SEGAKU presents an exclusive interview with Manuel López Ibáñez, aka Asomnu, about his career as a composer, and overall about Song of Horror, a Spanish videogame that will leave everyone speechless.
Song of Horror is an indie videogame that I discovered just by chance last summer. Ever since, I have been a firm supporter. It is a very ambitious project, although humble, with a very small team working on it and that is achieving great things, such as a future release on videoconsoles.
Here’s my interview with the game’s musical composer, he will tell you more about it.
Introduce yourself. Tell us about your professional career.
Speaking about my career is something that I have always found complicated. During my professional life I have worked on many things – and I have to admit some of these things were more successful than others -. I have been through really different worlds, such as press, graphic design, literature, computing, game design… and music. In fact, perhaps the only thing that all that stuff have in common, is my desire to tell a story, to make others feel what I feel as well; such desire travels with me since as far as I remember. Having the chance to do it through music is a privilege I could never think I would have, so I owe a lot to the Protocol Games team for giving me such a chance.
What is your opinion about the actual situation of music in videogames?
I believe it went through a very interesting transformation in barely two decades. Music in videogames has gone from being something completely minor to receiving a big welcoming from the crowd. During this process, the value of production has risen so much that it is hard to compare music from a classic such as Prince of Persia to the one in Bioshock. What scares me about the current situation is that Hollywood is often taken as a reference when it comes to face a project involving a big soundtrack, since that makes the videogame industry lose part of its essence. I would like to see less generic projects with big money involved and more original projects, which could grow bigger within the limitations of the sector. Sometimes, a simpler project (like the one of Kan R. Gao for To the Moon) makes me more emotional than a soundtrack which may be correct from a technical point of view, but that is lacking originality and personality.
Have you worked in projects unrelated to videogames?
As I said before, my professional life has always been very random, so yes I have. The good thing is that this has allowed me to know the audiovisual industry from very diverse points of view. When I make music for Song of Horror I try to apply all my acquired experience. I like to understand the music of a videogame as a mix of stimuli that are part of a very complex experience, besides trying to take part in the gameplay constantly so that music is not just a background element.
Would you consider yourself a gamer? Tell us about how you began making music for videogames.
Yes, absolutely. Ever since I put my hands on my first NES cartridge, I could not help but feeling really attracted to the world of videogames, both as a consumer and as a creator. In fact, I started being into soundtrack making through titles such as Final Fantasy VII or The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, whose music I played and made my own versions of until I grew bored of it when I was a teen. While I was studying at university I also took the chance to put music and sound to everything I needed, and little by little people began commissioning my work, till Song of Horror arrived.
Tell us a little about Song of Horror, so that our readers learn about it.
Song of Horror is a third person horror game that tries to reclaim the essence of classics such as Alone in the Dark, Silent Hill or Resident Evil. Our mission is to submerge the player inside the story and to make him or her feel a kind of horror that goes far beyond typical jump scares. The world of Song of Horror is raw, cold, really harsh. The characters are normal people who are not ready to face the dangers they will be forced to endure: a dangerous supernatural entity. On top of that, making a single mistake means paying a high price, because death is permanent and, if a character does not make it through alive, there is no way to recover him unless we restart the chapter.
What is the role of the player in the game?
Players in Song of Horror can play as 16 different characters, all of them just normal people that get involved just by chance in a series of happenings that are relevant to the plot. The main goal is to explore the different locations, while keeping the supernatural entity under control as it chases us, solving puzzles – similar to how we would do it in a graphic adventure – and, overall, staying alive until we unveil the end of the terrorific story.
What are the similarities and differences between this one and another projects of yours?
Song of Horror is a project that caught my eye ever since I saw it for the first time. I love the genre and its own mechanics. Unlike previous works of mine, I am completely involved in the making of this one, which has given the chance to understand the goals of the creative process behind the project. It became something of mine. Besides, I was given almost complete freedom since the beginning to imagine the sound aesthetic that fits the game the best.
What it does have in common with other projects of mine, however, is that it’s an indie project – with all its positive and negative sides-. On the one hand, we do not have all the resources that we would like to produce the soundtrack, but on the other hand we have the chance to do whatever we think is best, without any kind of limit for creativity.
Does your work in Song of Horror involve everything in the sound field from scratch, including environmental sounds, or is it just focused on melody?
I am in charge of everything, both the sound design aspect of the game as well as the soundtrack. Basically, everything that the player hears.
Will the sound in the game include real instruments, or will it just involve digital ones?
So far, and due to the budget we are working with, almost every instrument is digital. The exception are the piano and the guitar, those are real.
Will the game feature any vocal track, or will everything be strictly instrumental?
Our intention is that the main track of Song of Horror has its own vocal track. This track is really important to the story of the game, so we are putting all our efforts into making it stand out among the rest.
Thanks a lot for the interview!
We will soon have more news related to this project.