[BLOG #35] Thank You for the Music…

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[BLOG #35] Thank You for the Music…

Post by nobby »

Way back around 2010/11, after the announcement that Stainless had got the IP rights to Carmageddon and were planning a new game in the series, we began to get enthusiastic enquiries from musicians and bands who had happy memories of Carma, and were offering us their music to use.

The original game had featured a playlist comprised of a number of remixed tracks from heavy industrial band Fear Factory (and we made sure we retained the rights to “Zero Signal”, which is very much the theme track from the original game). The other half of the music in the game’s soundtrack were by an artist called Lee Groves, and were electronic tracks.

Among the offers that came in to us once C:R was announced, there were two that particularly drew our attention. One was an artist called Morgue, who sent us links to the “Carmageddon mixes” he’d done of some of his tracks. His Dubstep style was characterized by some seriously fucked up sampling of various snippets of movie/TV speech, and it really had the sort of anarchic vibe that seemed a perfect match with Carmageddon (particularly as it really felt like an update to the electronic tracks from the original game). The other musicians that caught my eye and ear were an outfit from Sydney, Australia, and to be honest it was their band name that I noticed first… Maximum Sexy Pigeon. Well, that and the name of the guy enthusiastically courting my ear – Yok Rzeznic. Yok and band partner Ad Millennium also grabbed me immediately with their hard, driving Industrial sound. As far as I was concerned, they were putting out the perfect latter-day evolution from the original game’s Fear Factory tracks.

However, things didn’t settle into place immediately. Internally, we were debating how important it was to include music in the game, given how subjective it is, and how most players will generally want to listen to their own preferred genres while they’re playing. And if we were going to have music – whether it should be big name, licensed stuff that had more marketing clout. This debate went on, and on… Probably as much due to Stainless Directors’ preferred music taste as any other reason. Bands’ publishers were approached and their eye-watering fees discussed. Still we had no conclusion. It took until getting towards the end of last year for a final, final decision to be made. We agreed that the best music fit for our game, a self-published indie developed title, would be to go with the artists who themselves were dedicated fans of the game, and who we could also help to promote as budding new talent in the music world.

The artists very kindly agreed to supply remixed tracks for us with vocals and samples removed, as instrumental tracks work much better as dedicated background music in the game. The collaboration has led to us having a richly varied playlist of 26 tracks from Morgue and Maximum Sexy Pigeon (plus Fear Factory’s Zero Signal, for 27 in total), which help to make the game feel even more “Carmageddon-Like”. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them again hugely for their contribution to the game – it’s an intrinsic part of the final product.

I asked the artists to send me a bio that would introduce them to the Carma community and beyond, and this is what they had to say… Take it away guys!
Maximum Sexy Pigeon

Maximum Sexy Pigeon is the cumulative freakshow baby of genetically unrelated individuals A.D (or ADD, depending on the day), a technical wizard who enjoys the worst the internet has to offer and liberally hating pretty much everyone, and Yok, a largely untalented multi-instrumentalist who looks like a hobo in a fresh metal shirt. Having met at the local Technical College (University Of The Dole) while studying music, it wasn't long before common musical influences fruited an inevitable collaboration.

"Day to day I would turn up with one of my shithouse bass guitars slung over my shoulder and our eyes would meet" remembers Yok fondly, "He would be standing there with this casual stoop and clothes far too large, massive headphones around his neck and some manner of handheld production gadgetry in his hand and always, always, a lovingly rolled cigarette hanging from his bottom lip. We both wore the same band upon our shirts one day and we knew it was a sign, I asked him on our first date that very afternoon in the warm sun of the common area. It was magical."

Within a short amount of time, Yok produced some abortive sounding demos with a 7 string guitar borrowed from Ad, a digital camera and little to no mixing knowledge. These early demos would gradually be caressed into a listenable quality by Ad himself and with time, a lot of reworking, patience and alcohol, would become the basis of MSP's first EP "Unfit For Human Consumption".

"The first track we ever worked on together was called "Tunguska" and we had the opportunity to donate it to a compilation benefiting the victims of the 2010/11 floods in Brisbane, Queensland. It won favourable reviews, so when we re-recorded it for the EP, naturally we changed it enough to be an almost entirely different song! People still like the original version better, go figure."

Trial and error is the way of the learning to become a musical act, something that never really goes away.

"We started this whole thing off on a subversive note anyway, having decided that the sound we were going for was currently invalid on the totem of popularity and many of the bands who provided the vanguard for the movement in the early 90's are now nowhere to be seen or attract little to no attention or have simply sold out to the nearest convenient dollar. From the start we have aimed low, it's a very comfortable place to be, there's no expectation and anything positive is a golden win, I don't know why more people don't do this!"

Their opinions on music and aspiration aside, it is obvious that the main forces that go into their music are mostly negative, being things like hatred, fear, anger, sporadic hostility towards reality, despair in the future of man and the futility of our very existence that shakes one to the very core in the knowledge that we're a cancer that doesn't deserve the life and power we have and would be better of wiped out of existence but well in the knowledge that the selfishness of the species guarantees that we will take everything with us in one shocking act of firey brutality... Or something of the sort, but mostly just the bitter inconveniences that a white, middle class male could ever hope to whinge about in some sort of angst driven lack of worldly perspective.

Since the positive (yet limited) response of their self-produced debut, the pair have been sharing writing responsibilities which has produced a far more intense and in-depth sound than the early days and will be the main focus of their desperately awaited follow up due out early this year.

"It's called 'Refinery', it's about shit."

"The shit of life, the shit we have to swallow day to day, the shit we have to wade through in our lives to get where we need to go, the shit certain people stink of but are unaware of it, as well as our own shit, and the steamer that is MSP as a whole, we have refined it, our sound, our shit, no you cannot polish a turd, this is true, but you can roll it in glitter!"

When asked about their future and possible outcome of having the esteemed honor of providing music for rebooted classic computer game "Carmageddon", known for its non-controversial take on driver safety, pedestrian awareness and respect of traffic authority, they babbled excitedly about their own predictions:

"We can't wait to sell out, that's for sure! Surely in no time we'll have wealthy producer types knocking down the door of our cardboard box eager to shove fat, wax stamped contracts under our noses. The notion of having sunshine blown up my arse by lowlife brown-nosers and only actually earning about 20% of the money accrued by my own thinly sliced excuse for artistic merit is absolutely fucking tantalizing! One absolutely cannot wait to be drugged up, lied to, pushed around, exploited, wrung out and left for dead! It's the real American dream right there, we're taking these songs to the talent shows, melt Simon Cowell’s face and be moulded into something completely beyond recognition for a quick buck. I want to feature on the albums of rap artists who cannot hold their own and collaborate with forgotten rock royalty like Phil Collins and have all the kids pat ME on the back for giving HIM a chance! I want to drink tap water from $50 bottles bought with a platinum credit card! I want to regurgitate the finest foods on minimum wage hotel servants and then berate them for it! Frankly, I just want to be an absolute prick to everyone and see no consequence, so if this all falls apart in the end, I will be going into politics..."

You can find MSP online, if you ask them nicely they will send you a copy of their debut EP.

"Morgue resides in the depths of Bristol in the south west of England, his base of operations. Since being obsessed with music from an extremely early age, he discovered computer based music production in his early teens. Since hardcore heavy metal played a large part of his forming years, the music he has made over the years since has usually had a heavy metal edge to it. After DJing around most of the clubs in Bristol with the heavy-hitting Tremor Soundsystem, he decided to take it upon himself to make music directly influenced by the news of the impending arrival of Carmageddon Reincarnation – the modern day remake of his favourite ever videogame.

His musical taste often reflects the despicable state of the modern world and general displeasure with contemporary society. In this spirit he prefers making music on his own and always has, despite attempts at being in bands over the years. After his first professional standard album "Refined" which was designed to be more minimal and vocal, he realised that his music needed an energetic kick up the arse and a bit more feeling to it. Lesson learned: Vocalists are more hassle than they are worth. Following this came "Revived", which as the title implies, is Morgue adding some life (or death) to his sound and ditching the vocalists. Some of these tracks were edited for use in C:R, having the vocal samples removed due to copyright issues. All the originals can be found at www.soundcloud.com/morgue if you want to hear the samples which drove the tracks initially.

After recently forging yet another new sound, which is much more dark, sludgy and truer to his roots, his future lies in production for films and videogames. After personal issues which have enlightened him to how psychologically abusive some people can be, he has lost the upbeat/trendy edge to his creativity and now will only make music that reflects actual emotion - something that has been lacking from his music in the past.

His influences are many and varied: from Slipknot to Bjork, The Prodigy to Black Sabbath, The Specials to Ministry. Carmageddon in itself was a subliminal influence not only to his music, but also his sense of humour – and as time has gone on, minus the skull tattoos, he does actually look a bit like Max. The collection of music he has made spans well over a decade, the most notable of which is 'The Prodigy Remixes Vol 1' and like 95% of his music is very aggressive yet club oriented. His dancefloor destroying bass music has been referred to as 'Terrifying', 'Brutal', 'Sick and twisted', 'Like faulty robots having an argument' and will therefore make gameplay lead heavily toward the destruction of opponents/pedestrians, but will equally make you want to fly through all the check points at top speed. The choice is yours!"

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