So I power up the studio. My little studio is like the control room from Forbidden Planet. A variety of old switches – clanked into position – the hum of PoWeR. …and you sit there looking blankly at the equipment. Where is the next song going to come from? Then the spark. That magnificent spark of inspiration:
“It takes just one little spark to set me off… and just one small dose of you is more than enough.”
The sounds of my youth always provide me with some context to place a song. Now, I’m gonna go back into the deep, dark wilderness of time with some of these references, so those of you the ‘jealousy-inducing’ side of 20 will read this as a proper history lesson.
Video games have always been of a source of great inspiration to the more indie-centric musician. Ha ha… I’m not talking Bon Jovi or Simple Minds here! If I hark back to my ‘golden era’ of gaming I’m talking Atari 2600, C64, BBC, Electron, Spectrum, Amiga, SNES, Megadrive. Computers and consoles that had internal sound chips and produced what would be described today as ‘bleeps and blips’ music. The composers of the day had a really limited pallet to work with, but they produced classic music. Take the time to youtube Forbidden Forest on the C64. Classic chip music. And check out the date! Ha ha. Listen to recent rap and hip-hop, Timbaland for example. This style of (SID chip) music is timeless.
So I decide I’m gonna make the next song a nostalgic blast from the past. And if it’s a blast from the past… why not wrap a few old skool BLAST sound effects into a rhythm. There… simple, the bed of the song. The song quickly takes shape. When I get an idea between my teeth I gnash at it until it’s in tatters!!!
Computer games were often conceived and programmed by one solitary person. He’d be responsible for everything, including the music. Eventually you had composers who would work specifically on the music. The most famous of the 80s era was arguably Rob Hubbard. Although knowing his name probably seems a little geeky, so many modern producers are using the methods he perfected – mentioning his name lifts you a rung above the average muso. Smarter than the average bear in fact!
The youth of today (has to be said in a sneering “old man’s” voice) know nothing of chip music. Ever since the mid 90s and the introduction of the Playstation, consoles have been able to stream ‘real’ music from the CD. I remember playing the original Wipeout and marvelling at hearing The Chemical Brothers and Orbital while I raced. It really did seem revolutionary. In hindsight, perhaps a little part of me died. Ha ha. Anyway, perhaps what goes around comes around. Nintendo have always been on board the ‘chip-wagon’ and the DS is certainly doing its best to keep chip music in the public’s ears!
So… now we’ve established that I only like chip music and I hate ‘real’ music in games – I’ve just got to leave this website for a second. Just got to have another play on Beatles Rock Band! Then I’ve got to have discussions with some video game producers about getting some songs on their latest titles. You see… garlic bread, nope, I mean Video Game Music – is – the – future – of – Real – Rock!!!