I had the great pleasure to interview the very talented Rich Vreeland, aka Disasterpeace! If you don’t already know him (which is a shame) he is the guy behind the FEZ video game soundtrack and the OST of the movie “It Follows”… but more than that, he is a man of many talents and a very innovative & cool musician that you can’t “put in a box”. It was a real pleasure to talk with him: thank’s Rich!
Hi Rich and thank you so much for answering the questions of my interzioq! I was wondering what are your early musician memories? Do you remember the moment or what made you “fell” into music?
I remember having an electric guitar from a toy store that had a built in amplifier. I didn’t know how to play it so i played it flat on my lap. I just remember being mesmerized by the sound of distortion.
When you were a teen, what kind of music did you listened to and were you listening to videogame OST?
I grew up in a Christian household so definitely listened to a lot of Contemporary Christian music like dcTalk, but also music like The Beatles, George Winston, and Vince Guaraldi around Christmas time. As I got a little older I got into classic rock and nü metal. I always played games but I didn’t really latch onto the music until later, and I went through a period of nostalgia as I recollected all the music I had listened to over the years. Some of my favorites were the soundtracks of games like Chrono Cross, Yoshi’s Island, and Super Mario RPG.
What about today: what is your current playlist?
I’m always listening to new stuff, or listening to my entire library on shuffle. I like to be surprised.
What are your favorite videogame OST and if it’s possible for you to say: why?
Hard to say definitively but there are a few that stand out for sure. I think a lot of it has to do with the experience. Some of the most influential were from games I played as a young person still developing. Lately my favorite is Samorost 3. A beautiful game.
Apart of computers, do you play any instrument?
Piano and guitar mostly.
What are your favorite piece of software to create music? (DAW, vst, etc.)
I’ve gotten very comfortable with Logic Pro but I also like to write my own scripts to generate music via MIDI.
As we all know, your brilliant & innovative OST for FEZ was a big step in your musical career. Could you please tell us how have you been involved in this project, how did you met the team, etc. ?
I met the programmer of FEZ at a show I played in Montreal. They were looking for collaborators to flesh out a compilation style soundtrack, and I suggested they work with a single composer instead.
After FEZ success, what did it change to you in your work ?
I haven’t had to look for work since then, so that’s obviously a very big change.
Today, what would be your biggest “musician dream”? (ex.: having your music being played by a philharmonic orchestra, making a collaboration with a famous artist, etc.)
I always get excited about dabbling in new forms, so working with an orchestra would definitely be exciting. I also dream sometimes about getting more into other art forms, like food for instance.
Excellent, I wasn’t expected this answer! You surely know that in France, food is a very important part of our culture so I can’t resist to ask you few questions about this topic… so what’s your favorite american meal ?
I love a good sandwich.
What’s your favorite foreign food ?
That is a very difficult question! I like so many types of food. I’ll go with miso soup. It’s a comfort food for me, and it doesn’t tend to affect my body negatively like other comfort foods might.
Do you like french cheese 🙂 ?
Yes! I like many kinds of cheese. I really like chevre.
Haha, thanks for this little food interlude and let’s go back to music now: when you start to work on a new videogame OST, what are the most important steps for you ?
Gathering as much information as possible, both from the creators and from the project itself if it has already manifested in some form. Then there is an important period of trying out lots of ideas to figure out what the creative sandbox is going to be.
What do you like the most in the making of a videogame OST?
I like the freedom to experiment with form and structure, and the generally laid back culture.
On the contrary, what is the aspect of making videogame music that you don’t like or bother you?
The freedom to experiment with form and structure can sometimes get me in trouble. There are a lot of dead ends when you’re trying to push out into new directions.
Today, would you say you’re more interested in making videogames OST, movie soundtrack or just releasing an album of your own?
I don’t think I mind what the medium is so much. I tend to gravitate towards all different sorts of projects, so I think I’m looking for something other than the format. I like to try new things.
I’m personaly a huge fan of Brian Eno (both of his music & mind) so when you speak about new things, do you have any thoughts about new medium such as Virtual Reality or interactive music, generative music, etc.? I know it could be a long answer but I’m curious to have even few words from you on that topic.
I’ve been very excited about developments within the realm of virtual reality. Experimenting with creating the sense of sound all around you, and how that relates to VR is something I want to dive into, and I can’t wait until these technologies start to blossom and become largely available to consumers at affordable rates. I’m hoping to work on a VR project in the near future, though I don’t have anything planned just yet. That said, I’ll be working on a 3D game for the next few years where I hope to explore technologies that will carry over into my work with VR. I very much want to create 3D audio experiences.
If it’s not a secret, what are your upcoming project?
I’m working on another game with Heart Machine (Hyper Light Drifter), and David Robert Mitchell’s next film, ‘Under the Silver Lake’. I’ve also got a piano album coming out soon.
Any advice to people who’d like to make music for the videogame industry?
Any links you’d like to share with us ?
I keep an extensive blog: http://disasterpeace.com/blog
Do you know any word/sentence in French? Do you have a final message to the French audience?
‘ L’esprit de l’escalier ‘
Many thanks for your replies!
My pleasure !
>> you can stream or buy & support Disasterpeace music on bandcamp. <<
Interview by izioq.