Making An Authentic Metal Soundtrack: Coffee Crisis Case Study

A look to some of the tools and workflow to a headbanging soundtrack.


How do you achieve such an authentic sound?


     I have compiled a variety of tools over the years that are involved. A couple to highlight in this particular soundtrack would be Superior Drummer 2.0 by Toontrack, a virtual drum kit that draws its samples from a massive library of raw audio drum samples recorded in professional studios, as well as a fantastic amp simulator made by Peavey call Revalver IV. Revalver IV provides a wide array of amplifiers, cabinets, microphones, as well as effects, to select from in order to provide complete tone control at the tip of your finger. Many of these tools, combined with modern production techniques can produce rather astounding results


     Here we see Superior Drummer 2.0 with the microphone channels routed out into separate tracks within Cubase 5.


     The arrows here point out bus channels that control the output of groups of different channels. For example, the first arrow is the master fader for all the mic channels for the kick drum. There are two kick microphones routed to this fader in this example.


     Here we see the Virtual Mix Rack by Slate Digital as a plugin inserted on the kick master channel.


     This is Revalver IV by Peavey. This is one instance that is active on the Left Guitar channel in Cubase 5.

      A quick look at some of the amplifier models available in Peavey's Revalver IV.


Tell me more about your creative process for composing music in a game.

     The first question asked is always about the type of experience we are trying to create for the consumer. Next is developing an actionable plan, understanding the tools at our disposal, and to begin laying the foundation of ideas, melodies, and structure in the case of a soundtrack. When it comes to Coffee Crisis, the idea to use abnormal and rapidly shifting sounds throughout really lays well with the concept of alien invasion. Keeping the idea of the experience you desire to create for the consumer will always help you decide if the content you're creating is content you should use.  


What software tools do you use for composition?


     An itemized list of the products I use are as listed:


          - Superior Drummer 2.0 by Toontrack

          - Omnisphere and Trilogy by Spectrasonics

          - Plugins by Waves

          - Plugins by FabFilter

          - Plugins by Slate Digital

   - Peavey Revalver VI

      Here we see two plugins I often use by Fab Filter. On the left is the Pro - Q. On the right, the Pro - L.


     Here are two plugins by Slate Digital that I frequently use on my master fader. On top is the Virtual Tape Machines plugin and below is the Virtual Bus Compressor model FG - Grey.


Walk me through the other tools in your production process.

     One tool to talk about would be automation. Every modern Digital Audio Workstation, otherwise referred to as a DAW, has some form of automation to use. What this allows for is change over time within the project you are creating. Change over time is an essential component of an effect production whether or not it is music, film, a book, a game, etc. 


What do you think brings a video game soundtrack to the next level?

     The secret to a successful soundtrack is the ability to have a distinct identity without detracting from the experience itself. Finding the balance between blandness and overbearing can take time, but is always worth the effort.

How do you balance a soundtrack & sound design when composing music for a game?

     Similar to an earlier response, it is all about focusing on the kind of experience you are trying to create. I would also add that it's never a bad idea to get outside opinions as well during the process. It always has the opportunity to reveal things about the soundtrack when you get a fresh pair of ears involved

How do you know Mitch Foster?

     Mitch and I first met in high school as a result of our mutual interest in playing guitar. Consequently, a band was formed that continued on for many years. The soundtrack for Coffee Crisis is primarily re-imagined versions of a variety of songs that we had initially composed in the years following high school, a fun fact that few know.


How can we contact Fist First Records for more information?


     Anyone can contact Fist First Records as follows:


     Email: [email protected]



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