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Dutch drum & bass trio on forthcoming soundtrack project

Dutch drum & bass trio Noisia have created the soundtrack for forthcoming gothic beat-em-up video game DmC: Devil May Cry.

Although they are better known for crafting screw-face basslines and intricate drum patterns for club kids the Noisia sound has always had a distinct soundtracking quality. DJ Mag met with the Nik, Martjin and Thijs from Noisia to find out about the project.

How did you go about producing the soundtrack?

We got a lot of material sent to us from the game company, including full playthroughs, videos, moodboards etcetera. We worked closely with Ninja Theory's [the developer's] audio director Tom Colvin who instructed us pretty much every day on what part/song/level to focus on.

We would upload whatever we'd made to our soundcloud and he'd be able to get us quick feedback. It took us about 2/3 weeks to get into the vibe of the project and get things right, from there on out it was flowing!

Did the methods differ from your usual productions style? Did you approach things differently?

Some of the music in the game is very ambient, for example when you're walking around in a level and nothing specific is happening. These are musically very sparse, but we still had to convey a sense of tension and urgency most of the time. They were very fun to make because there was much more space for sound design and no worrying about whether it would work in a club! 

There were also musical themes representing certain characters/moods/events, these were more on-spec and musically specific, and this was quite challenging in some cases. Some took up to about 10 different sketches before we were happy with them.

So can we expect any of the classic Noisia sounds coming across through the game?

Yes, although there isn’t an awful lot of d&b in the soundtrack. This is something we were instructed not to do, but we did covertly do a lot of ambiences and some set pieces at 172 bpm just because there's nothing like that tempo to give a sense of pace.

In terms of sonics the whole thing is quite Noisia-sounding, although I’d say only the dark/moody/evil side of our stuff. The boss fights are the closest to a Noisia track. They are full on and in your face, and contain some sort of dancefloor sensibility (although their arrangements are interactive and therefore not typical dancefloor stuff)

Did you have the opportunity to play the game before starting to write the soundtrack? 

No, not before, but while we were working on it we did visit and have a play. I think it's very important to do that, immerse yourself in the experience and hopefully everyone will enjoy the music and turn it up!

How did the hook up with Capcom come about?

Through Ninja Theory. I think it was a certain Matt who works in their audio department who sent me [Nik] a message on Facebook ages ago about a new project and him being excited about pitching it to us.

A lot of emails were sent back and forth over the next months, and eventually we set up a meeting while we were in London. We really liked the team and the vibe of the project and were eager to jump in!

Is this to be a one-off project or do you plan to continue working on soundtracks?

We'd love to do more of them, if the project is cool and we feel like we can contribute something unique, yes, absolutely.

What else do you have coming up?

We're finishing up our album project with the Foreign Beggars, we just finished an EP for Dutch rapper Kraantje Pappie (as Nightwatch, our production outfit), our new studios are on the verge of being finished, and we'll be putting out an amazing new album by The Upbeats which is also almost done.

We're also putting out the DmC soundtrack ourselves and getting new Vision releases ready – very busy times ahead!