Download the entire Demo Mixtape
|virt||Retro City Rampage Theme||0m02||1m59||YouTube||mp3|
|Freaky DNA||Toadstool Om Nom||6m04||0m39||YouTube||mp3|
|Freaky DNA||Riff Down||6m42||1m10||YouTube||mp3|
|Norrin Radd||Do or Die||7m52||0m43||YouTube||mp3|
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Composer “Freaky DNA” Talks About Working on Retro City Rampage
Working on Brian's “Retro City Rampage” (RCR) game has been a blast! One could also say a “blast from the past” as I haven't really done much work with making tracker music since around 1993 or so when I did my first mod using Octamed on the Amiga. Octamed Pro was a free program on the coverdisk of Amiga Format magazine in 1992 : http://amr.abime.net/issue_595
I actually had a pretty strong dislike of techno at the time as I really only associated it with electronic pop dance music like C + C Music Factory (“Everybody dance now”) and similar groups. I was totally into Public Enemy at the time and most of the electronic dance music at the time seemed pretty weak. So, my first tracker song was called “Tech-NO!” It was pretty funny, with programmed beats and samples from Mighty Mouse. I still have the Amiga that I made it on but I think the mod file is sadly lost. I might have a recording on cassette tape somewhere though... It wasn't really until the Prodigy that I changed my mind and made electronic music “cool” for me.
For RCR I've basically been experimenting with different ideas and trying out different styles in the NES format. It's a really challenging thing to try to make things sound cool with just a couple of pulse waves, a triangle wave, a noise channel plus a really lo-fi sampled sound channel. My main method is to jam some stuff out on my acoustic guitar and then use the open source OpenMPT to program the notes in individually. I could also use a keyboard but find that I enjoy playing on the guitar a lot more than using the keyboard these days. From there I try modulating the sound with different commands to introduce more detail and variation on a main theme. After jamming a bit more on the guitar, I figure out the chorus and bridge sections to give the song a completed song structure. Then I'll try playing the song in the game and eventually polish the songs to fit the game play even closer.
It's been a real honour to share the soundtrack with two other great NES composers (Virt & Norrin Radd) and I'm really looking forward to how people react to the sound in the game once it's released!
For more information on my other video game audio work, have a look at my website at http://www.VideoGameAudio.com. In the upcoming months (when the time is right!), I'll be relaunching my music website with some NES tracks from the game at: http://FreakyDNA.com.
Leonard J. Paul Biography
Leonard Paul attained his Honours degree in Computer Science at Simon Fraser University in BC, Canada with an Extended Minor in Music concentrating in Electroacoustics. He began his work in video games on the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo Entertainment System and has a fifteen year history in composing, sound design and coding for games working for companies such as Electronic Arts, Backbone Entertainment, Radical Entertainment, moderngroove entertainment, Rockstar Vancouver and Black Box Games. He has worked on over twenty major game titles since 1994, including award-winning AAA titles such as EA's NBA Jam, NHL11, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2, NBA Live '95 as well as the indie award-winning title Retro City Rampage.
Freaky DNA actually started out as a live power-trio with three members: Leonard Paul, Patrick Mitchell and Lars Korb in 1996 after they had met in an electroacustics class at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. They discovered their name by picking out random word combinations and settled on the one that made them chuckle. They basically took turns playing the guitar, drums, bass guitar and an Oberheim Matrix 1000 synthesizer that Lars would commonly play on the floor cross-legged while groovin' to the beat. They practiced in Len's basement, garnering several music complaints - so many that they eventually filled up the basement box window with sand. They eventually went on to play such memorable gigs including being the warm-up band for a warehouse rave and in the corner of a falafel restaurant next to the deep freeze.
Sadly Lars moved to Germany and the band basically split up but Len and Lars continued to make music together over the internet and released several songs on Pigeon Records in Munich and Urban Guerilla Records in Hamburg. After a while Lars went on to make his own music as the Bugbreeder and Len continued with the Freaky DNA moniker and eventually released the earth-shattering jungle anthem "Big Ass Beats" on vinyl with Pigeon Records.
Len has continued to perform under the name Freaky DNA and has done gigs in the UK, Germany, Holland, Japan and Canada.
In recent years, he has broadened his attention within the field of game audio to include game audio education and spent five years as a full-time instructor of game audio at the Vancouver Film School and is currently a sessional instructor at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, Canada. He has published papers in academic journals and has contributed chapters to books focusing on video game audio such as Karen Collin's From Pacman to Pop Music. He is also a new media artist whose solo and collaborative work has been exhibited in cities including Surrey, Banff, Victoria, São Paulo, Zürich and San Jose. As an electronic music artist he has performed in cities such as Osaka, Berlin and Amsterdam.
About Jake in his own words...
My name is Jacob, but please call me Jake. I release music as virt.
A Rad Message From Norrin Radd
I can't even begin to describe how much fun it has been working on this project. Brian and Len initially sent me a message over myspace asking if I would be interested in making some music for the game, which I immediately thought had to be some sort of Macy's myspace scam to get me to click on a link or something. As I hesitantly clicked the link to the Vblank website, all it took was a single screen shot of the game to instantly win me over and sell me on the project. Amazingly, Vblank is based out of Vancouver, Canada which is only a stone's throw away from where I live, so I've had the great fortune of meeting up with these guys on multiple occasions to see the game in development and talk about the project at length. Games development has always been a huge dream of mine, so this was the closest thing I've had to meeting royalty haha.
Matt Creamer BiographyMatt Creamer (aka Norrin_Radd) has no formal musical training, but has always had a strong love and desire to write music, and is especially partial to improvisational guitar. He grew up listening to the music of the NES and the Sega Genesis, using sound test screens for games like Streets of Rage and Warsong as if they were tracks on a CD. This eventually carried over in to a love of extremely melodic music.
The limited number of audio channels the old video game hardware left the original composers unable to use complex chords in their music. This one limitation forced the original composers to create new and creative ways to express the music, that didn't rely on triad chords and standard chord progression techniques. What may have sounded like annoying bloops and bleeps to his parents, was sparking a small revolution inside a young Matt's head.
Initially, Matt's love of melodic dual harmonies manifested itself in a love of metal music (ala Iron Maiden, At the Gates and Annihilator) which caused Matt to learn how to play speedy and melodic guitar. After several silly thrash bands with his high school friends (one of which was named Skeletor), Matt eventually discovered a band called the Minibosses, who were taking original NES songs and playing them note for note, live, as an instrumental rock act. This suddenly exposed Matt to a new concept of song writing. The basis of which: If you could take the NES music and replicate it so gloriously as a 4 piece rock band, who is to say you couldn't do the same, in reverse?
The music on the NES was mostly focused on breaking chord progressions down into small arpeggios that craftily emphasized both the progression and the lead all at once. This structure of song writing could actually be used to translate any musical idea, and quickly became Matt's philosophy to writing music. For the last 8 years Matt has enjoyed experimenting with different genres, from prog, to orchestral, even to death metal, and interpreting them through the eyes of an NES composer. This style of song writing is called "Chiptune".
For more information on Matt's work and to hear more of his music, head on over to: http://www.myspace.com/norrinraddnesmetal
...and check out his NES-inspired albums!
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