“Do what you love and the money will follow” is a quote job seekers and college students often hear. But it’s not always the case you get to do what you love. You could say Idan is one of the lucky ones.
With a perpetual love for video games and music, as young adult he also developed a deeper love for music and decided to study it in college. When he graduated from university with a degree in music production he figured it just made sense to combine these two loves and become a Video Game Music Artist.
Idan’s first big break came when he saw a story about an Xbox Live Arcade game called “The Splatters”. Interested in collaborating on the game he contacted Spiky Snail, a small Israeli game studio developing for Xbox, and they hit it off. He did four pieces of music for the console version of the game and later composed all the music for the PC version. Have a listen to the soundtrack as you read the rest of our interview with him, below.
Where do you get your inspiration to write songs or sounds for things?
I draw huge inspiration from discovering different instruments, be it a new synthesizer, sound processing tool or eccentric acoustic instruments that ended up in my studio. Getting to play around with unfamiliar things allows me to explore new sonic textures, techniques and way of thinking which I incorporate into my work. It’s important to remain fresh, keeping up with current music making technology is a full time job nowadays! The line between sound design and music is growing thinner by the minute. These are great times for musicians and sound designers.
When I am working with a client I usually ask to receive some concept art, a video of gameplay or an actual build of the game to play around with. This all serves as inspiration and gives me a feel for the type of sounds and music that would best fit the game. On top of that, I draw from my own experience of playing my favorite games, TV shows, film, and listening to fellow musicians’ works.
What is your favorite video game? Video game song?
Wow, that’s a tough one. If I had to choose one game though, it would probably be R-type from way back when (late 80’s I guess). I love playing new games on current generation consoles and computers, but I grew up playing Atari and Sega and for me those are still some of the best games ever made.
As far as my favorite music for a game I guess I would have to go with another classic – the music for the first Monkey Island game, that whole soundtrack is just amazing.
What companies are you currently working with?
Apart from working with more traditional game developers, I have also had the privilege to work with some very interesting startup companies which use gaming elements in their projects. I am currently at the early stages of a couple of freelance projects where I am in charge of sound design. Both infuse current day technologies such as touch screens and motion sensors with gaming to heal the human body. One project is a mobile application that helps people over 40 to improve their vision. The other project uses Kinect (motion sensor) to assist patients in need of physiotherapy treatment.
What kind of equipment do you need to do your job? Do you record from a studio?
At the heart of my setup is my studio computer to which everything is connected. I have a few hardware synthesizers and a multitude of sound editing applications, acoustic instruments, sample libraries, sound processing tools, samplers and software synthesizers. I also have some microphones, including a field recorder which I use to capture real world samples. I do most of my recordings at home – instruments, voice over and foley if needed. (Check out the video below to see him at work in his studio!)
What do you like most about your job?
My favorite part is playing the complete released game and hearing the music and sound effects come together for the first time – it is extremely rewarding! I love interacting with game developers and being a part of a very different team each time. It’s an extremely challenging job, we are essentially creating interactive worlds together. Consequentially each new project I work on is completely different than the previous one.
The game development tools available today put a much greater emphasis on audio implementation and allow audio professionals to make a real mark on the gameplay experience.
Which musical instruments do you enjoy playing the most?
I play a bit of keyboard, but my main passion is playing synthesizers and mocking around with the crazy music apps that have been popping up for tablets and smartphones. Basically, if it plugs to the wall and makes a weird sound I will most likely want to play it. Lately I have also started playing ethnic instruments such as the jaw’s harp, kalimba and tongue drum as well.
What made you sign up for about.me?
Seemed like a nice place to meet new people and let them learn more about what I do – I was not disappointed!
What’s your favorite feature on the platform?
I like the look of my personal page and that I am able to quickly and simply customize it.
Have you used about.me to connect with others on the platform?
Not yet actually, but I encourage anyone reading this blog to make a connection. My interests are listed above.
Eliana Arredondo is the Community Manager for about.me. She is a graduate of Stanford University.