The magic of a music producer – #ZoinkDay 4

Today we’re sitting down with Joel Bille who’s the music producer for Zombie Vikings. We got a chance to ask him some questions. Read the article to find out what his inspiration for the music in Zombie Vikings comes from.

Hi Joel! Tell us something about yourself.

Hi! I’m Joel Bille, i’m 25 years old and was born and raised in a small town on the west coast south of Gothenburg. I spend most of my time with music in diffent ways, playing, composing, recording and whatnot. The few couple of days every year when it’s not raining or being wet or snowy, I try not to fall off my longboard in the many slopes of Gothenburg.

 What is your role in the development of Zombie Vikings?

I’m making the music for the game! My role is to tell the players what to feel and when. How stressed they should be, how excited they’re supposed to feel, who’s good and who’s bad and if that big cat is cute or actually a psychotic killer.

How did you end up producing music for games?

I’ve been producing and recording music for quite a while, mostly with my own music and recording bands and such. A few years ago my older brother and a few others decided to make an indie game, and asked if i could do the music (actually, it was probably me that kept on asking until they said yes). That project turned into a game called Residue, now available on Steam. Since then i’ve had a sweet tooth for making music for games!

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Which magic tools are you using?

Uneven skills with lots of instruments combined with excessive use of audio scissors and glue, an old toy-synth, a broken hearing aid machine and my best thing: Real humans playing instruments! (And then there’s microphones and analog-digital converters and convolutions reverbs and mulitdimensional kinetic control surfaces and blahblah)

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How long does it take to compose music for a level?

It’s hard to tell, because it can differ A LOT. The most time consuming part is to find a concept for the game, finding a musical language and palette of sounds to use. To do that I try to look a lot at the graphics, talk to the designers and producers and try to understand what the game wants to say, or what we want it to say, and how it’s voice sounds like. Once that is settled, the actual composing of a song can take everything from ten minutes to a week. When everything is composed, i call my real humans and have them play the instruments that I don’t, and then I cut and paste and reverse and invert and cut and paste again and have them play more and then start over at “cut and paste”-part, and after a while it ends up as music! In Zombie Vikings we’ll be using a technology for multiple levels of music that fades in and out depending on what happens, and that of course affects the composing opportunities. It’s not as easy as a track looping in the background! It’s… two!

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It seems like it’s important to be creative when composing in-game music. What’s your inspiration?

It is! It’s the most important thing. Inspiration is a lot about stealing the right thing from the right place and put it in a new place, much like Emil said last week. Right now I’m listening to music from old police series, afro-beat, surf music and bad blues-rock, while looking at pictures of people with fast looking sun glasses.

What was the latest thing you worked on with Zoink Games?

I did the music for their game Stick it to The Man, that was released last year. It was a really fun project, and the music ended up as a soundtrack album available all over the internet!

Joel Bille – Spaghetti Arm Swing -Stick it to the Man Original Game Soundtrack

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Do you have any favorite games of you own?

There’s lots of games that I like! All of the Zelda-games, Shadow of the colossus and Grim Fandango is a few of my favorites. A lot of the Super Mario games (especially the older ones) has got some incredible music. The music is very important for me in games, if the music isn’t fantastic, the game won’t speak to me.

Thank you for your time! We’re excited about hearing your new music in Zombie Vikings!

Thank you! I’m excited too.

Follow Joel on Twitter: twitter.com/joelbulle