Favourite Track: The Shadow Queen
We were lucky enough to have Ariel Contreras-Esquivel answer a few questions about their work on the Blue Fire Original Soundtrack. Here's what they had to say!
Q1: Blue Fire contains some exceptional boss battle music. Do you have any advice on how to approach scoring a boss battle?
A1: Boss battle music is one of the funniest things to write in video games. These moments in general are used to introduce very important characters in the game/story, so here you can bring a powerful memorable tune. Also as this is a moment of great tension you are able to do that with music as well, so you have a lot of space for fast melodies, a lot of dissonances, complex harmony, a wide range for freedom is permitted. In games with focus on exploration, boss battles are great places to show contrast with music, opening new musical ideas from the rest of the game. Unleash your hunger for all the notes you want here!
Q2: Silvina Tolosa provides some gorgeous soprano vocals throughout the Blue Fire OST. Did you have the melodies / vocal parts in mind when composing the instrumentation?
A2: The vocal parts are conceived as one of the main cores for the music in Blue Fire. When I needed to create a new theme, I first thought of it as a vocal line (for soprano in this case) that should also work perfectly with the instrumental soloist, then I built the rest of the orchestration around that.
Q3: There are only a handful of 3D platformers with orchestral soundtracks. Are there any specific titles you drew influence from for the Blue Fire OST?
A3: The first approach for this game was more like an anti-influence, it was learning what NOT to do. As Hollow Knight, Zelda, and Souls like games are a clear influence in general my goal was getting sound different. So for it I didn't use piano or any kind of brass as the main rule. The most important inspirations were Shadow of The Colossus, Journey, and Nier Automata.
Q4: You have worked on a long list of mobile games. Do you have any advice for making music that sounds good coming out of a phone speaker?
A4: Phone speakers don't give much space to mid/low frequencies, so I'll try not to use that space when I think in terms of where the space is for communicating the information. But with nowadays tools you can just feel free to create the music you think is the best and then work a mix or even a function within the game to adapt the audio in general to the listener whether with earphones or just built-in speakers.
Q5: How important is the use of live instrumentation for you as a composer?
A5:To me as a composer, working with live instrumentation is one of the most important aspects. Of course it will depend on the type of music needed. But to me not only having great sounding music is relevant in the process, but also enriching the music with the added value that other human beings bring to the table. Working with other musicians opens the landscape to places that maybe I would have never thought of.
Q6: You were the orchestrator on the score for the upcoming horror film Pearl. How much creative wiggle room do you have when translating music for an orchestra?
A6: Orchestrating for the film Pearl was part of my internship with the great composer, orchestrator and conductor Timothy Williams in Los Angeles. Even though I had the green light to be creative in terms of orchestration, I did my best to translate accurately all the ideas from Timothy.
Q7: What have you been listening to lately?
A7: A lot of power metal! haha Like Avantasia, Symphony X, Stratovarius, etc. I was also very engaged lately with tango from the traditional, to Astor Piazzola and modern interpretation of the great classics songs. In terms of video games I've been listening to The Pathless, Ghost of Tsushima and Assassins Creed Valhalla (including DLC music!).
Find more of their music below!