Power Glove Interview: Reviving the 80s (July 2013)
Interview Subject: Power Glove
Interviewer: Michael Naumenko
Editor: Michael Naumenko, Simon Elchlepp
Coordination: Michael Naumenko
Michael: Ok, the most important question first, who is better: Godzilla or Stallone?
Power Glove: Stallone. He has the bigger chin.
Michael: So, Power Glove... Where does the name come from? Is it related to that weird controller they released for the NES, and what do you have in common with it?
Power Glove: The Power Glove is a bit of legendary gaming history. It's also a glove. With power.
Michael: Looking at your website, it seems you're stuck in the 80s. Didn't modern pop culture make it to Australia or do you just find that era pretty cool?
Power Glove: True. We are stuck. Though it's a good kind of stuck as we get to play in tape saturated sounds and arpeggios which we love. We'd end up using a lot of synth anyway, we just seem to write music that uses those sounds.
Michael: We don't know much about you - no names, no birth dates... Are you sure you guys even exist? Prove that you are not members of a superior alien race from the future!
Power Glove: We technically don't exist. We were sent back from the future year of 2043 and have not been born yet.
Michael: What equipment do you use to create those lovely synth sounds - real analog devices or modern digital hard- and software?
Power Glove: We have a few synths from decades past that we use. Some are so beat up now that they are starting to fail unfortunately. Our favourite go-to synths are the Digital FM and sample synths of the early 90's, SY Series, Korg M1 etc. We'd collect more, but don't have the space.
Michael: Another important question: Betacam or VHS, and why?
Power Glove: VHS. It had the better logo.
Michael: Obviously you were inspired by MANY films while writing the score for Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Could you name some for our readers to get the full Blood Dragon experience? Also, our VHS recorders need some fresh tapes...
Power Glove: We knew straight away we needed to homage Brad Fiedel, with some obvious Terminator references, simply due to the fact you're playing Michael Biehn as a cyborg. Also the big guns like John Carpenter, David Michael Frank, Vangelis and Hertzog were a must, though there are so many films and soundtracks we listen to, it's hard to list them all. The Hard to Kill soundtrack is genius. Michel Rubini's Nemesis score was a big influence as well. With Blood Dragon being set on an island, we watched and listened to anything that had machine guns set in tropical locations… Miami Vice, Commando, Cyborg Cop, Predator.
Michael: How much creative freedom were you given on this game?
Power Glove: Luckily we were left to run free and try different things. That said, we all had our sights set on the same thing, the same kind of testosterone fuelled VHS feel, so it was pretty easy to stay on track. The team at Ubisoft would often play our ideas during the development phase of the game to help establish the world they were creating.
Michael: Easiest question of this interview: what is your favorite movie?
Power Glove: It's impossible to have a favourite movie. This is the hardest question. We'd say Terminator is pretty much a perfect film. Exterminator 2 is up there. Black Rain is classic.
Michael: What's your composing process like? In other words, describe a day in your music studio.
Power Glove: We throw a heap of ideas down really quickly and then bounce them to and fro. It's the songwriting, not the ideas, that takes us the biggest amount of time. It's very easy to get lost and bored in your own work, we can never repeat the same bar twice, and we change sounds a thousand times before we get a piece anywhere close to finished. Once we release a track, we feel nothing but exhaustion and regret.
Michael: You composed quite an amount of music for Blood Dragon. How much time did you spent on writing the soundtrack? Were there any difficult moments while you worked on the score?
Power Glove: Hard to say, it was an on-and-off process that went on for around six months. We really loved scoring the cutscenes - it gave us a break from traditional songwriting and allowed us to hone in on the themes and emotion of the story. In many ways we treated the soundtrack as if it was a real deal serious film from that era, rather than a tongue-in-cheek homage. The guys back then took it seriously, so did we.
Michael: What materials (concept art, script, working demo) did you receive while composing the music?
Power Glove: We received a script early on, and then over time were given videos of really rough gameplay and cutscenes. Pretty fascinating to see how it all came together.
Michael: Have you completed Blood Dragon?
Power Glove: Yes! Not long ago. We couldn't stop laughing at the last mission. Dean Evans [Creative Director on Blood Dragon] and the Ubisoft guys nailed it. We couldn't believe for how long the credits rolled. Maybe this was another joke of the game.
Michael: What is your favorite VHS tape brand? You know, here in cold Russia we only had one brand in those days - Svema - and their quality was horrible...
Power Glove: Whatever had the better cover. The more rainbows and high-tech holographic foil the better. TDK had some killers, with dolphins and lasers on the front.
Michael: Who are your favourite bands and what are you listening to at the moment?
Power Glove: Eno, Yes, Vollenweinder, Vangelis… all those prog synth guys. Lately been listening to a weird mix… a lot of Nihls Fram, Miles Whittaker. Phaseone's new album is nice.
Michael: We're thinking you've got a lot of classic game consoles at home - could you name one? Would you call yourselves hardcore gamers?
Power Glove: We still have an original Game Boy up and running. And a Sega Mega Drive/Genesis with Columns permanently jammed in. Hardcore? Depends. We don't really play online games, or have much time outside of songwriting. It's all about the classics and guys who are trying new things. Journey was incredible.
Michael: Is there a possibility to see you working on a game again?
Power Glove: We really hope so. Dean Evans has created a genius universe with Blood Dragon that'd we'd love to keep playing in. It's an honour to be part of it. It'd also be great to get our hands dirty with something more down the line as well, something straight and serious in tone. Perhaps a cyberpunk themed game.
Michael: Tell us about your current and future projects!
Power Glove: Working hard on getting our 2nd EP out there. Not long now. Just a matter of polish.
Michael: What advice can you give to aspiring composers?
Power Glove: Write music that you can't find anywhere else and that you really want to hear.
Michael: Imagine you are in Russia, with its neverending wind and snow. Giant bears are patrolling the streets, while Russian men and women stay at home with a bottle of pure vodka in one hand and a Kalashnikov machine gun in the other. The only enjoyment for them are their old ancestors' TVs and VHS tapes... And your music, which makes their hearts beat faster. Imagine you could say something to every man and woman in Russia. What would your message be?
Power Glove: All your strength, all your power, all your love. Everything you've got. Right now!
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon is available at iTunes, Amazon and other digital shops. It can also be purchased as a physical release - the German version of the game comes with a soundtrack CD.