Joel Schoch took the time to answer a few questions we had about their work on the FAR series. Here is what they had to say!
Q1: How do you feel your sound has evolved in the 4 years between FAR games?
A1: I think my preference for recording and discovering sounds myself has deepened. I have also ventured into playing the flute or clarinet in recent years. I think I'm still addicted to learning new sounds. Still, I feel that I'm scratching at the surface of what's possible with music in games.
Q2: Do you have any tips for blending electric guitar sounds with acoustic string instruments?
A2: Oh, my not-very-long experience in recording electric guitars is that miking an amp gives a more natural reproduction of the sound than adding effects to the DI (direct input) signal. I like to play nearly every instrument by hand and not necessarily with plucks or sticks, with guitar, it is exactly the same, I think this can contribute to the blending. The rest is a question of levelling and EQ.
Q3: Do you have any tips for composing songs that are under 1 minute long?
A3: Whether a piece is one minute long or five, I like to start with the end of the piece, with the most intense part. Working backwards gives me less headache when composing. But that's something everyone has to figure out for themselves I think, whatever helps you, do it.
Q4: Have you ever considered a live performance of the music from the FAR series?
A4: There was once a big band that played a version of "Coloured Engine", didn't quite convince me xD For a live version of "Lone Sails" it would actually need some work in the arrangement because the instrumentation varies greatly from cue to cue. Sometimes the same player would have to imitate 6 ukuleles, then again a percussion ensemble and then bowed piano strings. I think I would probably need 15 multi-instrumentalists :) Another hurdle would be that I usually like en pianissimo sound of an instrument best. To reproduce that live would be a big challenge, but one I would love to tackle!
Q5: In 2016 you worked on a "3D radio play". Do you mind explaining how that project came together?
Q5: The 3D radio play was my bachelor project at the Zurich University of the Arts. I set two short stories by Michael Ende to music for 17.2 boxes. The audience sat in the middle of the room in a circle facing outwards. All around the music sounded and from above the voice of the narrator could be heard. I also used a 3D audio system called Ambisonics. I am currently in the process of mixing the music from this project for stereo now and will release it in January 2023.
Q6: What have you been listening to lately?
A6: At the moment I like to listen to Jordan Rakei, play the game Farthest Frontier, because I like the score very much and occupy myself with the music of Photay and Weval.