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The Damned collaboration: How Shadows of the Damned found its closing act


It takes a lot of people a lot of time to license a track for a video game. Among other things, that's what The Damned drummer Andrew "Pinch" Pinching learned in the fall of 2010 when he worked with Grasshopper Manufacture composer Akira Yamaoka on the title track from this year's grindhouse-inspired third-person shooter, Shadows of the Damned. According to Pinch, it took "about a hundred emails" before an agreement was even reached regarding the collaboration.

"I kid you not, they are VERY thorough," Pinch explained to me via email earlier this summer. He was speaking to the GhM side of the partnership, which he described as "treading a different path in the games industry" from other dev studios. "I did a bit of research and found out about Suda51 and No More Heroes," Pinch added. "[He] was regarded as a bit of an edgy rebel, which appealed to me immensely. It didn't hurt that his games looked great as well."

The end product of the collaboration was, as we now know, the excellent (and if I may say so myself, rockin') final track from Shadows of the Damned. But that wasn't always the plan, as Pinch told me. "Initially, they [GhM] wanted what everyone wants -- an old Damned track. In this instance, a track called 'Love Song,' which in hindsight would have fitted the theme of the game rather nicely." But "Love Song" wasn't meant to be, and The Damned pushed to create an original track for the game.

But collaborating with famed Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka in Japan was no easy task, geographically speaking. Pinch lives in San Diego, while other participating members live in the south of England. "We had to work out a way to get this thing done without creating the world's largest carbon footprint recording," Pinch wondered. But how? The internet! "Fortunately, we all have little home studio setups, so most of the demo trading could be simply file swapping," he explained.

Pinch penned some lyrics, and worked on the drum track, naturally. Guitarist "Captain Sensible" then "added his own take to the guitars and added a keyboard track on top as well." As for vocals, however, Yamaoka got personally involved. "It became clear that Akira really wanted to be there with [Damned vocalist] Dave Vanian at the recording, so he flew to London to meet Dave and oversee the session himself," Pinch told me. And for a while, that was that.

"The next time I heard it was on a YouTube clip from the game after it was released," Pinch explained. While he had yet to play the game when we last spoke, he and Captain Sensible are the "gamers in the band," so it's possible one or both of them have seen their work in the game by now -- that is, if Pinch has recovered from his FIFA 11 obsession yet. "I have a hell of a great team after seven seasons in career mode! And no, I'm not telling you my Gamertag!"

The title track from The Damned featured in Shadows of the Damned is available via limited edition CD, currently. You could also just go pick up a copy of Shadows of the Damned and complete it to hear the song, which we'd totally suggest.

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