PSXE Exclusive Interview: Matt & Kim
PSXE: Are you gamers yourselves and if so, what games do you like to play?
"Well, gaming gets put into certain categories; there are your intense gamers and then you have the casual gamers, like Wii gaming. That's like what we're into because we like lighthearted and fun stuff. But I grew up skateboarding and BMXing so I'm also really into those kinds of games, too. I remember the first time I played a Tony Hawk game and I was thinking, 'this is what I wanted as a kid!'
I've tried the Guitar Hero and Rock Band; we were at MTV and they had it [Rock Band] set up in the conference room and I was complaining they didn't have a keyboard in the game. And I know it's not really a rock and roll instrument - I know because I've ruined some by spilling food and stuff on them - but I'm trying to bring the keyboard into rock. In Guitar Hero, I've been quite the loser; people would just shred me."
PSXE: Do you see music becoming more of a driving force in games in the future?
"Well, I know I've played Grand Theft Auto and you get these songs you hear all the time when you play. And I guess the selection is growing but you hear the same songs many, many times, so you can't just put a mediocre song into that position. It has to be a song people will want to listen to again and again; it has to be something people are going to enjoy. It's just such a mood-setter like in film because the right song can set the right tone and everything. With video games, being inside of them is an even greater experience so it's even more important to find the right song that fits the game perfectly.
When we were at EA, the amount of tracks they were running for just one gunshot in the game was amazing; they actually went out and sampled like 27 different gunshots from different places in like the city and desert. This is the kind of stuff they add to make the experience feel whole. [Music] has been around for a long time and it has always been so important in entertainment, and with video games being the way they are, it's even more important. Now it has the supervision of real music people lining up like hundreds of songs for a game, then picking it apart and finding the appropriate ones."
PSXE: What are people's reactions when you tell them you'll be contributing music to video games?
"The doors are just opening into this right now so it's not much of a reality to us yet, but it's something new to a lot of musical acts. If they don't know video games and where they're at in the market, and the whole lifestyle and everything, they won't understand. I think initially some of my friends will be like, 'what?' They're trying to picture Super Mario with Matt & Kim and they're not getting that. But in the physical way, the income these games make is incredible; you can't deny it because it's so substantial.
There's some life to our music and all real music. It's not just having the music made in a studio, and when we were at the EA office, we saw the amount of work that goes into producing the whole experience. It's not just a coincidence that so many people would like a game like that because they're [the developers] are putting so much effort into it. Just seeing what they were doing in the audio and editing process and all of that...it makes all the difference."
We'd like to thank the duo of Matt & Kim for taking the time to answer our questions, and if you're wondering what game it was that they saw at EA (that military-based game), well...we aren't going to venture a guess, but we're sure you will. Look for Matt & Kim's music to appear in more than a few EA titles this year, although the publisher hasn't revealed the specific names of the games in question. For our part, we always have fun talking about the growing role of music in video games, and this quirky tandem could add some definite flair and original panache to just about any game. Big-budget game productions also includes new advances in the realm of music and sound, which is why EA Artwerk is scanning about, checking out the up-and-coming talent.
3/27/2009 Ben Dutka