People seemed to like the first instalment of Musical Mayhem last week – I’ve already got three other awesome blogging friends signed up to take part, which is pretty cool! For issue number two, however, I’ve got someone a little bit different…
it’s my fiancée, Hannah!
Have I told you what this actually involves?
Right, so, what’ll happen is… we have a chat about games and music and all kinds of other stuff, and then at the end we’ll work out what you’d like me to write for you. Little… little track… thing.
Sounds good to me.
Okay. So. You started off in the PS1 era.
So tell me about that.
You grew up with games like…
Rayman and Crash Bash, basically. They were the only ones I was allowed! The PlayStation was downstairs – like, all the time. So I had to have games that my dad could watch and approve of. He shared it, too, he’d play the racing games.
So do you remember the music from those games you started with particularly, or..?
Yeah, it was like ‘doo doo do dududu do doo doo do do‘.
Is that Rayman – oh, no, that’s Crash. Wait, that’s because we’re playing N-Sane Trilogy right now!
No, no, that’s the one from Crash Bash, not Bandicoot. The true classic one. Best one.
I can’t think how any of it goes, but Rayman does have some good music too, right?
It had lots of different music, all the levels had different themes.
Yeah… like, there was that whole level where you were in saxophone land or something, and everything was musical instruments and you got chased by a giant saxophone?
Mm-hm. There was also a level where everything was just totally silent, no music at all. It was really creepy! I mean, no music is really weird ‘cos Rayman has sound effects every time you do anything so you can just hear yourself jumping, and then you can just hear rain and then it all sort of starts building up. It goes… ‘badooooo’.
It just gradually builds up more and more, so as the water gets closer the music gets more intense.
That’s way scarier sometimes, if there’s no music at all. I’m pretty sure Mario’s done it a couple of times, and it’s pretty freaky. Like, you’re alone.
Mario had good music. I don’t think you really grew up with Mario, though, right?
Nope, hadn’t really played it at all until we got some of the Wii versions.
Kim, who was the first person I spoke to for this series, mentioned Grand Theft Auto – you played that, right? The radio stations?
Oh, yeah, I liked them!
Some good tunes there – oh, yeah, for you it would be the WWE games, wouldn’t it?
That’s my jam!
Cos the music in that was basically just…
It was a lot of the wrestlers’ themes, which I obviously really liked, and then there were certain bands that were often in the soundtrack too.
And of course your dad’s quite into music, including some of that rock-type music that might have been in those games, so maybe that shaped the kind of stuff you listened to a bit.
Not really, actually. It wasn’t until I got into wrestling that I started liking that stuff. I don’t think it I liked it because Dad liked similar stuff, I think I’d have liked it anyway, but Dad might have been a bit happy about it.
Maybe the fact that you were exposed to that sort of music might have shaped your taste for it a little bit… but then, you do also really like Take That.
I don’t know how I got into them. Just heard it one day, I think!
And you were just like ‘whoa, this is the best’.
So what games do you like to play nowadays that maybe you’ve noticed some of the music for?
Er… well, we played the Tomb Raider reboots pretty recently, but there wasn’t really much music in that as far as I remember.
There probably was, but I guess it would have been more atmospheric and in the background; the usual orchestra stuff. I sort of think that having a whole orchestra can make composers a bit lazy and think that they don’t need to bother writing catchy tunes, you know? When the technology was rubbish, you had to write some serious bangers to compensate for the low quality.
I mean, I’m thinking about even some of the older games I like, the Ratchet and Clank series and that sort of thing, and I can’t remember any of the music from that.
I don’t think I could even tell you how any of the themes from Ratchet and Clank go, even though we’ve played like all the PS2 ones and the PS4 one multiple times each.
I think Crash Bash and Rayman were the main ones with music that I actually noticed, ‘cos it would go with what was happening in the game rather than just being a sort of backing track so it’s easy to remember it associated with particular bits.
You never really played Spyro, right? I think that was similar sort of style, similar era…
I did play one of them, but I don’t remember it too well.
Oh, there was Sly! That had some… detective-y type…
I mean, maybe I’m just making this up, but I feel like it had some Brooklyn Nine-Nine theme vibes. Hm. But I think what was good about that era, like you said, it had different music depending on what was going on. It fit.
You also sort of get a sense of what’s going to happen. If there was a change in the music I’d usually just stop for a few seconds in case something bad was about to go down!
Did you ever play one of those games where the music changed depending on whether you were in a fight or not? Sometimes you’d think you’d taken everyone out, but it would still be the battle music so you’d just be there wondering where the last one was and basically waiting for them to ambush you.
I don’t think I played any like that. Maybe some of the Ratchet ones, but the main battle music I can think of is Pokémon and it’s usually pretty clear when the battles are over in that!
Oh, yeah, Clank would tell you it was all clear.
That’s the one.
So if I were to write a tune for you… what sort of level would this tune be playing for?
A tense one!
Okay, so you’re walking around, there doesn’t seem to be anyone there; the level’s dark, it’s all spooky, and the music maybe builds up from that to WAAAA SOMETHING CHASING
Rayman was really good for that. It had a drum go off every now and again, like ‘[makes spooky noises] woooooo BOOM’. So you’re always a bit like ‘I’m scared, but I don’t know why and I have to keep going’!
How does it end? Is it like ‘yeah, we got away’?
Well, you get to the checkpoint and then Rayman does his little celebration YEAAHH and the fanfare thingy.
Oh, so it’s all tense and then just a random YEAAHH. Nice. So I’ll pop off and write you a little tune, and then you get to hear it in a few days – but through the magic of editing it seems as if we’re doing the second part straight away. It’s super pro.
Oh, yeah, everyone’ll really believe that.
It’s like Blue Peter. ‘Here’s one I made earlier.’
You need to go and listen to the Rayman ones, they’re good.
I did like the level with the dynamic music, where you jumping on stuff would actually play little tunes. Like one of those keyboards you walk on, but better.
Easy levels have this kind of sweet, daytime music, so it feels like everything’s going to be alright, and then there are some jazzy ones and then there are the tense scary ones where there aren’t much noise and it’s all freaky.
And those are the ones you’d like your track to be inspired by.
Well… This is Hannah’s track! It’s called ‘Super Tense, What’s That? – OH GOD RUN’.
What do ya think?
So you wanted a tense tune where maybe you felt that you were about to be chased, and then you actually would get chased, and everything was going all scary-like – do you think I managed to fit the brief?
It builds up really well, and it does remind me of the Rayman ones.
So it does bring that kind of feeling, then?
Mm. I like that it builds up a bit but then goes quiet again, so you’re never quite sure what’s going to happen. You’re sort of like ‘oh, okay, it’s fine – OH NO IT’S NOT – or maybe it is – NO IT ISN’T’.
I was listening to some of the ones you suggested and they do seem to make good use of volume, with random loud moments that sort of surprise you and make you jump a little bit. Little fake-outs. And then something actually chases you and it goes loud.
I like it.
What sort of thing do you think you might be being chased by?
I think… a boulder. Not like a walking one with a face, a rolling one.
Sounds good – it would start off all dark, and then when it gets loud you’d maybe see the boulder and it would start rolling.
Anything you might have changed?
I think maybe it’s a bit too happy at the end. It kind of sounds like we found some friends and all held hands and skipped along, rather than finding a terrifying deadly boulder that’s going to chase us and squish us.
I’ll bear that in mind! Thank you very much for taking part, it was fun and I appreciate it!
Bye, internet people!
Nice! I think you did well with capturing that old school “creepy but in a kooky gaming mascot character sort of way” vibe. I also had fun trying to match up Hannah’s “doo do doos” to the Crash Bash theme song, haha.
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