Interview: Former Celtic Frost Guitarist Curt Victor Bryant on doing the music for Slain!
As anyone who's ever played a game where you hack and slash monsters into bloody chunks will tell you, most developers try to compliment this gory goodness with heavy metal…and fail miserably. Mostly because instead of hiring real musicians, they try to fake it by getting some schmuck who just cranks up the guitars and hopes for the best.
Thankfully, the good people at Wolf Brew Games didn't do that for their upcoming old school-ish slice & dice arcade game Slain! Instead, they hired former Celtic Frost guitarist and bass player Curt Victor Bryant to shred them up some music for their Ghosts and Goblins-, Altered Beast-, Golden Axe-esque game. Which, as you'll see from the following interview with Bryant, was definitely a metal move.
GameCrate: To start, how did you land this gig? Did the Wolf Brew guys track you down, did you contribute to their Kickstarter and someone recognized your name, what?
Curt Victor Bryant: It was brought to my attention by a good friend who owns Forever Humble PDX . He thought that Slain! would be right up my alley and that I would be a great fit. And once I was presented the concept and the trial game, I was completely enthralled by its adventure. At that point, all that I needed to know was who the people were in Wolf Brew. Let me tell you, not only are they super cool dudes, but the love and knowledge they have for metal music made it a no brainer for me to sign on.
GC: Is that why you wanted to do the music for Slain!?
CVB: Have you seen the game? It has demons, skulls, blood, fire; it's an epic tie your mother down badass freaking game. And I'm a more ultra high definition 10K kind of guy, but I was infatuated by the design and the retro environment. I love the fluidity and the dance between color schemes that they're using.
GC: What kind of guidelines did the Wolf Brew crew give you in terms of what they wanted?
CVB: Absolutely no guidelines. I asked them if there was something specific they were looking for, only to be told that I had carte blanche. I immersed myself into the game and subsequently I presented them the first two songs. Metal signs were thrown in the air and the head banging started immediately thereafter.
Though we did make one very important promise to each other: No pussyfooting around. We would be brutally honest with each other. If a song or theme would not fit or was disliked, then I would be told about it immediately.
GC: Do you think it would've made you job easier if they had given you some guidelines?
CVB: Yes. No. I don't know. Of course, it's always easier to be told what to do. But what do you get out of it? Another person's view? Another person's opinion? Who wants that? Definitely not me nor the guys at Wolf Brew. This is one of the things that is so wrong in this world these days. Too many individuals are afraid to fail or even to give something new or unusual a try. Never be afraid to fail and never let anyone make you feel afraid. Grab life by the balls. Be a fucking leader not a follower.
GC: Beefcake! BEEFCAKE! Ahem, sorry. Now, when you were in Celtic Frost, you originally played guitar and bass. But I assume the music for Slain! isn't just bunch of bass and guitar solos, right?
CVB: Right. I wanted to give Slain! a mixture of riffs and rhythms that mesh and melt so organically that you won't know if you're hearing the sound of the sword slashing a demon's throat or the sword's conducting a symphony from the abyss like a baton.
GC: Did you hire other musicians to help out?
CVB: No, I did it all by myself. I would have loved to collaborate with other musicians, but time and schedules did not allow for it this time around. However, I will be recording some of the tracks featured in Slain! as full songs for special edition releases. I will be teaming up with a bunch of kick ass musician that just by chance happen to be my friends and fellow band members in my new band Bastard City.
GC: Any idea when that might be out?
CVB: Who knows. There even might be some live performances. We'll see. All we know is that we want to make it special for everyone.
GC: How much music did you end up writing for Slain! and how much of it got used?
CVB: Hmmm. Ask me that again in a couple of months. I don't remember. I am still to engulfed in it.
Definitely some of the stuff I wrote was crap and was slained — wink, wink — right away.
I don't think it was that much though. I also refused to over think the songs and be too self-critical this time. When I composed the songs, I tried to become the sword and imagined what I would be hearing in battle.
GC: So, are you into video games?
CVB: Have you ever heard that story of the kid who snuck into an arcade because he was too young to be there to play the video games? Well, that kid is me. As a kid, I lived in Zurich, Switzerland, where the legal age to enter an arcade is 18. Needless to say, I was thrown out of countless arcades a teenager. Space shooters and gory killing games were my fixation.
These days, I still love slashing and blowing up things, but because of my passion for aviation, I also love flying games. It's kind of sad and astonishing to me that there haven't been any good realistic and thought-out flight simulators with big airliners for the PS4, Xbox, etc., these days.
GC: If the opportunity arose, what game series would you most like to write music for?
CVB: Of course it would be great to write songs for Halo, Fallout, or Grand Theft Auto, and so on, and I would love to continue the saga and adventure with Slain! 2 and Slain! 3. But I really look forward to being part of some of the new video games that are being designed as we speak. Or working with a kid who gets inspired by reading this interview and GameCrate and decides to make games and comes up with a mind blowing idea.
For example, a good friend of mine has a thirteen year old son who creates and programs space shooters; his latest Galagan's Island. Imagine what he will come up with in five years from now. He's thirteen. I got thrown out arcades when I was thirteen and he's creating them. That's what's so motivating. It's exciting to know fresh blood is being pumped into this industry. We need more good stuff that makes our brain go into overdrive.
Slain! will be out March 24 on PC via Steam, and on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and WiiU soon after.