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Shadows of the Damned composer sounds off


EA revealed Grasshopper Manufacture's Shadows of the Damned at its pre-TGS event earlier today -- and it was about Damned time. We cornered one of the "Video Game Band" members, composer Akira Yamaoka, to discuss his role creating music and sound for the "psychological action thriller." We also discuss his old gig at Konami and how he feels about passing the Silent Hill torch (at least for now).

Joystiq: Were you excited to have your new music premiere in the trailer this evening?

Akira Yamaoka: Very exciting, yes.

Were you also nervous about showing your first project outside of Konami?

Not nervous. I was more excited about the project.

Gallery: Shadows of the Damned | 15 Photos

For this project, are you just creating music or all the audio?

Not just music. I'm also doing the sound effects and the atmosphere for the whole project.

Has being at Grasshopper added a punk rock edge to your sound?

It hasn't really changed much. But for this project, I want to have my music match the main character, Garcia, because Garcia's very aggressive, powerful; so I'm trying to bring that type of music, that type of sound to the game.

So you're building the music around this main character. Are there any other character traits that inform the music?

Not just that -- I'm trying to make the music appeal to a worldwide audience, so I'm trying to bring in a lot of different elements to appeal to different people.

There's no one that can top my compositions in Silent Hill. - Akira Yamaoka

What kind of elements do you add for a Western audience?

I wanted to make music that would appeal to fans of horror, but I wanted to match the opinions of the fans around the world with this music. I wanted to appeal to them even if it's not horror they're looking for.

Is there something different about composing for an action game

Composing for action games and horror games is different. The rhythm for each game is different. When you have an action game, you have to have a tempo for your music that will match to the game; where in a horror game you have a lot more atmosphere. It's about the mood and not the tempo.

You're working with Mary Elizabeth McGlynn again this time. What made you decide to work with her on this project?

Of course, I get to choose who I get to work with, but this time with Mary, it's a totally different style than something from Silent Hill, so I kind of wanted to try that.

How heavily is she featured in the soundtrack?

Four songs.

How is it working with Suda-san and Mikami-san?

Fun. It's really great working with both of them. Suda-san and Mikami-san are two of the best game creators in the world, and it's really inspired me, and I really respect them very much.

Do they offer input on the music?

Sometimes they give me feedback. It's very helpful.

One last question: For the new Silent Hill game, Konami has
chosen a new composer, Dan Licht. Are you familiar with his work, and what do you think?

I don't know him.

He composes for the TV show Dexter.

I've heard the name of the show.

I don't really feel like just because someone else is [making music for Silent Hill] I should be like, "Oh, no, stop, this is my world!" But if I had a chance to do anything for Silent Hill again, I'd love it.

Konami hasn't asked?

They haven't asked me, but as far as I'm concerned, as far as Silent Hill music goes, I'm the top. There's no one that can top my compositions in Silent Hill. I've got a lot of confidence in that.

If there's a chance and the timing is good, I'd love to make music again for Silent Hill -- for the fans.

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