpiderX on May 29th, 2009 at 3:46 pm said:

Just got the game today, and man I love the score so far, I really like the atmosphere it envelopes. It really is a great soundtrack.

When the bass hits, it just feels great playing, truly awesome!!


36

+ almighty-slayer on May 29th, 2009 at 3:47 pm said:

Okay don’t answer my question then…:p

Great work on the soundtrack guys


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    + Jonathan Mayer on May 29th, 2009 at 4:20 pm said:

    Thanks Slayer!

    Unfortunately, I don\’t know the answer. We\’ll keep you posted, for sure.

    -J


37

+ I_am_rushin on May 29th, 2009 at 3:52 pm said:

Any chance of XMB music being patched in?

Having beaten the game 1.5 times :D. I just like to cruise around and custom music would be awesome. Don’t get me wrong. I love the soundtrack especially during the fight sequences, but I would like some of my own now and again.


38

+ deathindustrial on May 29th, 2009 at 3:58 pm said:

To be honest, I barely noticed *any* in game music while playing inFamous. Most games over do it but this is one of the few that goes quite far in the other direction.

When the score does appear it seems quite random and I wish there was more of it. This does not take away from what is a totally awesome game of course but it would be nice if the music component was a bit more prominent.

Cheers


39

+ pecorre on May 29th, 2009 at 3:59 pm said:

The inFAMOUS soundtrack is awesome!

Great work guys. I really like the song Genesis. Keep it up!


40

+ Darkos87 on May 29th, 2009 at 4:03 pm said:

I bought the soundtrack…so good.


41

+ Slayer612 on May 29th, 2009 at 4:11 pm said:

Welcome to the Playstation family Mr. Mayer.

Haven’t picked up inFamous but now I want it. =)


42

+ Revolutionary on May 29th, 2009 at 4:49 pm said:

Hey, what’s the name of the track that’s featured in the commercial?

I heard it plenty of times throughout the game as well, it’s actually pretty awesome… I’d love to be able to download it.

Second, I have a complaint about the soundtrack. There’s a random BGM clip that plays every now and then, first time I heard it I thought it was the Cloverfield monster coming. Afterwards, I would just turn the volume down each time because the bass on that particular track was really, really overblown. What made you decide to include that track in the game? I’m just curious.

Aside from that one complaint, the soundtrack was fantastic. Thank you for contributing so much to the game!


43

+ Musoka_Eimin on May 29th, 2009 at 4:51 pm said:

Great work on the soundtrack guys, though I do admit I wish it played more often. I also would like to submit my vote, please add XMB music. Having completed the game, I would love to keep playing this for a long time to come, and XMB music will allow me to do so. But I do love the sound design, again I just wish stuff played more often. And like any cd it hasn’t yet, but I’ve no doubt it will get tiresome after 30 or 40 hours of play. Just a thought. Anyone who wants in game XMB music, go to the Sucker Punch websites forums, and I have started a request thread for XMB music option to be patched in. The thread is title XMB music please? Do you want this. Please go comment and bump if you want the feature added. I could use every extra person to chime in I can get. Love electronic, and love the soundtrack, and frankly I don’t even care if XMB music was an unlockable for beating the game. That way everyone gets to hear the awesome soundtrack, but later can play to other things whilst messing around. But thanks for your work on it Jonathan, and thanks to Amon. Really awesome of you to come and participate in the discussion Johnathan. :)


44

+ Edd on May 29th, 2009 at 5:05 pm said:

To the guys as Sucker Punch I just wanna say thank you for this straight up BAD A** game! I’m sooo addicted to it. I was really really disappointed by GTA4 so i’ve been wanting a good sandbox type game and this one takes the cake man this is seriously the best sandbox game to date the atmosphere is fantastic, the music is engrossing, the powers are awesome the characters feel real and i love how you worked in real word references in the game (michael phelps) the world just grabs you by the balls and doesn’t let go (in a good way!) it’s just sucks you into this world and it’s awesome, the animation and effects are great but it’s the art style that gives this game it’s soul. Oh and your design team deserves a freaking medal! Really guys you knocked it out of the park with this one, aside from some jaggies and a little pop in here and there (which is totally worth it because there’s no load times) this game is ace. I hope you guys have some dlc planned i’d totally buy it. Anyways i just wanted to express my thanks and say i can’t wait to see what you guys come up with next.


45

+ sparced on May 29th, 2009 at 5:12 pm said:

Foley Room is a great album. I also like a lot of Alva Noto’s albums especially his Xerrox work.


46

+ tearsofash on May 29th, 2009 at 5:38 pm said:

Not a big fan of the game, but hearing the music from the Qore video special, and the Playstation Home listen@home makes me a believer in the soundtrack at least. Fairly good stuff, and I’m pretty hard to please.


47

+ almighty-slayer on May 29th, 2009 at 6:11 pm said:

I didn’t mean to sound forceful, haha. Thanks for the answer anyway, hope it turns up on the store eventually


48

+ TwiztedR3DHead on May 29th, 2009 at 6:17 pm said:

nice


49

+ Pound_lb003 on May 29th, 2009 at 6:20 pm said:

I wasn’t calling Uncharted generic. I think it’s likely that the same team works on Resistance 2/Ratchet and Clank, and it might be budget issues but THEY are resasonably generic – everyones a critic.

And I can see Uncharted DF/2 AT, needing a score to suit it’s pulpy narrative, but flashbacks of the Massive Attack trailer, make it difficult to shift the idea out of my head.

:D


50

+ JohnnySasaki on May 29th, 2009 at 6:46 pm said:

I’m glad this was posted! I hadn’t listened to any of the music prior to playing the game, and the very first time music came on while I was playing, I was instantly digging it. The music in this game is very good, kudos to all involved :D

– Matthew


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