1. Tell us about your journey as a composer.
My first musical memories were of a record player and a stack of 45s, mostly of marches. After that I listened to my parents’ collection of musicals, show toons, movie scores, classical, gospel quartets and more. Later I discovered the Blues, Janis Joplin, and blues-based rock. I became more exposed to classical music in College. Then I got the world’s worst bass guitar, bought books and learned to play. After that I built a bass amp from a kit and got into bands, and was incrementally influenced by John Mayall, Cream, ELP, Yes, Genesis, Chicago, Rush and others until I gave up on bands and music until I could do it all myself. Then the MIDI revolution came along, which meant I could do it all myself. I was an engineer at the time, so I built a midi interface and wrote my own midi DAW and midi editor and recorded a solo album. Around 2000, computers began to be powerful enough to support virtual orchestration, which I began to study. I built my computers and my studio and bought DAW software (Cakewalk/Sonar) that was far more powerful than the stuff I wrote. I then became a full-time composer and did projects that progressively became larger and more complex. So, just the usual journey, like so many others.
2. What are your musical influences?
As you can see from the above, I can’t talk about my journey as a composer without talking about my musical influences. There were big influences like those listed above, but there were plenty of other influences as well. In college, I would go to the library listening booths and listen to obscure primitive electronic music as well as classical music. As a kid, my parents sent me off to church-camp, and the highlights were camping, campfire songs and singing in a large choir. I went to lots of concerts of various genres, but the pivotal one was seeing ELP live and being exposed to the mighty MOOG synthesizer, which was almost a religious experience. That set my direction for music.
3. Your score for Aliens: Dark Descent has received a lot of acclaim for staying true to the franchise. What in your opinion makes the definitive “sound” of the Alien universe?
Just like John Williams set the musical language for the Star Wars franchise, Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner and Elliot Goldenthall set the musical language of the Alien franchise. Especially Goldsmith. So, my job for Aliens: Dark Descent was to learn that musical language and apply those principles to my music. Think of the Alien musical language as a dialect I wanted the music to speak. If I was successful, the music would be unmistakably Alien music. Emotionally, it should feel like Alien music. Through the years I often analyzed the Alien scores, many times because clients reference the Alien scores for their own games. So, to answer the question, the definitive “sound” of the Alien universe is really the proper execution of the musical language of the Alien franchise.
4. Tell us what you enjoyed the most about working on Aliens: Dark Descent.
Having been a huge fan of the Alien franchise from the very beginning, it was so much fun to immerse myself into the Alien universe and let the music take me on this journey, which I have prepared so long for indirectly. To actually be doing Alien music is a real thrill.
5. Your music discography has also been a part of the Warhammer series for many years. What is the difference between writing for the Warhammer animated series versus the Warhammer games?
Working on the animated series was fun because I love writing to picture, and the video and story pretty much tell you what to do musically. Everything is fairly fixed and spotted, so everything flows from point A to point B and onward. Video games are asynchronous, and the music is designed to cover a lot of ground and be flexible. Most of the music is situational to cover various moods and gameplay events. Many times, you have to write an hours’ worth of music to cover a 40-hour game. So, game music has to be written to be flexible. However, the overriding concern in all cases is to make Warhammer music sound like Warhammer!
Aliens: Dark Descent, the strategic, real-time squad-based tactical action game, leads you through the spine-tingling journey in an authentic Alien storyline. Embrace the chilling void of space. The Original Video Game soundtrack is OUT NOW, featuring mesmerizing music by Doyle W. Donehoo.
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/album/Title/1712533818?ls=1&app=music&at=1010lKkZ
Amazon Music: http://music.amazon.com/albums/B0CLG6CVCP
YouTube Music: https://music.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_l6dVm69hr_jMesrh_9mTVq4aZSiU6SHBk
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