The Funcom team have published an interview with the composer of the excellent music in Age of Conan. The overall impression as far as I've gathered is that the music in Age of Conan is extremely well made and it fits perfectly with the world of Hyboria.
Do you enjoy the music in Age of Conan? Does it fit the areas you explore and hunt in? Share your experience!
To celebrate the release of the Age of Conan soundtrack (now available on iTunes), we are pleased to present this interview with our composer, Knut Avenstroup Haugen, covering the entire process of putting together the soundtrack, his background, and what goes into all of the exciting tracks you hear in the world of Hyboria.
The interview is a lengthy one and gives a lot of insight on how the music was put to life. We all know how important it is with great fitting music in games, movies and not to mention depending on a persons mood. This is something that Knut Haugen have managed to do -- capture the players and make them feel part of the games storyline, making it feel even more in-depth. Yes, feeling part of a storyline actually is part of the music's magic. While some prefer to blast their speakers with death metal or trance, it's likely that most players would prefer the actually produced music for said game. Matter of taste, though.
Check out part of the interview below
What is your name and what do you do for Age of Conan?
My name is Knut Avenstroup Haugen and I create all the music in the game.
What is your musical background? Outside of Age of Conan, where would we have seen your work?
I started out studying the piano. I went to conservatories in Norway and in the Netherlands for a total of six years before I decided that what I really wanted to do was to write music. I studied a little bit of composition and arranging during my piano studies, but I really needed to learn more, so I went on to study composition and musicology for three years at the University of Oslo.
Some Norwegians have heard my music, since I’ve done mainly live performances. I’ve written orchestral music, chamber music and a musical among other things. My last concert was at the Oslo Opera Festival. I was festival composer and they had commissioned a piece for large orchestra, mixed choir and singer. While I was doing Conan I also did a children’s game for another Norwegian developer, but it’s not out yet.
How did you get involved with Funcom and the Age of Conan project?
I got to know Morten Sørlie through a friend of mine. Morten has been a composer for Funcom for many years. He had heard some of the things that I’d done and told me that they were looking for a composer for a new project. He said I should send a demo – which I did of course. I had to compete with a lot of other applicants, but I was lucky and got the job.
What’s the process like for writing music for something like this? Do they just come to you and say “We need cool fight music” or do they say “We need 30 seconds that sound like this”?
I started this project more than 3 years ago. At the time no visuals in the game were finished, so I got all my information from design documents, concept art and the game director. I also read all the Howard stories. After that I sat down with the game director and the audio director to talk about what would be appropriate for the score as a whole. We very quickly agreed upon an overall approach to the game’s music.
When it comes to single pieces, we talk about the basic idea for the piece: Is it ambient music or combat music? Where is it going to be used in the game? What is the feeling we’re after, how long will it need to be etc. After that I start working. When I present the first sketch of the piece, we discuss it and decide whether it is OK, if it needs more work or perhaps a different approach. We have a very similar understanding of what will work and what will not, so most of the time, I only have to do small changes at this point. After that I record the live instruments and mix the track.
Continue reading the whole interview over at the official Age of Conan website.