Interview: British folk band Daughter discuss writing music for Life Is Strange: Before the Storm
In the upcoming narrative adventure game Life is Strange: Before the Storm — a three-part prequel to 2015's Life is Strange — the main character Chloe Price spends part of the game at a punk rock show. For the game's soundtrack, the good people at Deck Nine hired the British ethereal folk trio Daughter to not only contribute songs to the game, but to write instrumental pieces for its score as well.
With the first episode of Life is Strange: Before the Storm due out for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on August 31, and the Daughter's corresponding soundtrack album Music from Before the Storm coming September 1, we spoke to Daughter vocalist, guitarist, and bassist Elena Tonra and guitarist/bassist Igor Haefeli about how this came together, how the game inspired the music, and what games they like to play.
GameCrate: How did you guys end up doing songs and music for this game?
Elena Tonra: We got an email in December of last year, but it was a kind of mysterious "Would you like to be on the soundtrack for a video game?" message, and it didn't say what the game was. Though we were obviously intrigued. Then, when we found out it was Life is Strange: Before the Storm, we delved into the first game, the concept of the game, and its aesthetic, and we agreed absolutely because it seemed like a beautiful thing to be a part of.
GC: Sounds like you weren't familiar with the first Life is Strange.
ET: No, we weren't. We did our research after they approached us.
GC: You wrote both instrumental pieces for the game as well as songs. But did you write this music specifically for the game, or were they things you'd already written?
Igor Haefeli: We tried doing the latter, and there is one idea we had before that made it into a full piece of music. But I'd say most of it was new music that was motivated by the game.
GC: So how much of the game did you get to see while you were working on the music?
IH: The game was still being developed when we started working on the music, so there wasn't much for us to see at all. There was a lot of artwork, and there was the script, and there was a short, small scene. And we had the first game to reference as well, which helped because we knew the games would be similar in format and aesthetic, it's just that you're playing as Chloe instead of Max, and Chloe is a different kind of character, she's more rebellious and assertive. And Deck Nine did want us to approach the music with that contrast in mind.
GC: How do you think the script and the other things you saw influenced what you did?
ET: I think the script influenced the music and the lyrics. The lyrics were written with Chloe's point of view very much in mind, trying to see the world through her perspective. That was definitely new for me. And I'd say the music was influenced by the script as well.
GC: How much of the music you wrote made it into the game?
ET: Pretty much most of it. There were a few things we discarded, but we trashed them kind of early.
IH: Yeah, there was an initial stage in which we sent over some early ideas to get feedback from the developers to see if we were striking the right tone, since we didn't have any real content to work with in terms of video or the game itself. And that was when we trimmed a lot of ideas.
GC: Now, the soundtrack album, Music from Before The Storm, includes the stuff you wrote for the game as well as a couple of your older songs. But are your contributions the same pieces of music that are in the game, or did you adapt them in any way for this soundtrack?
IH: Actually, what we did is write music that was adapted for the game. We sent the music to the developers in such a way that they could make changes, like if they needed to loop it or something. We then mixed the songs properly for the soundtrack album.
GC: Finally, your music is folky and ethereal and a bit on the mellow side. But do you play any games that might surprise fans of your music?
ET: We're not regular video game players, but we do enjoy them. I used to play Grand Theft Auto, but people would get very irritated with me because I wouldn't do the missions, I would go off and go to the gym, lead a normal life. And then I'd try to swim to places that were off-limits because I hadn't done the missions that would unlock them. I think that's reflective of my absolute obsession with The Sims. I loved that game. Though mainly for the interior decorating, building awesome house. And making people have affairs.
IH: I really liked The Last of Us.
ET: And Limbo, we love Limbo. Oh, and I liked Mortal Kombat. "FINISH HIM!" I played that a lot when I was a kid.
The first episode of Life is Strange: Before the Storm will be released for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on August 31.
Daughter's Music from Before the Storm will be available September 1.