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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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51

+ remanutd5 on May 29th, 2009 at 7:39 pm said:

i love the game in general and that includes the music too , amazing job , thanks to everyone who worked in the game , thanks sucker punch and sony


52

+ lebron_accel on May 29th, 2009 at 8:02 pm said:

just got inFamous, it is an amazing g
ame, this is how open world games should feel like! heres hoping for a sequel..good job guys im really lovin every bit of the game.


53

+ SuperTiso on May 29th, 2009 at 8:13 pm said:

Isn’t this soundtrack supposed to be released on the PSN as well?


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+ Arcturian on May 29th, 2009 at 8:17 pm said:

Thank you so much for putting the musicians on the blog. I’m working towards a career in game audio, effects and music, and there’s nothing as inspirational as just reading what the people who do what you want to do have to say.

One (first?) question, Jon: How’d you get into this gig? I’m sure it’d be a lot different from someone today were to do it, but any information helps.


    Jonathan Mayer's Avatar

     

    + Jonathan Mayer on May 29th, 2009 at 11:57 pm said:

    Hi and thanks for the comments and the question!

    I\’ve been working as a producer, engineer and composer for many years. I was lucky enough to hook up with the SCEA Music Dept. about four years ago as a composer/contractor on the game Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror. From that point on, I just saw to it that they couldn\’t get rid of me. :-)

    It\’s really important to have the skills and the chops for the audio-side, if this is what you want to do but it\’s even MORE important to be a really serious, die-hard gamer. And no matter what, if you\’re serious about it, don\’t let anyone tell you you can\’t do it. Persistence is the key!

    -J


55

+ ACDarkKnight on May 29th, 2009 at 9:08 pm said:

You guys have by far created the BEST sandbox and/or super hero game EVER!!!! I can only imagine what you guys will have instore in a sequal (I hope lol). The writing, the music, everything was great. I hope you guys do a little work on the engine but other than that the game was AMAZING!!


56

+ EddyxMob on May 29th, 2009 at 9:18 pm said:

Awesome Game and Soundtrack


57

+ Incubuster on May 29th, 2009 at 11:15 pm said:

I listen to the sountrack almost everyday, it’s fantastic. And I love the BTW, great fun! :D


Jonathan Mayer's Avatar

58

+ Jonathan Mayer on May 30th, 2009 at 12:01 am said:

Thanks everyone for your interest in the music and for playing inFamous. Your feedback and enthusiasm is a great inspiration to us. It’s always a real treat to get to chat with you all. Until next time, turn your sound-systems up loud and play until the sun comes up!!!

Best,

-JDM


59

+ nickjd331 on May 30th, 2009 at 1:25 am said:

I thought the music in uncharted was great, I can’t wait for the second.

Haven’t got infamous yet though.


60

+ cb_32 on May 30th, 2009 at 4:34 am said:

Amon Tobin is a fantastic musician, his music should be used in more games than just Splinter Cell Chaos Theory.


61

+ Arcturian on May 30th, 2009 at 6:46 am said:

“Hi and thanks for the comments and the question!

I’ve been working as a producer, engineer and composer for many years. I was lucky enough to hook up with the SCEA Music Dept. about four years ago as a composer/contractor on the game Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror. From that point on, I just saw to it that they couldn’t get rid of me. :-)

It’s really important to have the skills and the chops for the audio-side, if this is what you want to do but it’s even MORE important to be a really serious, die-hard gamer. And no matter what, if you’re serious about it, don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do it. Persistence is the key!

-J”

Hey, I remember that game — the manual credited Chuck Doud as the composer. Were you writing for that one, or something else?

And yeah, Mark Addams’ book taught me that persistence is the best character trait for a musician. Have you read it, is it accurate?

As for the die-hard gamer part… I don’t think anyone’s able to say anything different about me, haha.


62

+ WackyWeedCreed on May 30th, 2009 at 9:24 am said:

I signed in just to say very good job on the music! Every time I hear it, the Qore interview of you guys banging on trash cans pops in my head. VERY INSPIRATIONAL stuff, thanks and keep up the good work!

BTW Thanks Sucker Punch and Sony!!! I am really liking INFAMOUS. The story, the music, the gameplay.


63

+ Xenoxerxes on May 30th, 2009 at 10:46 am said:

Wait a second.

Jon did you really have a thing with Jennifer Aniston?

lol


64

+ Sindred on May 30th, 2009 at 11:02 am said:

Hey guys, this game and everything about it (including the score) inspired me to edit a little video using some of the footage out there. The band might not be to everyone’s liking, but I couldn’t help thinking of this game when I listened to it.

[URL=http://s64.photobucket.com/albums/h179/sindred_2006/?action=view&current=inFamousWMV.flv][IMG]http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h179/sindred_2006/th_inFamousWMV.jpg[/IMG][/URL]


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+ Sindred on May 30th, 2009 at 11:03 am said:

Ooops, thought an embed would work here… here is a link.

http://s64.photobucket.com/albums/h179/sindred_2006/?action=view&current=inFamousWMV.flv


66

+ Herbyg on May 30th, 2009 at 3:50 pm said:

Very cool set thanks for the story.


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+ TERMINATORvsMTRX on May 30th, 2009 at 5:20 pm said:

absolutely brilliant composition and it goes together really well with the theme of the game.


68

+ TERMINATORvsMTRX on May 30th, 2009 at 5:23 pm said:

What about releasing the individual tracks on the playstation store!!!! I would love the music of Empire City in my playlist!!!!!


69

+ enormhi on June 1st, 2009 at 3:38 am said:

Love the music and the game!


70

+ afrosheen on June 1st, 2009 at 5:16 am said:

Just picked this up over the weekend and it’s fantastic. The music, however, just randomly happens in it. It keeps tricking me, because some games use it to warn you that something is about to happen, so I put my guard up when it comes in, then nothing special happens.

In-game XMB music is needed for this title. Hopefully you guys will patch that in. Long stretches of the game are dead silent, although I guess that adds to the atmosphere of the game.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that the music that is there is excellent but there’s no rhyme or reason as to why it starts and stops, I want to hear more. :)


71

+ PandaPoacherEsq on June 3rd, 2009 at 10:50 pm said:

I’ve played almost all the way through the story and i feel like ive never heard any music at all. just the sounds of stuff blowing up, ppl yelling at me on the street etc. Am i missing something?


72

+ Kageryu255 on June 4th, 2009 at 11:54 pm said:

Loved the music, loved the game… but, like Revolutionary mentions above, I really wish the theme that plays in the commercial, just as Cole says, “Everyone thinks I have the power to fix it…”, was included on the soundtrack.. (which can be found on iTunes btw, for those wishing to purchase). That heavy percussion theme was present in a number of the most exciting battles in my playthrough (seemed to only be queued when all hell was breaking loose), and I wish I could get a copy of it out-of-game. :(


73

+ xX_IRISH_Xx on June 8th, 2009 at 10:09 pm said:

Does anyone know the name of the theme that plays during the credits at the very end of the game??? I loved that song! not to mention some of the slow motion scenes they did with it when they were making trailers?


74

+ TARDIS_Type_40 on June 9th, 2009 at 8:50 am said:

I have to agree with those who say the music is too sparse. If you’re doing story missions in fast order, you’ll get plenty of music, but if you’re just wandering around Empire City looking for items or side quests, there’s a disappointing lack of music.

However, that small complain aside, the music in the game is excellent. It reminds me of the work Akira Yamaoka has done for the Silent Hill franchise, only tilted more toward comic book action than horror. It creates amazing atmosphere.

My favorite tracks from the soundtrack are Alden Strikes and Secrets Revealed. I particularly like Secrets Revealed; it seems to be the general battle theme in the game. Whenever I’m fighting during side missions, this is usually the music that plays. Love it.


75

+ TARDIS_Type_40 on June 9th, 2009 at 8:52 am said:

Kageryu255 – I think I know the battle music you’re talking about. If the one you’re talking about isn’t Secrets Revealed — the second half of the track is particularly percussion heavy — then it’s the second most played piece of battle music in the game. There is a battle theme in the game that I wish was on this soundtrack.


76

+ LoFiFreq on June 14th, 2009 at 5:50 pm said:

Great work Jonathan you really know the evolution of the gaming industry and where the new styles need to shine.

myspace.com/lofifreq


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