We are proud to announce electronic duo Eat The Sun are producing the original sound track for PROJECT XO.
Eat The Sun are an electronic duo based in the East Midlands U.K. The two core members, Matt Brown and Matt Rhodes, met in the early 80’s over a game of tabletop Frogger and have been friends ever since. Although both had been writing and producing music separately since the 1990s, it was after attending a Dirty Electronics DIY Synth event in Nottingham they decided to collaborate, and the idea of Eat The Sun was born. Mixing analog with digital and working with New York based graphic artist Sergio Brinatti, they have developed a unique visual style to accompany their organic, cinematic sound. They cite their inspirations as Steve Reich, Daniel Miller, Factory Records, The KLF and Underworld along with C64 SID-chip tune legends Rob Hubbard and Martin Galway, and everything in between.
Their two EPs ‘Fingers’ and ‘Portals’, released on their own label Low Energy Records, garnered praise and attention from across the globe, being extensively played on radio shows and podcasts such as The Homebrew Electronica Show, Radio Free Matlock and Warminster Radio’s Dark Train, as well as the U.S. based Sleepy Bass Radio and the Unexplained Sounds show coming out of Italy. Alongside remixes for bands such as Behind The Moon and Many Elephants, they have also produced the soundtrack to Bezier, a twin-stick shooter video game developed by Niine Games and recently published by Thalamus Digital on the Nintendo Switch.
We managed to pull the lads to one side for a quick chat and get some insight into their creative process...
What inspired you to want to create music for a video game?
Video games and in particular game music played a massive part in our musical upbringing. When we were kids we would stick a tape deck up to the tv speaker and make our own compilations of C64 game music - Rob Hubbard, Martin Galway, Ben Daglish, Tim Follin etc. and to us it was just the same as listening to bands like Depeche Mode and New Order. We would buy games purely based on whoever did the soundtrack, never playing the actual games but just listening to these amazing tunes coming from that infamous chip. It also helped widen our musical taste - for example as a direct result of Rob Hubbard's interpretation of the Koyaanisqatsi soundtrack for the C64 game Delta, that introduced us to the work of Philip Glass which in turn got us into composers like Steve Reich, and they all continue to have a huge influence on us today. We've also been told our work has a 'soundtracky' feel to it so doing a video game soundtrack just seemed like a natural fit for us.
How did you approach collaborating with the game developers to ensure that the music fitted with the overall vision for the game?
We've been friends with one of the developers (Simon Thurman) for many years, so from the moment he even mentioned he was thinking of developing a game we were like "you know we're doing the soundtrack right?!". As a result we've been part of the development process right from the very early stages when Simon and Brandon were bouncing ideas around. So we've had this incredible access to the whole design process, and because we're friends we have a shorthand way to communicate - even down to something like just giving us a film reference, we understand what mood or atmosphere the devs are looking for. And of course this also means the lines of communication are very open and honest - if something isn't working or quite right, it's not a difficult conversation, we just shrug our shoulders and go "fair enough mate we'll have another go!".
How do you think creating music for the video game compares to creating music for other mediums such as albums or live performances?
As we said before our music has that 'soundtrack' feel to it so on the one hand we haven't had to entirely change our creative process. On the other hand, normally when making a track you have to think about the structure in a certain way - even something basic like verse/chorus/bridge etc. - and that when you listen to a track, that's the main focus of your attention. With a video game, firstly the music isn't going to be the main focus, so immediately that's a lot less pressure! It's more about creating a mood, atmosphere or conveying a particular emotion. The music also had to be able to evolve organically and dynamically as the player progresses through a level - so if someone pauses the game on the very first section, they aren't going to get a full 4 minute piece of music playing but rather an intro piece that loops around until you as a player progress forward, then you can start introducing other elements. It actually is quite similar to preparing a live performance in Ableton Live, so you have all these loops and layers that all work well with each other and you can weave them together to increase or lower the intensity depending on what the player is doing, rather than it needing a specific beginning / middle / end. There's been some amazing game soundtracks in recent years - thinking of 65daysofstatic's work on No Man's Sky, Bobby Krlic with Returnal, or Sophus Alf Agerbæk-Larsen who did the soundtrack to Deep Rock Galactic - and they all have this ever-changing element of rising and falling with whatever action is happening on screen. We were definitely inspired to approach Project XO in a similar fashion.
We'll have more to share from Eat The Sun as the game progresses. Stay tuned!