Adam Gubman: Co-Composer from Square Enix’s : Project Dropship
Adam Gubman (BM Music Composition at CSULB)
Adam Gubman? Who is Adam Gubman? Well if you are a member of AudioGANG, or a composer within the industry I’m sure you’ve come across this man at least once in your career. If you haven’t and are looking to network within the industry, Adam is easily approachable (providing he’s not mad in his lab composing lol) and always willing to help and give his advice when needed.
Adam has collaborated on tracks with Otto Cate (City of Heroes: Going Rogue, MAG), Mick Gordon (Need for Speed Series) , Charlie Malone, and Dan Diaz (Skate 3, Skate It). He was kind enough to discuss about what got him into composing, his recent collaboration with Traci Hines, as well his work on Square Enix’s cancelled project Project Dropship, and some advice for today’s up and coming composers on how to break and get into the industry.
With over 300 game titles, numerous TV credits as well as a spot with the London 2012 Olympics and only at the age of 33 you’ve accomplished so much at such a young age. How did you begin your journey into composing?
I was lucky; one of my closest friends, Jason Hayes, kick started my career in 2005 when he introduced me to Flying Lab Software. I, along with another good friend Jeff Kurtenacker, demoed for ‘Pirates of the Burning Sea’. We were successful in landing the gig after 3 months of demos. After that, I went to work for various audio houses, including SomaTone Interactive, Boston Soundlabs, and various developers. My career took a major turn when I was introduced to Non-Stop Music (at GDC, believe it or not). The Warner-Chappell/Non-Stop crew has been instrumental in helping me to make the switch from videogames to TV and movie trailers.
On April 20th 2012 you and Traci Hines released “Cause and Effect” a Mass Effect inspired track. How did you and Traci Hines get together on this project? Why did you guys choose a song inspired by Mass Effect?
Traci and I met about a year ago, and discovered we shared a lot of musical interests. It was only until recently, after hiring her to spot sing on a few sessions of mine, that we decided to venture out together on a new musical adventure…we’ve been steadily releasing an album of ‘game/movie/pop culture inspired songs’, at about one a month. We did a ‘Twilight’ song in Jan, an Angry Birds/Tiny Wings inspired song in Feb, and March was our Mass Effect song. We are working on a ‘secret’ project for May, which is why we have a bit of lag on the April song.
Were there any particular tracks from the Mass Effect score that you drew your inspiration from for “Cause and Effect”?
Although many of the composers on the ME series are good friends and colleagues, we drew from the story line and gameplay more than the music. What we present is a different take on the ME themes and universe.
This is the third track in your series of “video game/media inspired” songs that you have been releasing monthly (Previous being “Stay with you “ (Twilight) and “LoveBird” (AngryBirds)) and collaborated with Traci Hines. Have you started giving thought on what next video game or movie you might tackle?
Yes; we are working on something that we are going to release as a ‘video only’ offering, NOT for sale, because it’s a special remake of a …. Oh wait…I already said too much…
In July 2011 Square Enix announced the cancellation of Project Dropship, a shooter-action game that you composed for with Wataru Hokoyama (composer for Afrika and provided Orchestrations for Resident Evil 5) what was it like working with Hokoyama-san?
I can’t say enough good things about Wataru. Not only is he an inspiring person with deep character and loyalty, his musical ability teeters on the brink of genius. I love having friends whose work I can listen to over and over again and hear new things in every time. He challenges me musically. It was an honor to be his collaborator on that project!
What inspirations did you draw from when composing for Dropship? Are you a fan of these style of games, if so what games did you play?
I’m a huge J-RPG fan, especially of the Square-Enix games. My inner fanboy peed his pants when we landed that gig. The music that we set out to write was a combination of Bluegrass, Fantasy, Industrial, and Orchestral. We were successful in pulling off the odd mix of styles, but it was definitely a bit of a struggle at first to determine what was right for the musical universe. The story line was unlike any other game , and it’s a real shame it was cancelled! I don’t think I can say much more, tho. I was given the right to allow demos of the songs to be heard.
As a final remark what advice would you give to today’s new generation of composers?
There’s so much to say…
1) have no ego…there are no rockstars in the game industry.
2) make lots of friends that are composers; this industry is very close, and very very small.
3) traditional musical education will only help further your career; don’t neglect your education. Music is made by MUSICANS, not COMPUTERS.
4) join great networking organizations like AudioGANG.org. It has been instrumental in taking my career to the next level, and I’ve made some lifelong friends through it.
5) be prepared to get your heart broken over and over and over, and learn to be ok with that. As a creative person, the most difficult thing to do is to CREATE, and SET FREE. Once you’ve written a song, it no longer belongs to you…that attitude limits the hurt feelings and unnecessary elements that can drag down a creative person.
6) write every day. You’ll be doing it a lot once your career kicks off, and you have to learn how to be at your creative best even if you can’t find your muse. This is the ‘business’ of music, you can create art anytime, but if you want to make money doing what you love, find the line that blurs the two!
Here are a couple of tracks from Project Dropship and you can always hear more on Adam’s SoundCloud
Square Enix: Project Drop Ship – City Boss v2
Square Enix: Project Drop Ship – Flying Full
Here are some clips from Project Drop ship:
Soon Adam will be releasing a record titled ‘Throwdown’, which is sports and action themed album for movie trailer music with elements of orchestral/dubstep/electro and hip hop. Recently he along with fellow composers David Ortega (Composer for Math Blaster, Disney Mobiles: Where’s My Water (iOS)) and Sean Beeson (Composer from Ravensword 2(iOS) and Star Theif (iOS)) released “Comedy A La Carte”, a collection of tracks intended for productions with a “comedy” theme. Check out 8-bit Revenge by Adam Gubman a pretty catchy chip tune!