We went to Harmonix to meet the sound design team to see how they wound up working on Rock Band 3.
A few weeks ago we flew to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to visit Harmonix to get an inside look at the new character creator in Rock Band 3, as well as spend some time with Dance Central (look for our feature on that next week!). While we were there, we met with a handful of sound designers, who are all musicians, and asked them how they got into the video game industry. Harmonix is full of talented musicians and composers who play in bands on their own time, so we caught up with members of the sound design team--Pete Maguire, Chris Wilson, Bill Whitney, and Jeff Allen--to get their story. Below are quick blurbs of what they provided to introduce themselves.
Bill Whitney is a composer/sound designer at Harmonix. Before joining the Harmonix fold, however, he earned a degree in music education and jazz studies from James Madison University and then taught high school band for several years. When he's not working, he can generally be found working, as he also plays bass professionally and is a multi-instrumentalist with Boston-based bands Milquetoast & Co. and Of Last Resort.
Chris Wilson is a composer/sound designer and the pro guitar lead at Harmonix. He managed to wrangle two music performance degrees in college, with emphases in music business and sound recording technology. When not enjoying a nice tumbler of bourbon or keeping his three free-range rabbits out of trouble, he's hard at work on side projects and freelance gigs.
Pete Maguire is a senior sound designer at Harmonix. He studied electronic music at a conservatory and actually got a job in his major, which made his parents very happy. He has a fondness for fish and marine life (especially sharks) and can often be seen searching for the elusive jaguar shark. He also plays synths in Death of the Cool as well as composes his own blips and beeps as inter:sect (www.inter-sect.net).
Jeff Allen works as a senior sound designer at Harmonix. He studied Technology in Music and Related Arts at Oberlin Conservatory and enjoys all kinds of audio-squashing and synthesizer stretching. When feeling analog, Jeff also enjoys whacking the buckets for all kinds of Boston bands, especially if they play fast and loud.
Sound Byte is GameSpot's game music blog, which covers every aspect of music in games, including interviews with top game music composers and discussions of new and classic game soundtracks. The blog is usually updated on Fridays, but things might happen midweek too. Check back next week for a special feature on Dance Central! Have a question or suggestion? Leave us a comment below. For a list of previous Sound Byte features, click here.
no money for keyboards, saving to pick up an e-drum set thats compatible with midi and the game instead :)
To all the kids out there, composing music for games is quite a profitable job, if you are good and lucky enough to get in the business.
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