1. When and how did you start composing for the video games industry?
I started composing music for games with The Nameless Mod. I had been wondering how to get a foot in the door and write music for games for a long, long time. I loved the feeling of immersion and how the music helped and sometimes completely carry the emotional weight of the experience. I love the original Deus Ex very much, so and one day I was browsing though a now defunct DX website and found out that a guy named Trestkon was looking for musicians for a Deus Ex Mod he and his team were working on. So I quickly put up a folder with some music cues that I had lying around and sent him a message. He liked it and that got me in. Once I was part of the team I met Jonas Wæver who I continued to collaborate with after The Nameless Mod.
2. Do you play the game first (or pieces of it while in development) before composing the music, or do you listen to the concept/storyline? How does the process work of coming up with great music for each game?
This depends on development. I will try to get my hands on a playable build of the game as soon it’s possible because I like to experience and troubleshoot the music working along with the story and within the game universe. Before that happens I will ask for as much concept art as I can get, and any and all story documents and summaries, script, etc. I try to keep updated.So once I have an idea about the universe the game takes place in, and the developer’s requests, I sit down and start sketching ideas for a theme or themes, something that encapsulates what I feel about the game, the story, the art, where all of this is going for.
On Clandestine, which is an espionage game, there is the constant tension of not knowing who to trust, who is good and who is bad, you can never be sure of anything. So that meant two things, tension and a sense of unsureness or ambiguity.I chased those two with the initial melody or theme for the game, that is to say, just the melody of the track that you can listen to now. The first sketch was much more Rock oriented but had within it the melodic seed that is the theme. I reworked the Main Theme a couple of times before it got to where it is now, but the melodic idea was always there, and it has the peculiarity that it is based on a suspended chord, so it is neither major nor minor, and it lends itself to be placed over a several chords and it will work. It appears in several permutations throughout the game.
3. Do you have a specific video game genre that you prefer when composing your music?
Not really a genre, but I am partial to the story, I like story-driven games. That is like saying something without saying anything actually. I like RPGs, first person shooters, 3rd person action games and history based games like Conquistador and the Total War games. But if the story is gripping, I will pay less attention to the actual genre and just enjoy.
4. If you, yourself, could be any video game character ever designed, who would you be?
Ha! JC Denton of course. I would merge with Helios and make music available to anyone in the whole world. Oh wait! that already happened…Ok. I would right the wrongs of humanity and show the way to the many that live in darkness then.
Here is the Clandestine music clip by Leonardo:
We would like to thank Leonardo for taking the time to interview with us.
You can can download Clandestine for PC on Steam.