Thanks to everyone who checked out last week’s post on Keep Craft’s UI conversion! We had a lot of community support and we’re excited to keep sharing development updates with everyone.
This week we bring you an interview with Keep Craft’s musical composer, Ryan Garrison. Ryan is a Los Angeles based film and TV composer who put together an awesome main track for the game. Check it out below.
Keep Craft Main Theme:
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you at in life right now?
Ryan: I am currently sitting at my desk in crippling anxiety about the decision of ordering pad see ew or chicken pad thai. Chicken pad thai is a classic but very few Thai restaurants do it well. If I order pad thai and it is flavorless and bland, I will be very disappointed. On the other hand pad see ew is in my opinion a less delicious choice when done well, but harder to do bad. That’s where I’m at in life right now… compassion is needed.
What originally got you interested in music and what keeps you motivated to continue creating?
Ryan: Music has always been the focal point of my life and something that maintains my constant interest. My motivation to create comes from listening to music that inspires me and not wanting to suck. I also feel like my life lacks meaning if I don’t work on music for a few days.
Music has always been the focal point of my life and something that maintains my constant interest… I also feel like my life lacks meaning if I don’t work on music for a few days.
Tell us about the theme you created for Keep Craft.
Ryan: Writing the theme for Keep Craft was a fun challenge. At the beginning of every project there is the initial panic of “holy shit, what did I get myself into? They are going to wake up and realize they need to hire a real composer.” I’ve had the privilege of spending time with some great composers like Hans Zimmer and Danny Elfman and they all say that at the beginning of any project, there is absolute abject terror staring at the blank page. However, once you begin and get moving, things just find a way of working out and you just enjoy the ride.
I am a lifelong gamer so it was really my absolute privilege to do the music for a video game. The game I have logged the most time into would certainly be StarCraft. The thing Ive always noticed about the music for StarCraft is that it seems to be on a constant crescendo, starting slow and then slowly rising up into a climax, then slowing down again, then rising again, etc. When it rises it always made me feel really productive in the game – but at the same time I wasn’t paying attention to it explicitly (if that makes any sense).
The key with a track like this is to be subtle and familiar at the same time. It’s a bit like tip-toeing through two people’s conversation and then tapping one of them on the shoulder to let them know you’re there.
With a track like this which I knew would be on repeat the entire time someone was playing the game, I felt that for the most part it needed to be very subtle but at times a bit more noticeable to make the player feel some sort of accomplishment. I also wanted to use kind of a 90’s video game sound (in a non cheesy way) so it would have a nostalgic feel for the people playing the game. I wanted to make the game sound like something from your childhood, but in a modern way. The key with a track like this is to be subtle and familiar at the same time. It’s a bit like tip-toeing through two people’s conversation and then tapping one of them on the shoulder to let them know you’re there.
There are always challenges in getting it right. One of my favorite sayings is “a work of art is never finished, only abandoned.” I initially wrote two separate themes, one was the first half of the theme you hear now and the other was a more uppity orchestral piece. Chris (the Producer on Keep Craft) kind of had the idea of combining both themes in terms of having a slower more textural part, then a part with much more motion. It was definitely a collaborative effort between myself and the two producers, Chris and Ihar. We sort of put our heads together to get it where it is today. I think it turned out really well.
I hope you guys enjoy playing Keep Craft as much as I enjoyed creating the music for it!
Ryan Garrison is a film, tv, and now videogame composer. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.