Game Music Connect has been created by multi-award winning game, film and TV composer James Hannigan and acclaimed game audio director & composer John Broomhall to celebrate and explore the music of videogames and the talent behind it.
We had the pleasure of speaking with John and James discussing the origins of Game Music Connect, the vast array of incredible speakers at the event and what may lie in the future.
Firstly, thank you to you both for taking the time to talk with The Sound Architect, we’re very excited to speak to you about Game Music Connect.
How did the idea to organise Game Music Connect originate?
Well firstly, thanks for your interest in Game Music Connect – we’re very excited about this inaugural event! So…as to origins – well, James and I first met in the mid-nineties when collaborating on titles for the now legendary publisher/developer MicroProse Software. We soon found we had a rapport and mutual interest in exploring the art and craft of making music for games. We shared stages on numerous occasions to discuss the aesthetics and practicalities of creating music to picture (along with some brilliant people like Professor Stephen Deutsch, Richard Jacques, Barrington Pheloung, Harry Gregson-Williams and Nick Laviers) at events like the DEVELOP conference, GameCity, the Edinburgh Games Festival, MusicWorks and the BAFTA Games Festival…
Game Music Connect was the next logical step really – for some time now, we’ve nurtured the ambition to have a symposium entirely dedicated to games music featuring some of our star scoring maestros. Fortunately, between us, we have a pretty dazzling array of industry contacts and personal working relationships forged over many years – we both loved the idea of leveraging that to try and have some of these amazing people under one roof for one day specifically talking about our favorite subject – and informing and educating people about what really goes into it.
It’s the realization of many hours’ conversation James and I have had about this wonderful thing we’re privileged to have been involved in all these years. It can bring its challenges and disappointments for sure, but it’s also amazing and humbling to think about the contribution it makes to peoples’ enjoyment of videogames. Take Videogames Live – the Royal Festival Hall, London – stuffed to the gills with gamers going absolutely nuts like a rock concert – but it’s not a rock band – it’s the Symphony playing their favourite game music – you see that, and then you really get it. Making a videogame is a huge team effort and many talents are brought to bear. But I think it’s fair to say the composer of a game score creates a particularly significant influence on the player experience. You could certainly argue that game composers are sometimes the unsung heroes. We want to celebrate and recognise their work. The right music approach can even help define a franchise’s IP – some of the big industry players are taking that very seriously.
What does the event entail, what’s the premise behind it?
It’s a one-day event being held at The Purcell Room, part of London’s South Bank Centre. The date is September 9th this year. We will examine the art and business of making music for games – from raw creativity, to business process. We’ll also cover things like an introduction to so-called ‘interactive music’ – there are structural and technical considerations that make creating music for games different from linear media like movies. Interactive game-play poses some challenges for a composer and game team if they want the music to closely reflect the onscreen action – because when and how it happens are driven by game players themselves. So you have to figure out flexible replay techniques to account for that…
What’s going to be happening on the day?
The day is brimful of in-depth discussion sessions with our top line composer and audio director guests, who we expect to provide unique and powerful insights as we talk about their diverse career paths and scoring experiences as well as the evolution of video game music and a philosophical discussion of the art form and its future. Plus we anticipate plenty of inclusive Q&A with our delegates of course.
What array of professionals do you have speaking on the day, is it solely composers?
Game Music Connect brings together a distinguished line-up of British and international A-list composer talent featuring Martin O’Donnell (Destiny, Halo series), Jason Graves (Tomb Raider, Dead Space series,Resistance: Burning Skies), Jesper Kyd (Assassin’s Creed series, Hitman series, Borderlands series),Richard Jacques (Mass Effect, James Bond 007: Blood Stone, LittleBigPlanet 2), Joris de Man (Killzone series) and myself (Dead Space 3, Command & Conquer series, Harry Potter series). John will host the proceedings.
We’ll also have leading audio directors from both independent and major developers and publishers including Paul Lipson (Composer & Music/Audio Director – Microsoft Studios), Alastair Lindsay (Music Production Manager – Sony Computer Entertainment Europe WWSE), Martin O’Donnell (Audio Director/Composer – Bungie Studios), Steve Lord (Head of Audio – Jagex) as well as freelance audio Adele Cutting (founder of SoundCuts and former EA Audio Director).
Yes that’s right – because an absolutely key person in the game music process and pipeline is the Audio Director. He/she is likely to play a key role in choosing, hiring and briefing the composer plus dealing with them day-to-day. This hugely important role is one we will explore at Game Music Connect and we will have some leading audio directors on hand who between them, have vast industry experience and are eminently qualified to discuss game music from the client side. For anybody aspiring to write game music, this should be particularly interesting…
You’ve got some amazing guests, how was the response when asking them to speak at GMC?
The response from both our UK-based and USA-based guests to being asked has been nothing short of fantastic. We are very grateful to them for taking time out of really busy schedules to take part. There has been a high level of enthusiasm and support for what we’re doing here.
And not just from our guests – but also from some notable sponsors and media partners of the very highest calibre – from a really diverse range of businesses.
This is a great opportunity to learn about music in games. Tell us more about how it will help someone wanting to learn more about music for games and/or break into the industry?
If you’re a pro or semi-pro composer or a beginner – from any musical background or industry – this is an event you certainly won’t want to miss. We will pull the curtain back on the whole original game music process from commissioning to final delivery so delegates will take away a very clear understanding of what happens when – not forgetting why and how. It will be a pretty comprehensive picture of the work and issues around creating game soundtracks.
What are your future plans with this adventure?
To continue to support and celebrate the amazing music of videogames and the extraordinary talent behind it however we can really – and help educate interested individuals and groups about what’s actually involved. We certainly anticipate more events in future – not just on this scale but things like ‘an audience with…’ interviews with specific composers. However, right now, our hands our full with Game Music Connect Sep 9th. See you there!
Register for your ticket now athttp://www.gamemusicconnect.com/, it’s only £99 for the Early Bird registration!
The Sound Architect is very excited to be attending Game Music Connect at The Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, London, UK on 9th September 2013. Also don’t forget to read our fantastic in-depth Interview with BAFTA Award-Winning Audio Director Adele Cutting, one of the speakers at the event.
See you at Game Music Connect!
Interview by Sam Hughes