composing video games

Student Interview: Peter Hont

At ThinkSpace Education, we work hard producing courses that give our students practical knowledge of the industry and techniques that will give them the edge above their competition.

We love to learn more about our students and highlighting their work that we think is especially good. That’s why we interviewed Peter Hont; a Stockholm based game composer who is currently studying an MA in Composing for Video Games at ThinkSpace.

Hi Peter! Thanks for letting us interview you. Let’s get right into it – can you tell us what background you come from?

Peter:  I come from a pretty diverse musical background, having played a number of instruments and styles throughout the years. Ranging from classical cello pieces, playing piano (or whatever was needed) in pop bands during high school to modern choir pieces.

I first started picking up composition at the age of 10 and have since always wanted to explore new styles and methods of reaching out to others through music. I’ve written pop both for the Western and Asian markets the last couple of years, which I’ve enjoyed very much. However, it is truly music for video games that tickles my fancy, which ultimately led me to where I am today. I’ve done some work with game development schools in Sweden and am involved in an indie game developed by the one-man studio Don’t Die In The House.

When and why did you start to think “Wait – I would love to make music for games!”

Peter: At a pretty early age really. I believe I was first captivated by the music in games thanks to the song Dire, Dire Docks from Super Mario 64. However I don’t think it was until a few years later when I had started attempting to write songs myself, and I heard the song Via Purifico from Final Fantasy X  that I felt, “now, this is what I’m supposed to do!”

It’s still early days for you, but how have you found your course so far?

Peter: So far, so good! I’m currently a bit overwhelmed by all the information in the different courses, but I hope to be able to go through all the extra material. There’s a lot of it! The seminars have been great as well. I really like the combination of practical tips from professionals and the abstract ways of thinking about audio communication in games. The fact that the feedback on your assignments come from professionals helps a lot as well. It’s still a bit too early to give some kind of definite answer, but I really like where this is going.

You can hear some very strong inspirations from games, such as Rayman, in your latest submission. What other games and composers inspire you?

Peter:As mentioned earlier, Hamauzu has been my biggest inspiration. However, there are many more that I know have influenced me and probably lots of composers that have affected me subconsciously. Not to be hipster, but to steer clear of no brainers such Kondo, Uematsu, Tanaka etc, I would like to highlight the work of Mari Yamaguchi (U.N. Squadron, The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse), Jun Chikuma (Faxanadu, Bomberman) and Tim Follin (Solstice, Silver Surfer). I believe their work has really affected how I work with counterpoint and how I have always felt that game music is a place for exploring musical ideas. Moreover, I believe that composers such as J.S. Bach, Squarepusher and L.E. Larsson have inspired me in some shape or form, as I have played and/or listened to a lot of their work. Finally, I feel that there are a lot of tidbits and musical ideas from individual tracks and games that have affected how I write music, but there are a few too many for me to list here I believe.

How have you found tackling new technologies like FMOD?

Peter: I love it! Having some experience with Wwise and a lot of DAW experience beforehand has definitely been useful in my case, as FMOD seems to be a combination of the two in my opinion. In fact, it got confusing the first time as I assumed certain functionalities would behave as I had come to learn from other systems, but instead I found that FMOD does things in its own way. I feel that the pacing of the FMOD course suits me, and that I will have sufficient knowledge as I graduate. Hopefully I will have expanded my knowledge to the extent that I’m able to produce a bit more advanced procedural music than I am currently able to. Finding the perfect balance between reactive automation and composition is the foundation that drives me as a video game composer. I believe that there’s a lot to be invented in terms of musical concepts and best practices, and I will hopefully be able to bring new ideas of creating innovative ways of communicating with the player through audio after graduating.

What are you most looking forward to do on the course?

Peter: I believe the dissertation might be the big one for me. Spending that amount of time on a specific project will be exhausting and fantastic. Other than that, I’m looking forward to expand my knowledge about the more technical aspects of game audio, learning new middleware, and perhaps getting some advice on C++ programming during the middleware course.

Thanks Peter for sharing! Check out his latest piece:

Are you interested in studying video game music and audio with ThinkSpace? Our post graduate game audio courses like the MFA Game Music and Audio,  MA Composing for Video Games and MA Sound Design for Video Games are all taught by experienced professionals who are at the top of their game. If you have any questions, get in touch and a member of the ThinkSpace team will get in contact as soon as possible.

About the Author

Matt Lightbound

Matt is at the helm of all the things video game related. He's worked in the industry as a sound designer, composer, audio editor and voice casting/directing.

If you enjoyed this, why not check out MFA Game Music and Audio?

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