The winner we want to profile first is Sarah Sherlock, a 24-year-old videogame composition student from Ireland. Listen to the winning track.
Sarah first came into contact with us through her professor, Claire Fitch, who posted our Drone Remix Contest at her college. Sarah told me she’s always looking for a new musical challenge, and so she decided to send us her track, using her knowledge of guitar to compose a hybrid of What if? downloadable sounds and her own guitar synths.
Clio: You are studying to become a videogames composer. What’s the story behind your choosing to pursue this creative direction?
Sarah: Around 3 years ago I had a bit of a “eureka” moment, as cliché as that may sound! It had been already a couple of years since I decided that music performance was no longer the area I wanted to pursue and so I started studying music production. It was during this time when I felt at a loss but I started to branch out and really understand the technology side of things. As I started to get more acquainted with software and various sample libraries, I just decided “I want to compose music for games.” I’ve always been an avid gamer from a very young age; It’s games like Crash Bandicoot that provided the music to my childhood, and I still listen to it and still play it today. I’ve actually had some in depth chats about the music of Crash with the composer, Josh Mancell. He is a very nice guy and talented composer so that was definitely an awesome moment! At the moment I am finished my course in music for games but am currently studying are more general Music Production 3 year degree in Pulse College.
What was the creative impetus behind the drone piece you wrote for us?
I knew right of the top upon choosing the sound design samples from the What if? SoundCloud that I really wanted to capture a dark electronic/ambient feel in the drone, and to incorporate it with a simple guitar melody that would be introduced as the song builds and gradually fades away. There’s actually another guitar that’s more so hidden with lots of Reverb, it’s way down in the mix but I think it still adds a nice blend to the track although it’s barely audible.
There’s a beautiful video that goes with this track. Tell us about it.
The video was footage taken by photographer David Lennon. I approached him asking if he wanted to work together on the project and he kindly agreed. The concept behind the hyper lapse footage is from an idea that comes from the name of the track “Peripheral Vision” as peripheral vision occurs outside the very centre of our gaze. There is a broad set of non-central points in our field of view, and so that means there are objects, buildings, people, etc. that we see every day but we are not really observing, so there is an extreme amount of fine, beautiful details that we are missing out on. We see colour, detect motion, identify shapes, gauge distance and speed, and judge the size of faraway objects. This is the idea I tried to capture with the Hyper Lapse.
Please share a couple of other works you’ve written.
The first work I would like to share is of my musical cue I composed for the “Arkham Knight” Game. This was done just as a practice project for myself.
The second song I wish to share is a song called “Helicoil.” It’s an ambient electronic song I composed to picture. The picture is of a scene that is very metallic and slightly quirky. This is one of the first songs I incorporated some sound design into.
Do you feel that participatory art has a role in the videogame industry? If so, how?
Sarah: Absolutely! I consider it be an important role, because there are so many talented and creative minds out there. Since more and more people are starting to play video games and the technology is growing all the time it means that any given person has the chance to be involved. Obviously within reason, as the participants would have to be creative people and bringing something individual to the table!
Featured image: Sarah Sherlock.