Creating Sound: 3x5 Interview with Matt Chaney

Interview with Matt Chaney, Audio Lead at Twisted Pixel Games.

3x5 interview with Matt Chaney by George Hufnagl

[George Hufnagl talks to sound designer and musician Matt Chaney (Chainsaw) in this week's 3x5 interview. Mr Chainsaw is Supreme High Commander of Audiological Endeavors at Twisted Pixel Games. Additional videos are available at the original source,]

Website | Twitter: @_Chainsaw


1) Starting with the word “one” and increasing by increments of one thereafter, list 5 points that describe yourself.

One thing I’ve always wanted to do is work with an orchestra.

Two can be as bad as one, it’s the loneliest number since the number one.

Three years is how long it took us at Twisted Pixel to make 5 games.

Four is the number of guitars I have in my office right now.

And five is the amount of different versions it took to land on the effect we used for Maw’s voice.

2) If you could have a five-finger discount on any piece of software, what would it be?

Kyma. I’ve always wanted to play around with it. Seems like a powerful sound design tool.

3) Describe what the number 5 would sound like if it were in human form.

When I was a kid I learned how to draw a lion’s face starting with the number 5, so I’m gonna guess that it would have a low, growly voice.


1) If you were to replace one of the Beatles, who would it be? Who would you put in his place?

Definitely Paul. I always liked him the least. Especially after he started the Wings stuff. I don’t know who I’d replace him with. Maybe Syd Barret. That woulda been weird.

2) What are your four favorite sound design tools?

1.Toys. Childrens toys. I love working with physical objects and manipulating them to make interesting sounds. Since a lot of our games are whimsical and light hearted, I like to use whimsical source material when creating sounds.

2. Virtual Synthesizers. I fucking love playing around with synths and creating patches for sound effects. Since our games are very “arcadey” I find that I can make liberal use of synths.

3. Field recorders. Going out and recording your own source material is essential for a sound designer. By doing so, you’re able to find and record way more expressive stuff then you get from sound effect banks. Now, I’m not totally knocking banks, they’re necessary, but so is recording your own stuff.

4. Real World Instruments. I use a lot of instruments as sound design source, too. I pick up little things I find here and there and store them for later use. I’ve used my old kalimba quite a bit for creating UI sounds. And during production of The Gunstringer I picked up a singing saw. I haven’t been able to play it “musically” yet, still need more practice, but I can get some crazy sounds out of it. And my most favorite instrument of all time is my theremin. I use the shit outta that thing. It is so incredibly expressive.

3) Finish the countdown: 4...3...2...1...

Blast off?


1) What are three reasons you’re working with sound?

I work with sound because I’ve always had a passion for music and audio in general. I found my way from music to sound design by making electronic music featuring found sound samples back in the early 00’s. And finally, I work in sound because it intrigues me. Sound is a very powerful thing, and I’m always interested in how it affects people.

2) Of the following, what would you buy if you had a spare $100 and why? 3-piece suit, 3 super cheap mics, 3 blind mice?

3 cheap mics. Because I would destroy the shit out of them recording some awesome stuff.

3) What are three games that are your go-to examples for great sound design?

Dead Space. Metroid Prime series. Portal.


1) Two issues that invariably come up when working are...

Time management and exhaustion.

2) What are two pieces of advice you would give to someone eager to get into sound design?

Work really, really hard at your craft. And work really, really hard at your craft.

3) Finish the line: “Two sound designers walk into a bar...” record ambiences and the sound of ice clinking around in glasses.


1) Name one sound design task that could be improved with technology.

Asset list management?

2) “This one time, I was working on a project and...”

I didn’t stop working on it for three months straight.

3) What is the first thing you do after completing a project?

Sleep. Like I’m dead.

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