POWER UNLIMITED – THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE NO MAN’S SKY SOUNDTRACK – INTERVIEW

08/11/2016 – FLORIS (original link (in Dutch))

NO MAN’S SKY HAD A RATHER GOOD SOUNDTRACK AND IT DIDN’T COME ABOUT JUST LIKE THAT. THE GUYS FROM 65DAYSOFSTATIC HAVE BEEN WORKING ON IT SINCE 2015. TJEERD TALKED TO THE BAND’S GUITARIST TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN MAKING A SOUNDTRACK LIKE THAT.

No Man’s Sky certainly wasn’t this year’s best game and disappointed quite a lot of people with false promises and misleading trailers. The game’s soundtrack, however, was really good and fit the game’s atmosphere perfectly. Paul Wolinski, 65daysofstatic’s guitarist, spoke to us about the making of the soundtrack.

How did your fans react to the soundtrack and the album?

They were pretty enthusiastic, but we haven’t played that many shows yet, so the real reaction is still to come, I think. The album was released in August and spent a lot of time on the shelves, because making music for a game is completely different than just making an album. We didn’t have any influence on the timeline, when the game comes out, that’s when the album is released. Afterwards, we had to make it clear that this music isn’t just for gamers, but for our own fans as well. We managed to do that, and our fans were patient because we communicated this well.

How did you combine making a soundtrack with creating an album?

Instead of compromising and combining both things, we decided to make an album and then use everything we were making for the game. At first, Hello Games wanted a regular album so they could remix it, but that felt like a missed opportunity to us. So we decided to create samples and give those to Hello Games, to create a soundtrack. Paul Weir, the audio director at Hello Games, was really enthusiastic about that plan and cooperated wonderfully.

We just wrote our songs, and all of the pieces we collected but couldn’t use in the final tracks, we gave to Hello Games for the soundtrack.

Do you need a different state of mind to create a soundtrack, compared to making a regular album?

It was mostly the same, as we already use many electronic components in our music. Because of our way of working, we always end up with a lot of material that’s kind of modular, with lots of loops and patterns. Sometimes we have to get rid of stuff because it’s not good enough, but sometimes the songs were just too long and we had to scrap certain things. Those parts could now be used perfectly for the game’s soundtrack.

So, with an album, you also need to kill your darlings?

Sadly yes, but for this project we at least got to reuse those things for the soundtrack. With Supermoon for example, we didn’t just have samples for the soundtrack, but we also had elements from the track that supplemented each other really well. Unfortunately, those didn’t end up on the track, but they fit the soundtrack really well. It’s a shame that you have to get rid of those parts, but at least they return in the next phase.

Last question: do you game yourselves?

Not really, to be honest. I played a lot of games as a teenager, we had an Amiga at home, and back then I was really into that whole scene. But when I left for university, I no longer had the space for that. There was an Xbox or PlayStation 2 at some of my housemates, so I played once in a while, but it never stuck. That was also because we were in a band and weren’t really enthusiastic gamers, but we don’t reject it as an artform. Because of working on No Man’s Sky for so long specifically, we now have more of a fascination with games, and it’s clear to us that there’s still so much left to be discovered, so much uncharted territory for what can be done. If you compare that with the music business, it’s really refreshing.

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