Narita Boy is a kind of a little homage to ‘80s. The then visual style, the then atmosphere of video games – retro video games, like we’d say today. Regarding music, Narita Boy (review) shows how music from the time could have grown if musicians have had modern instruments. Salvador „Salvinsky” Fornieles made a really good job to convey that feeling. We asked him to tell us about the „making of” details.
I tried different approaches but wasn’t satisfied. – Salvador
gamemusic.net: As far as I know, Narita Boy is your first video game soundtrack – could you tell us about the beginnings of your cooperation with Studio Koba?
Salvador: We started cooperating back in 2017, some months before the release of the Kickstarter trailer. Eduardo Fornieles, founder of Studio Koba, is my brother and since we started our careers – he on visuals, me on music composition – we wanted to create something together. He asked me to do the soundtrack and sound design for the game and I told him that neither synths were my jam nor did I know how to do sound design. He told me that he trusted me and that we were Indies and we would find a way to make it work. And this is what happened.
gamemusic.net: Was it difficult for you, as a composer, to create music partly dependent on a player’s actions that are roughly possible to predict and keep the music sounds good regardless of a scene?
Salvador: It was difficult at the start because I wanted the game to sound more like a movie. I tried different approaches but wasn’t satisfied. Then, talking with Ed and the dev team we finally found a way to keep the exploration clean of combat and insert the combat in the game as waves of enemies. Once we found this scheme it was easier for me to combine the two atmospheres. And then present a new song for the final boss. Also I decided to get rid of drums on exploration to be able to make very long loops that would not compete with the sound design. I wanted the sound design (NPCs talking, animations, atmospheres) to be a part of the music too.
gamemusic.net: While reconstructing the atmosphere, where did you look for inspiration? Did you find it in films, games and cultural things from the era as well?
Salvador: I found inspiration mostly on what I liked as a child in the 80s. Mainly movies and TV series such as Knight Rider, V (The Visitors), Street Hawk, Airwolf, Blade Runner, Chariots of Fire. I re-listened and discovered a lot of great stuff in Vangelis, Isao Tomita, Jean-Michel Jarre and Tangerine Dreams. I also listened to a lot of 80s pop including Depeche Mode, OMD, Giorgio Moroder, Bronski Beat, Modern Talking, Madonna, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the soundtrack of Flashdance etc… all that was considered “cheesy” in the 90s…and as more recent references I found very inspiring the soundtrack of Beyond the Black Rainbow (Sinoia Caves), Tron Legacy and Random Access Memories LP (Daft Punk), The Knick and Drive (Cliff Martinez) and also the W:/2016 Album/ by Deadmau5.
gamemusic.net: What’s your musical background? I’ve heard your EP, “Planets” (interesting concept, by the way!) and you’ve seemed to be at home while in electronic music, but the Narita Boy soundtrack also contains some different tones like punk or jazz.
Salvador: I studied classical piano between 5 and 16. Then some jazz piano and guitar lessons. I played guitar in several poop-rock bands until my mid-20s. Then, when I finally decided to become a musician in my 30s, I played some jazz and reggae but basically decided to put all my energy in composition and production. I started doing music for advertisements and custom music for all sorts of projects.
gamemusic.net: While recreating the ‘80s, did you rely only on current modern instruments or did you use some of the 80s’ classics as well?
Salvador: All Narita Boy and Planets is done with virtual instruments. I mostly use 3 virtual instruments (Diva, Serum and Alchemy) and, regarding Narita Boy, samples of 80s drum machines. Sometimes I say to myself that I would like to buy a real synth but I’m very used to the flexibility that allows me to work with virtual instruments. And the sound is just great.
gamemusic.net: On your Soundcloud account you mentioned that you like meditation and to live a quiet life – sounds like a dream for many people. Is there something that particularly puts you in the right mood to start composing?
I would like to do something simpler than Narita Boy. – Salvador
Salvador: What puts me in the right mood is doing some physical activity before and sometimes in the middle of a session; eating something good that gives me pleasure and some energy (not too much though, so not all the energy goes to the stomach instead of the brain); a bit of meditation in the morning and/or night; and tea. I also try not to put too much pressure on myself and trust that in the end something good will come up.
gamemusic.net: Let’s imagine you’d like to take part in another musical project for a video game – what setting or story would make you feel the most comfortable to cover it with music? Would it be a game about the future or rather about the past?
Salvador: I would love to do something contemplative and timeless. Kind of minimalist music. Maybe using only piano or atmospheric guitars. I would like to do something simpler than Narita Boy, with more space and silences. Yet I would be comfortable covering any story if I like the music I am doing and I have lots of space to explore, as I did with Narita Boy.