In music’s new frontier, one genre stands as what might become the hottest (and quite possibly only) way to make a living as a creator: video games. Despite Germany’s Chris Wirsig’s classical training, he’s been able to carve out a nice piece of the artistic pie for himself as the composer of music and sound effects for projects like “Alien Tribe 2,” a top-10 iPad game. Now, he’s brought his talent creating ambient and electronic sounds to the soundtrack world for the short mystery film, 20 Matches.
We just had to know more about Wirsig’s diverse career and how he got into composing for video games and film. He took a second out of his insanely busy schedule and indulged us.
1. What’s your favorite thing about creating? What inspires you?
I really like the whole of the creative process – from the writing of a
song, arranging it, to mixing, and finishing the production. It all adds up to
the creation of atmosphere and emotion in a musical piece. And I don’t think
too much about genres or if something can be done. If it sounds good and
helps the atmosphere of a song, it is good. Inspiration comes from a lot of
sources – from books and movies to real life biographies or incidents. And
sometimes the best inspiration comes from just playing around with new
2. You’re classically trained. How did you make the leap to electronic music?
I started listening to electronic music quite early. I was fascinated by the
possibility to create new sounds that no one has heard before and that you
can create every possible instrument with it, more or less accurate.
Electronic music – from instrumental artists like Tangerine Dream or
Jean-Michel Jarre to bands like Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode – covers
such a wide range and can be so emotional, yet sometimes still mechanical. I
liked the idea of music being automated but still having emotions and deep
3. How does writing music for a film differ from writing music for a video game or for an album?
Film and game are pretty close: You get an inspiration from somebody else
and have to support a certain scene or game level with your music, without
distracting the viewer/gamer. So you have a given emotion that you need to
mirror with the music. Although it shouldn’t be too obvious. I mean, if
somebody is drinking a coffee in a scene, and in the music you’re singing
about drinking a coffee, that’s usually not what anybody would want.
With an album, there’s more freedom. You don’t have to support anything else,
it’s standing on its own and you more easily can break some rules.
4. Do you have any other commercial (album, etc.) releases in the works?
I’m currently working on an instrumental album called The 13 Crystal
Skulls that will be released on May 13. The songs are inspired by the
legend of the Crystal Skulls that are widely used in pop culture (i.e., the
last Indiana Jones movie), and the music is dark and atmospheric with some
experiments. Maybe a bit like Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts album.
5. What’s your favorite video game or soundtrack?
That’s hard to say because that changes a lot. But I’ll always like all the
Vangelis soundtracks, “Watchmen” by Tyler Bates, everything from John
Williams and Hans Zimmer, “Gravity” by Steven Price, “Breaking Bad” by Dave
Porter… oh, the list could go on!
Take a listen to the 20 Matches soundtrack!