We interviewed Kevin Manthei, the creator of the music for The Captive Curse!
Her Interactive — What sounds did you use? (Instruments, effects, etc)
Kevin Manthei — "I used live violin, live double bass and live accordian, tuba for the waltz's, traditional orchestral instruments and orchestral settings, choir & modern percussion and sounds for certain pieces. Many of the pieces relied on Germanic instruments and Germanic folk music."
HI — What sort of story/emotions were you trying to tell and convey in the music?
Kevin — "Well I had to support many different sets of emotions and story elements with the music so that the player of the game can experience the game fully. There are sets of pieces that are more eerie and scary, others that are emotional, heartfelt and sometimes sad and then there are some more traditional pieces that follow the Germanic culture that help put you in the right 'place' or environment. I have to tell the same story that the people at Her Interactive are telling. The only difference is I tell the story with music. The job of writng music for games is that of reinforcing he story and helping set the mood and tone for the game. I am a story teller!"
HI — What inspired the style of this music?
Kevin — "Before I start the music, the producers of the game like to put together a style guide of all the pieces of music they will need. Its usually 10-11 pieces and around 10-11 minutes of music. Each piece has to loop but most of the loops are 'soft' loops – that is they have a nice ending and fade out before they start playing again.
The other great thing the producers do is they listen to lots of music that exists already – some famous classical pieces, maybe some pieces from a particular world region, various film scores, etc and then they present this to me as a loose idea of what they are thinking. It helps me get their ideas right away and from there I jump off and start writing my music. I am happy to say they never ask me to copy the style music but rather want me to be inspired by it. Here is a blurb from the Sound Direction doc:
The themes are inspired by classic black and white monster movies, but with a darker, more gothic traditional instrumentation to help establish mood and better reflect the dark Bavarian forest and old gothic castle. As traditional German folk music doesn't really match the darker monster castle mood present in the game, instrumentation should rely more on traditional strings and other gothic elements rather than too strongly on Bavarian instruments (like the zither, Steirische harmonika and the hackbrett as they tend to give a happier feel overall)."
HI — What is your favorite piece from the set?
Kevin — "I loved working on the Creature piece as it has choral chanting that was fun to put together and work into the piece. I like how the main theme for the Castle turned out as well. Its classical in its feel yet Gothic and has a lonely feeling to it. Forest is a fun piece – it's a spooky and mysterious piece that plays when you're in the forest and searching around. I played with Hammered Dulcimer, solo violin and double bass effects.
Thanks for reading. Please check out the Nancy Drew Soundtracks – Music for Mysteries – on herinteractive.com covering the music from the first 20 games.