FFO: Tribes of Midgard, Godfall, The Outer World, Eden and Valorant
Favourite Track : Thermodynamic Equilibrium
Chris took the time to answer a few questions I had about their work on the Risk of Rain series as well as their latest release, An audio drama called "Gospel of the Flood".
Q1: Your latest release is an "Audio Drama" in the style of 1930s radio programs like The Shadow. What inspired you to help put together "Gospels of the Flood"?
A1: It's interesting that you mention The Shadow, since both Jonas (the writer/director of Gospels of the Flood) and I love the film adaptation. That said, Gospels is not nearly as theatrical (or pulpy) as The Shadow radio plays. Ours is a somber narration exploring the various aspects and manifestations of Faith—religious and otherwise. That is not to say that Gospels is a collection of essays. It's a proper story with a beginning, middle and end, as told by our protagonist, a man of the cloth voiced by Peter Wingfield.
Jonas Kyratzes came to me with a complete script and asked me to do the sound and music for the project. Jonas and I have worked together before and were looking for an opportunity to collaborate again. This project was perfect because it touched on topics that I'm deeply concerned with: Why, how and in what do we put our faith in. As always, Jonas approached this from an unapologetically humanist perspective and the story he wrote, while deeply philosophical, never becomes preachy or pedantic. It remains simple, touching and profoundly human. I would never pass on something so beautifully written. The project ended up being as meaningful to me as it is to him and I'm extremely proud to have been part of it. People who are curious can listen to it on any podcast app by searching for Gospels of the Flood.
Q2: How are musicians in Greece coping with the lack of live music events?
A2: While not a live performer myself, I have numerous friends who have been greatly impacted by the situation. Honestly, most musicians barely make ends meet and have resorted into a) burning through their savings, b) depending on the minimal—and dubiously distributed—help of the state, c) the support of their families, d) all of the above. Thankfully, live shows are mostly back, at least here in Greece, of course with the necessary health precautions. During the time that live gigs were strictly prohibited some musicians have tried working on indoor gigs (studio sessions, live streams, etc.). Of course that's not something everyone can do or has access to. Art has suffered a lot during the pandemic, with theatre and music taking a particularly harsh hit. Hopefully this will be behind us soon...
Q3: Does knowing a game will be multiplayer change the way you approach creating its music?
A3: I'd say no. The compositions are mostly driven by the overall feel of the game regardless of it being played online or not. Sometimes there are technical aspects to consider (layers, cues, loudness, etc.) but it mostly has to do with other factors in the game. For example, compared to general cues, boss fights need to have an increased and constant level of intensity, or might need to jump to different points within a piece depending on the action. In such cases I make sure the piece accommodates this in form, instrumentation, stems, etc.
To be perfectly honest, I almost always focus on the music first and think about all the technical/gamey stuff second. I have found that the vast majority of players consider music within a game not just as intentional but as inherent. Let me clarify with a non-musical example: when you come across an obstacle in a game, despite any frustration or critique of the game's design, you still accept it and play the game with that obstacle informing both your actions (gameplay) but also your interpretation of the game (experience). I can't climb this wall so a) I need to find a different route (gameplay) and also b) my character is not agile/strong/tall enough (experience). The same thing goes for music. Players will not "doubt" a piece of music, even if it directly contrasts what's happening on screen. Instead, they will unconsciously adapt both their experience (on a purely emotional and mostly unconscious level) but also their way of playing. This is a conclusion based on countless feedback from players and one in which I put a lot of weight. My goal is to create music that has forward momentum, tells a story if you will, and as such provides an additional level of experience within the game.
Q4: What have you been listening to lately?
A4: A band I discovered this summer and thoroughly enjoyed is called Mildlife
—which, btw, if they're reading this, it's an atrocious name for a band! Thankfully their music is really good, so I had their albums on repeat for quite a while. I also got into the Halloween mood by re-listening (for the millionth time) Goblin
's amazing soundtrack for Suspiria
(1977) and spending some time with Christopher Young's extremely atmospheric score for Hellraiser
(which was new for me since I wasn't a fan of the franchise). Finally, I'd like to specifically mention a recent piece of music that blew my mind: Kamasi Washington's cover of Metallica's My Friend Of Misery
(from the album The Metallica Blacklist
, in which various artists cover pieces from Metallica's classic Black Album
). I have a very complicated relationship with covers, most of which I find bland and cynical (listen to The Metallica Blacklist
for many examples...). Washington's interpretation is not only an exception but a true masterclass on how to cover a song! Then again, it's Kamasi Washington, the man can do no wrong.
Find more of their music below.soundcloud.com/chrischristodouloumusicchrischristodoulou.com/twitter.com/AstronautDown