Mass Effect Music Interview

16 Apr 2012

Mass Effect composers Sascha Dikiciyan and Cris Velasco have been quizzed about the music they created for some of Mass Effect 2's DLC, as well as the entirety of Mass Effect 3, in a lengthy new interview on GameTrailers. A sampling:
GT: You guys work as a team. Talk about how you decided to do that and what those advantages and disadvantages to your workflow are like.

SD: Long story short, a couple years ago I was offered to pitch for a certain game. I was at a point where I just wanted to move out and maybe collaborate with somebody. Just because I thought maybe I’d have more of a shot because the orchestra element became more and more important. People wanted the electronics, but they wanted also orchestra. That’s how I met Cris. We just hit off. Cris is doing the orchestra side. I do all the electronic stuff. I do all the engineering too, the mixing and everything. We both work really well because he knows about electronics as well as I know about orchestra. So even though he’s a lot faster and better than I am with that, we respect each other in what we do. When we started working, the actual pitch that we first started, we actually didn’t get the game. That was kind of a bummer at first, but then we started on Dark Messiah.

CV: We were like, “We didn’t get it. What do we do now?” We just decided, well, we may not have gotten that pitch, but…

SD: Back in that time, (2005, 2004 even) nobody was teaming up. It was a new thing to do. So people were asking, “Why are you guys teaming up? Why not just do it by yourself?” Anyways, the first game that we worked on together was Dark Messiah of Might and Magic for Ubisoft and that was a great experience. From there we ended up just working together on almost every title. [Except,] Cris worked on God of War. I did stuff on my own like Sony’s MAG, this online shooter. I did Tron. Actually, Cris worked on Tron as well, and here we are now with Mass Effect 3.

CV: Yeah, it just really works out. We complement each other’s styles well. For Mass Effect, I’m pretty proud of what we came up with for that. I think our styles played off each other well. It’s almost like these six, seven years of working together kind of led up to that point to collaborate on Mass Effect 3.

SD: I mean, don’t get me wrong, we still have fights. (laughs) Like, “No, I like this line better. No, I like this better.” But at the end we both know by now that it’s just for the cause. So somebody might be frustrated because it’s a creative process and you’re really like, “I love this string line that I wrote,” and I’m like, “Nah, man it doesn’t work. Trust me on that one.” So we have to fight a bit and then vice-versa he will say, “Nah, I don’t think this is going to work” and I’m resisting, but then in the end each person is trying out something differently and it honestly leads to a better track.

So I think our advantage is by working together we have immediate feedback that maybe by yourself you kind of lose that objectivity. Where you’re like, “Oh this is really cool,” or not. Then usually when we submit something or send something to each other, we kind of wait to hear back. And it’s sort of funny when a couple hours go by and I don’t call him back. He calls like, “Dude, is it good or not? Do you like it?” And the other way around too. I will call and be like, “What? Why don’t you tell me?” It’s a fun work relationship. It can be exhausting, but I’ve definitely learned a lot from him, and I hope he, in the process, learns something from me. In the end it just makes for better music in my opinion. That’s what counts.
 
 

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