We would like to invite you to read new interview with Shadow Warrior 2 soundtrack composers. Michał Cielecki, Krzysztof Wierzynkiewicz and Adam Skorupa agreed to answer our questions and among those you will find many about new Flying Wild Hog production. If you want to know more about the music for Shadow Warrior 2 we also would like to encourage you to read the review of OST.
The most important thing for us was to find balance between “game music”, which is background music, and creating it in such way that it’s memorable.
gamemusic.net: Firstly, a warm-up question – what did you like the most during Shadow Warrior 2 project and what was the biggest challenge?
Michał Cielecki, Krzysztof Wierzynkiewicz, Adam Skorupa: Instructions we got were only “more guitars and melody” – eventually this turned out to be the challenge, because usually music for action sequences – or even action games overall – is composed in moderation, with emphasis on rhythm and not the ‘memorable’ melodies. Because of that we had to somehow face ourselves, changing our composer’s habits. On the other hand when you are restricted with some predefined schemes, at the same time having substantial amount of freedom in composing, given in this case by Flying WIld Hog, it causes you to have a lot of fun during composing and sort of freshness in your work.
gamemusic.net: How did you work out dividing tasks between all of you – in such way that coherence is kept and effectiveness sustained?
MC, KW, AS: Each one of us had a portion of music, which needed to be composed, assigned. In order to do all of these and keep the coherence, we had to consult everything on each stage: ideas, tips, the and organization of work – those were hours of Skype meetings and phone calls. On top of that, of course we had a very close collaboration with soloists, especially with Olek (Aleksander Grochocki – guitar), who recorded hours of guitar and bass riffs. Great example of how our work looked like is already published in Making of Main Theme clip.
gamemusic.net: What was the most important aspect for you while composing music for Shadow Warrior 2? Was there any particular target which was very specific for this project?
MC, KW, AS: The most important thing for us was to find balance between “game music”, which is background music, and creating it in such way that it’s memorable. We wanted the music to reflect emotions which drive the player, but at the same time we wanted the music to be cool to listen outside of the game. So that the music is genuine, with its own personality, and somehow unique. We hope we did manage to do so.
gamemusic.net: Game is filled with humor. Did you have any funny/interesting situations while creating the game’s sound design?
MC, KW, AS: Exactly because of the fact that the game itself is very humorous it was needed to crank the joke up even more in cutscenes. In order to drive the plot against the dialogues, we tried to mark those funny moments and go down from the pompous tone to more discrete melodies. What is more, the sheer fact that game is filled with humor, and music is usually very serious, on it’s own is kind of a joke.
gamemusic.net: Why did you decide to put electronic violin as the main instrument of the main theme?
MC, KW, AS: We were thinking about different options, including a synthesizer and electric guitar, but Adam reminded himself that he knows Mark “TDK” Knight who, apart from playing electric violin, also happens to be involved in game industry for over 20 years as a composer and sound designer. While listening to one of his demos, it turned out to be the sound we are aiming for. We were left with no other choice than contacting Mark and offering him cooperation.
The main theme of Shadow Warrior 2 is an expansion of the theme from first game. We wanted the second part of the theme to evolve with the music. – Michał Cielecki, Krzysztof Wierzynkiewicz, Adam Skorupa
gamemusic.net: What can you tell about cooperation with Miho Mizumachi? Did you plan this from the beginning or did it happened as a coincidence?
MC, KW, AS: The main theme of Shadow Warrior 2 is an expansion of the theme from first game. We wanted the second part of the theme to evolve with the music. We looked for new ideas for its sound and this gave birth to the idea to include Japanese accents among very dynamic arrangements. We contacted Miho, who is an extraordinary vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. We thought that Japanese vocals with very “specific vibrato” is what we need. Cooperation with Miho was perfect despite the fact she is an extremely busy artist. Miho not only sang the main theme, but also recorded ethnic instruments and translated our lyrics from English to Japanese to make everything consistent stylistically and grammatically.
gamemusic.net: Shadow Warrior 2 is a game that receives a lot of recognition around the globe. Is this a perfect project for a composer, or perhaps you prefer smaller, indie ones?
MC, KW, AS: We are very glad that game was well received by both players and critics. Composers feels fulfilled when they know that their work contributed to the success. Of course there is a great difference between working on bigger and smaller projects but it concerns only organizational matters. For us every project we are working on is important. There is no difference whether it’s big or small – always with the same engagement and commitment we are doing our job the best we can.
gamemusic.net: What is the difference between composing music nowadays, when the gaming industry is developing so fast in Poland, in comparison to what you experienced 10 years ago?
MC, KW, AS: It’s not so different. The software for music creation went through quite major evolution with the development of computer performance (e.g. sample packs are now way more extended, detailed, and nuanced, and because of that – significantly bigger, reaching dozens of gigabytes), however the process of music making looks basically the same as before. It’s worth to mention, though, that development of Internet allowed for much easier cooperation between soloists from over the world without the need of traveling – this took place also in the realization of Shadow Warrior 2 soundtrack.
We believe that Shadow Warrior 2 soundtrack is a demonstration of skill, intellect power, and victory over the mythical, elusive afflatus. – Michał Cielecki, Krzysztof Wierzynkiewicz, Adam Skorupa
gamemusic.net: Are there any moments of creativity loss along the way? How do you trigger yourselves to work creatively?
MC, KW, AS: In this industry (also movies) deadlines basically make it impossible to wait for the strike of inspiration. Because of this, we usually instinctively reach out for already proven means, at the same time trying to do it in a new fashion. We do believe in experience and knowledge, sort of a “musical dictionary”, solutions, and tools for composers which help out in production of music from technical perspective. We also think that it is very important to work out the way of regular “battery charging”. Of course each one of us has his own idea for this, but the goal is the same: to sit with a smile to work on each new track. We believe that Shadow Warrior 2 soundtrack is a demonstration of skill, intellect power, and victory over the mythical, elusive afflatus.
gamemusic.net: On which stage of music creation for the game do you take care of gathering the material for final album and why in this stage?
MC, KW, AS: Soundtrack is usually planned at the early stages of game creation, however the material firstly must be created in order to combine it into an OST. For this reason we take care of completing the soundtrack at the very end of the project when everything is finished musically.