Summer in Mara OST // Interview with Adrián Berenguer

interview orchestral OST VGM

Chibig are an indie dev team based in Valencia, Spain. Their games focus heavily on adventure and world building. All of their games, Tiny planet, Ankora, and Deiland are refered to as the 'Deiland' Saga and exist within the same universe. Chibig's latest project, Summer in Mara, while part of that universe, serves as a stand alone story.  A serene exploration game full of stunning set pieces and delightfully hand drawn cut scenes. Summer in Mara sees you sailing from island to island, making friends, solving problems, and doing a whole lot of crafting. I've seen several reviewers argue that the soundtrack is by far the best part of the game and I have to agree.

Adrián Berenguer is a highly accomplished artist and composer. His work is most commonly used in film, television and for some enourmous advertising campaigns but he has recently began scoring videogames. Both Effie and Summer in Mara are packed with scintillating orchestral pieces and Idyllic ambient tracks. I asked Adrián a few questions about his process and here's what he had to say.

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Q1: The Summer in Mara OST and the Effie OST are quite varied in tone. How different was your approach to each project?

"Effie and Summer in Mara are two games with very different themes, while one is about calm and personal growth, the other is an adventure of heroes and villains. Therefore it is evident that they must have very different styles. For Effie I was looking to recall the old fairy tale adventures and for this I recreated orchestral epic melodies that are so recurring in this type of adventure. I like to make sense of each theme so I create different themes for each of the characters and for each area of the game, that way only by listening to the music can you know where you are and what is happening at that moment.

As for Summer in Mara, the style is very different. The developers made it clear that it was a very emotional and calm video game and seeing the development I could clearly see what they were looking for. First I created the main theme of the game Marinera which is the theme of Koa (the protagonist). The whole game surrounds the girl; it is evident that the different themes that make up the OST derive from that main theme. What I was looking for in this soundtrack was to find soft, close, and emotional melodies that were powerful enough to stir the heart."

Q2: How necessary is it for you to see or play the game when composing the music?

It is difficult to play while the game is in the early development process, so it is important for me to meet as often as possible with the developer team. For me getting to know the progress of the game is a fundamental part of my work because you are in constant contact with the creators and you constantly generate ideas and on the other hand it makes you feel much more part of the process.
Luckily today it is very easy to maintain contact even if you live in very geographically separated regions. So in summary: I consider this to be essential.

Q3: Are their any composers you look to for inspiration?

I think that never in the history of music has it been as easy as now to listen to any artist. I spend most of my days searching and listening to new composers and musicians all over the world. I think that to create, you first have to listen a lot and that is what I constantly do. Since I was young I have always had a predilection for cinema and its soundtracks so it is normal that many of my favorite composers come from the world of cinema. Ennio Morricone, Danny Elfman, James Newton Howard or Alexandre Desplat are just some of my references. In the video game world there are also great composers that I love like Bear McCreary, Nobuo Uematsu or Martin O'Donell among many others. Today the quality of composers is very high and there are many hidden wonders worth discovering.

What was the first film or videogame where you really noticed the music?

The first movie I noticed the music on was in "Fantasy" by Disney. He was very young, barely 3 or 4 years old and was completely in love with the pieces of classical music that sounded in the film. Since then, I have grown up with that kind of music around me. At the age of 10 I joined an orchestra and continued studying the music that I was passionate about. Regarding the music of video games, my first contact was with the theme of Super Mario World of the Game Boy. I remember that it stayed with me for a long time. It is an eternal melody that will never be forgotten.
I composed my first original soundtrack for a short film called Thurbomix that won the award for best soundtrack at the Indian Festival in Spain. Since then I have composed many pieces for cinema and advertising. [It was not] until relatively recently that I entered the world of video games. My first piece in this fantastic universe was The Big A the theme of the final boss in the video game Timothy vs The Aliens for PS4 and PC.

Favourite tracks "Marinera" and "Masters of the Sea".
FFO: Christopher Larkin, Ludvig Forssell and  Deniz Akbulut
Find more of their music below!

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