Two weeks ago, I interviewed Edward Ray, a musician and video game composer (here’s his website!), on his process of making music and sound effects for games. There I also mentioned that Edward was planning on making some music for my stream, which I was more than happy about… and well,… it’s done. I’ve been using it from time to time on my stream and it honestly really fits the vibe. It was a great collab really and I wanted to share my experience today!
In the process of figuring out what exactly he should make, we talked a bit on Discord, then went into a call after getting an appointment going that works for both of our schedules, and we frankly chatted quite a bit. Edward’s a pretty cool guy, so being able to chat with him about all sorts of topics was pretty nice overall. We then talked a bit about what sort of music I wanted to commission. This process usually takes a bit longer when people don’t really know what they want… but I’m not like other people. I’m a lich! Hence, I basically already know what I wanted and it was now our task to find out how to accomplish it as I have no clue about music. While I’m a complete noob when it comes to technical terms, Edward made the effort to explain terms and words I didn’t know about so well that even I could understand them. It was very enlightening.
The overall vibe that I wanted him to create with this song was a bit of a mystical/enigmatic and maybe even eery vibe if that makes sense that is befitting of a great necromancer’s crypt… but given that I’m not an evil lich… at least in my opinion… I also wanted it to be cosy and somewhat comfortable. I used terms such as “eery”, “necromancy”, “witchcraft”, “high tones”, and “chill vibes” and provided some references to parts in music that I did like or that sounded similar.
- For the chill vibes, Edward created a chill hop beat under the whole thing that isn’t too overbearing… Kinda like lo-fi music if that makes sense.
- Regarding “necromancy” and “witchcraft”, he added chants that land it this eery feeling.
- I also did mention “cosmic horror” as in “Lovecraft” but without the racism… and he added some ethereal pads throughout to evoke that feeling.
- Through a chord progression, he communicated this further.
- And at some points, he also added high tones via the pianos without becoming too overbearing.
The issue is that my voice is rather low, so he already warned me that adding high piano notes may become hard to listen to – or it would make it hard for me to talk over it – which is why he tried to make it not too overbearing. The initial sketch sounded amazing, btw! Sadly, though, I actually didn’t like the piano notes all that much as well as some other parts which is why we made another call. There, Edward told me that it’s normal to not like the first sketch and that – in fact – it’s better to dislike it and to then have a better idea of what you want before you move on. There are people that may feel bad about revisioning what you made but in the end, it helps everyone if you can give feedback and change things up. Another thing I mentioned was that I wanted it to loop more seamlessly given that it would play in the background and probably loop around multiple times.
So, Edward did just that. He removed the undesirable parts, made it loop more seamlessly, and he also adjusted the “high pianos” by moving them down in pitch to be “more textural versus up-front”. That way, according to Edward, “the track is less linear and still has some more variation. It still lends a nice tonality but sits more in the background.”
And well, I’m actually more than happy with how it turned out. A big part of the process was also the reference work and without sounding too similar to it, Edward created something amazing that reminds me a little bit of video game soundtracks that I love and adore, which I’m quite thankful for. Now, whenever it plays in the background as I chat on my stream, I’ll be somewhat reminded of good soundtracks and this interesting collab! It was a great experience. If you’re a developer or just anyone that wants to commission Edward to make music for your projects, make sure to check out his website over here! He’s done a wonderful job for me and definitely deserves more recognition!