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.
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.