008 IVGM – Eirik Suhrke, Deathmatch: Spelunky

InsideVGM-150In this episode, I talk with Eirik Suhrke, the composer who wrote the soundtracks for Spelunky, Ridiculous Fishing, Hotline Miami and others. We talk about his song “Deathmatch” from the Spelunky soundtrack.

In my interview with Eirik Suhrke, we cover the following:

  • How he has no formal musical training, and got started playing in rock bands.
  • Eirik used MODPlug Tracker to make most of the Spelunky soundtrack, and then he added acoustic instruments like drums and saxophone in Pro Tools. He recorded the samples from his own synths and from Amiga modules and Super NinEirik Suhrketendo games
  • Eirik described Spelunky. The game was originally published in 2009 with music made by George Buzinkai and Jonathan Perry. Eirik was asked to make music for the remake which came out in 2013. He talked about he was asked to make music as if it was a new game, but how he made an homage to the original music in the Deathmatch track.
  • Deathmatch plays in multiplayer mode where players are trying to kill each other. The matches could be really short or a bit longer. Eirik wrote a longer track (2 minutes 21 seconds) that loops in Deathmatch mode, but doesn’t repeat each time a new match starts.
  • Additionally, the percussion is on a separate audio file so they fade it out between the matches and play it during the matches
  • Deathmatch has a number of different sections. It has an odd meter at the start. Eirik said the tracker is like a spreadsheet with rows and columns, so that there is nothing guiding you into common meters like 4/4.
  • Eirik frequently uses pedal bass like the start of Deathmatch. The song starts with Bb majorish chords over Bb, and at 0:25 changes to B maj7 and B maj9. After a long pedal note, there is a big impact from the bass note change.
  • I then play “Deathmatch” from the Spelunky soundtrack.
  • Eirik recorded his friends playing on the soundtrack, including the drummer from his band Pajjama
  • He said the most influential game he played was Final Fantasy VII (music by Nobuo Uematsu) which made him want to be a game composer.
  • Some of his favorite games of all time are Final Fantasy VII, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Deus Ex, as well as the whole Zelda and Super Mario series. He also likes the Little Nemo: The Dream Master music and game.
  • Eirik is working on a lot of things now: a couple of games, an album with his band Pajjama, an album of his own, and he is working on his own game

You can find Eirik Suhrke on Twitter @strotchy and his website is strotch.net. The Spelunky soundtrack is on Bandcamp.

You can find Spelunky on PC, XBLA and PSN or get more information at spelunkyworld.com.

Is there a game composer you’d like to hear from? Let me know and I will reach out to them for an interview. Email tom@insidevgm.com or tweet at me on Twitter @TomSnively.

You can hear my music at TomSnively.com on the Music page or the Credits page. You can try Match Em and Molecular Music Box by finding the links on tomsnively.com/credits.

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