Minute of Islands OST // Interview with Thomas Hoehl

atmospheric blog interview Minute of Islands OST orchestral OST soundtrack Thomas Hoehl

FFO: She Remembered Caterpillars, Mutazione, Hilda and Baldo

Favourite Track : Opening the Bridge Gate

Find more of their music below!



Thomas was kind enough to answer a few questions about his creative process and what he's been gaming recently. Here is what he had to say. 

Q1: How do you find / create your percussion sounds?

I collect samples of unusual customized instruments and I’m always on the lookout to sounds that are organic/acoustic but don’t sound like traditional instruments. If I got some time left I even record my own samples of instruments I collected, put them through a lot of post processing and make them playable on a keyboard. 


Q2: Do you find your background as a pianist informs how you compose a song?

Absolutely. When I learned to play the piano I improvised most of the time. I played by ear, couldn’t read scores yet and I tried to play the tunes I remembered and loved on my own and in my own way. And until today, this intuitive, direct approach to composing is important for me. I’m not led by my head…A new project starts with an improvisation. Sometimes the improvised track is replaced by better ideas, sometimes the very first idea stays until the end of the composition process… 

Apart from that, when I play the piano I mostly play pop/soul/jazz. And that has a big influence on how I write music, too. If I just start a piece from scratch, it often gets the short form of a pop song which is about 3 minutes long. And as a stage pianist, I try to convey the energy and roughness of a live performance in my music, too… My tracks are more captured performances than programmed tracks. 


Q3: You have an extensive background composing music for animated shorts films. What are the differences when composing music for a Game vs. an animated short?

Well, it’s a lot easier to create a consistent sonic world when working on an animated short. It’s easy to stick to the instrumental colors you chose and to use them for the whole score. One reason is that working on a short film usually doesn’t take months. Most of the time, I write the music for shorts in about a week and really concentrate on that one project during the writing process. Working on a game like Minute of Islands, for instance, this was more difficult. I had to work hard to stick to the sonic world/vision I developed while composing for the game. Sometimes, development needed more time and I worked on other projects in between. Returning to Minute of Islands, I always had to get back to the „rules“ I set myself for the sound of the game. 

The more obvious difference is adaptivity, of course. A short film is linear, the timing is fixed (apart from thousands of recuts at the end of projects ;)). But in a game, the player is the director. The player decides when to go right or left or when to make a certain decision that changes the action on screen and also changes the character of the music. But at the same time, the players expect the game scores to work hand in hand with the picture like they know from movies. This can be achieved with fantastic programs like Fmod or Wwise etc. which help you make your music adaptive. It takes some time but I love figuring out who to well implement music in the game and to keep it flexible without letting the players notice. 


Q4: What is the last video game you played?

Little Nightmares 2. One of the best soundtracks ever by Tobias Lilja. A very somber unique and sweet sonic world. The implementation of the music in the game is fantastic, too. I’m a big fan of Tobias’ work.


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