Level 46: Kenny Young (Tethered), Douglas Holmquist (PinOut)

It’s a double feature! Two composers and two incredible scores to new games.Kenny Young has been on in the past to talk about the Tearaway series and the LittleBigPlanet series. His new game is Tethered for PlayStation VR. In typical Kenny fashion, the music is full of charm and invention. Ever heard of a nyckelharpa? You have now. You’re going to love the Tethered score, and Kenny’s discussion about music and VR.

Have you played PinOut? It’s a new mobile game, and it’s fun, fun, FUN. Swedish composer Douglas Holmquist wrote the 80’s-inspired score. This is synthwave at its finest, and we are thrilled to have Douglas on the show.

After our chat, Douglas sent me this message regarding more technical aspects of his creation process:

“Early on in the process, when I was still looking for the right tone of the music, I sent a sketch that was bit more upbeat and had some slightly more expanded harmonies in it – some major 7th chords, some diminished, a few 9th and so on, and Emil, the level designer (who also knows quite a lot about music, as does Dennis and Henrik) gave me some pretty good advice. “Dumb it down, dumb it down! Forget what you know about music theory and use simple triads, and the fewer chords the better!” I sometimes tend to write kind of jazzy harmonies even when I make electronic music, I guess partly because I like using all my fingers when I play keyboards and partly because I might have listened too much to Steely Dan… 🙂 Obviously also because I like the sound of more complex harmonies, and sometimes get bored with musical clichés, such as the old  A minor / F / C / G progression that’s in every song ever… But in this case it was a really good piece of advise from Emil because he, and the other Mediocre guys, repeatedly told me that they wanted the music to sound menacing and threatening, and an open fifth chord with just an E and an B is usually A LOT more menacing than lets say an E minor 9th chord or something like that. 
It was also a nice challenge to make something menacing and threatening with the kinds of synth sounds (sort of) that were around in the 80’s. It’s a lot more fun to try and make a sequence with a simple sawtooth sound on an analog synth sound scary than to just use some modern multitimbral, effect drenched dubstep wobble bass or something like that.”

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