I'm Chris, an independent music composer with over 20 years experience. I help developers create unique, captivating games, most notably The Haunt which was a Top 10 selling game on Amazon.
Step 1: We'll discuss your game in detail so I fully understand your aims & requirements.
Step 2: I'll help advise on the best approach regarding the audio that fits your budget and timeline.
Step 3: I'll create the perfect soundtrack that you and your customers
I have made games for iOS, Android & PC . Pricing starts at $250 per track.
Send me a note through the contact button above.
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Interview with Chris Lines
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Providing main music themes and background looping music for video games. The styles of music can vary tremendously from huge epic battle ready scores to light hearted pieces. I obviously prefer the former, like many composers, but at the end of the day it's not about me, it's what is best for the game that matters.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: A mixed back really - I love sonically complex music, so slick production, big sounding with everything working well. Rough guitar tracks or simple punk music doesn't really do it for me. Example wise this is anything from Hans Zimmer or John Powell's film scores to very emotional music such as Ólafur Arnalds. I also love well produced pop music of all kinds.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I mostly work in the box but I do occasionally record the odd guitar or drum etc live. My guitar playing is pretty basic but if I just want a sound or a texture it's fine. If I need anything more accomplished I have some very talented friends I can call on to help. I use Ableton Live along with a whole host of speciality plug ins from Native Instruments, Waves, Spitfire Audio plus many more.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I always start with a simple piano and sketch out the basics. I'll really big on melody and hooks so people actually remember you music. I'll stick with an idea until the main melody reveals itself. Once I have that locked I can kind of hear how the piece might pan out.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I would say melody and polish and a professional sound. I remember when I started many years ago recording music on 4-track cassettes people would often think the tracks had been made in professional studios - they hadn't, so I can only put that down to my experience and 'good ears'.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Being able to listen to a piece of music an know if something isn't working. I can then methodically root out the cause of my irritation and make it good. Choosing the right sounds and learning when less is more is just as important (if not more) than buying the latest plug-ins. Anyone can do that.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: As mentioned above it varies, but I always like (am good at) pieces with an emotional intent. Either ones telling a story or needing to convey something more than just blast of music. The intent and emotional content of a piece is very often what makes a piece work.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: If it sounds good 'it's in' - leave it alone. If you like what you are hearing, others will.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Probably John Powell. His scores are always deeply attractive for me. Although he often works with film music rather than games the orchestration and emotion he puts into the pieces is just incredible.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Melodic, well produced emotional music. Doesn't matter on the style of music but these elements will always be there.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been writing and recording music since I was about 13, back in the 80s using a ZX Spectrum if you're older enough to remember them. So I cut my teeth of the synths and drum machines of that era. Spent a few years in a band as well as writing production music for TV. Since about 2012 I decided I wanted to re-visit my loves of games and write mainly for those.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My pc (that has everything I need), my speakers (so I could hear something), a mic, a portable recorder to record all those cool natural sounds and maybe a guitar for play round the camp fire.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Go with your gut instinct. Do you like them/what they are doing? If anything gives you a slightly ugly feeling, don't ignore it - it will come back to bite you. Price is important but it's only once factor of many.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: 1. Tell me about your business? 2. Why are you making this game now? 3. Why do you want to hire a composer - why not use cheaper stock music? 4. Are there any musical references you have in mind for the project? 5. Tell me about the game, the characters, story arcs and feel. 6. When do you need it finished by? 7. What;s the dram result for you once it's released?
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: That I press a button and my pc pumps out a hit record - if only!
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: 1. How much do you charge per hour? I charge per project not per hour, based on a lot of factors. I won't quote an accurate price until I have asked most of the questions above. Otherwise the real scope is unknown. I also don't charge by the hour as it does a disservice to the music - pricing by the hour means the client then has an interest in me finishing as quickly as possible, rather than when the music is at it's best. 2. Can you do sound effects as well? Yes I can but it's not my main focus or the part I enjoy the most. 3. How do you create your music? See answer above, but I always start with the piano and expand from there. Sometimes it will take a few iterations until the track is right, but it nearly always comes good in the end.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Bringing visual images to life, telling the story the images and dialogue can't, and providing an emotional context for the on screen visuals. Oh, and loud drums of course!
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: That I won't watch the clock and provide you with a quick track that does the job.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Digital - things stay in tune have less hum and hiss and generally don't break as much. having said that, there is an analog 'warmth' people like but I find filters, eqs and specialist plug-ins can do a pretty convincing job if a tracks is sounding too clinical. This reminds me of a recent plug-in I've purchased which is a plug-in to deteriorate audio so it replicates old samplers from the 80s and 90s. It's actually really useful.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Not at the moment, but I look forward to be able to do that in the future.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: A game I did the music for a while back now is actually almost ready to be released. That's a Sci-Fi FPS game and I love the epic music I wrote for that.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I was especially proud of the music I wrote for The Haunt. It was my first game where I did everything on the soundtrack and it went on to be a huge success. I had a lot of great reviews on Amazon about the music which made me really proud.