Short presentation of yourself & what you do at Borealys Games?
I’m a composer. My main instrument is the piano, which I started playing when I was ten years old. I’m also the studio’s sound designer, which means that I’m in charge of creating all the sound effects as well as integrating, mixing and testing all the sound and music in the game. Previously, I was a sound engineer at CBC/Radio-Canada. I also worked for other video game companies, especially indie developers. I’ve also composed music for short films and visual performances.
How do you find your inspiration? What are your influences?
It may sound counterintuitive, but when I’m looking for inspiration for a project, I try to listen to music of completely different genres. For example, when I have to write orchestral music, like I’m doing for Mages of Mystralia, I listen to Rock, Electronic, Jazz music, etc. Emotions can be found in music of all genres, and seeking inspiration from different horizons helps me discover new things and stay creative. Lately, I’ve been listening a lot to the latest Bon Iver album. He’s an incredible artist, and his music is amazing. The latest album from M83 and Radiohead’s “A Moon Shaped Pool” also made a huge impression on me this year. As for video game and film music, I mostly listen to Japanese composers like Joe Hisaishi and Masashi Hamauzu.
When I’m out of inspiration, I try to get out of my comfort zone and experiment with new things in life. I If I stay all day in my basement playing the piano and listening to video game music, I’ll have a hard time coming up with new ideas. Visiting museums, attending concerts, trying out new food, meeting people and just having fun, these things help me a lot to stay creative. I’m also very lucky because my tasks are very varied at work. I can often switch to more technical tasks if I feel like it. Last but not least, my main source of inspiration for MoM is the amazing work of my colleagues at Borealys! We’re lucky to have such talented and creative artists, programmers and designers, they’re all fantastic people that push me to work harder every day.
Why did you choose the medium of video games? What made you love video games?
I feel like video games have always been a medium that allows for a lot of creativity. The player finds himself completely immersed in unique worlds, and often gets to take control of these universes. I’ve always been fascinated by the importance of music to realize this immersion.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always played video games. My parents keep telling me these stories, like how I used to play Mixed-Up Mother Goose when I was only two years old. Personally, my first gaming memories are playing NES classics with my brother, like Duck Hunt, Super Mario Bros. 3 and Blades of Steel. The first game soundtrack that really hooked me was Sonic 3 on the Sega Genesis. I’ve always been fascinated by the rumor that Michael Jackson was involved in the creation of that soundtrack. It’s never been made official, but it would’ve been a pretty big deal back in the days, big popular names like that weren’t associated with video games really often. Oh, and I was also a big fan of Jazz Jackrabbit. The “Holiday Hare” edition had an absolutely rockin’ medley of classic Christmas songs.
What does a day’s work look like for a composer?
It’s never the same! Sometimes, I’m locked in my basement playing piano for twelve hours without any precise goal. Other times it can be very technical, especially when programming virtual instruments or editing and mixing music. It’s impossible to become bored with this kind of work because it allows me to live so many different emotions and experiences. This proved to be particularly true recently as I got to travel to Boston to record 30 musicians playing my songs!
Do you have any other projects outside Borealys Games?
I recently composed the soundtrack to Fat Mask, an indie game developed by two former colleagues at Borealys. It’s an arcade-like multiplayer game, super fun. I also have an alternative-rock band, Faux Fire, with one of my very good friends and fantastic musician and sound engineer, Sébastien Ménard. I also recently finished composing the overture for the Video Game Musical Odyssey, which will be performed on December 9 and 11 this year.
What game(s) are you currently playing?
Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse, a post-apocalyptic JRPG with a great 80s-inspired synthwave soundtrack. I’m also playing 999 on Nintendo DS, it’s a pretty old game but the story is really intriguing.
Movies or TV Series?
A lot of both, but mostly TV series. I just finished watching the second season of Mr. Robot, it was great.
Hardcore or Casual gamer?
Hardcore! I love complicated games that offer big, immersive experiences. But I also play more casual games, like the NHL series. My friends stopped playing that game with me, because they can never win. (Yes, that’s a challenge, Dave.)
Consoles or PC?
Definitely consoles. Especially PS4 and 3DS.
Superheroes or Anime?
Both, but mostly anime lately. I’m currently following Japanese courses at the university, therefore watching anime helps a lot.