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Creating Sound: 3x5 Interview with Ben Crossbones
by Henrik Namark on 06/04/12 10:56:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

3x5 Interview with Ben Crossbones

[George Hufnagl shares some internet space with Ben Crossbones in this week's 3x5. A Chicago native, Ben is the local music industry's equivalent of the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon." Additional video is available at the original source, creatingsound.com ]

Ben Crossbones' Website | Crossbones on Twitter

IN FIVES


1) In exactly five sentences, give us what you feel is important biographical information about your sonic background.


Touring musician during the pre-social network days and rocketed towards early burnout (thankfully). Then turned studio musician and touring road tech. Brief stint in sound in Chicago’s independent film industry before it left almost permanently for LA, Austin and Toronto. Security then bartender at legendary music venue, The Metro. These days, game audio (the discipline and the business), for me, has become an amalgamation of all the variations of my sonic past.

2) Please state, in exactly five words, your interest in sound.

Chaos to serenity: The manipulator.

3) Now please state, in exactly five syllables, how you might describe your process of work.

Relax. I got this.

IN FOURS


1) Using the rhythm of the famous four-note opening to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, please tell us a fact about you that we may not know.


Pretty good coooooook.

2) Who are four people that have influenced your work?

Scott Bradley, David Stone, Brian May, Greg Graffin

3) Name your preference for starting work: Sound Library, Field Recording, Vocal Imitation, Writing it Down?

Recording, recording, recording, RECORDING! Working with tighter budget teams, many of them are under the impression SFX libraries always cover everything. Plus, I love getting my hands dirty and putting something personal into my projects.

IN THREES



1) Name three sounds that make you glad to have ears.

Tenor saxophone keys/valves, Pre-1979 Ford Mustangs, Transformers G1 transforming sounds

2) Name three sounds that cause you physical discomfort.

Over-used library telemetry SFX, daytime gunfire, misbehaving children

3) Address one way to change three of those sounds or three ways to change one of those sounds.

Over-used telemetry: Quit being a lazy asshole; apply one plug-in, reverse it, mix two together, spend one weekend a year creating new “high tech HUD computer” sounds because you know you can’t go a year without a project calling for them. I recommend manipulating recordings of birds as a good start. Stop ripping me out of my immersion. It’s expensive.

Daytime gunfire: Suppose I could just move.

Misbehaving children: Last I checked, duct tape was still pretty cheap.

IN TWOS


1) List and describe two projects on which you're currently working.

Organ Trail: The zombie apocalypse re-make of the Apple IIe classic, Oregon Trail. Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD: The best of the original series is back. In my opinion, it’s pretty fucking awesome.

2) And how are they both going?

Great. Both are wrapping up soon and have been some of the best projects I’ve ever worked on with some of the most talented, kick ass people.

3) How do you feel it is challenging your current skill set?

Apples and oranges. For Organ Trail, I’m handling the sound design and the soundtrack. The final OST will have close to 60 minutes of music... and that’s just what made the cut. It’s been a pretty intense work load. On THPS, I really only came on to the project near the end to help with Wwise issues and audio bug fixes. It’s been a lot of fun chatting with the Robomodo team and dispelling the veil of audio black magic. Seriously sound designers: taking 5 minutes to talk audio shop with your programming team here and there can save you days during crunch.

IN ONES


1) Name one environmental element of the creative process that you find essential.


I have a set of coffee mugs for drinking coffee and a set of coffee mugs for drinking coffee while working. The latter’s presence is essential. Often working from a remote studio, I need some reminder that I’m at work not just making lasers, robots and fart sounds.

2) What is one area in which you hope to improve your work?

Middleware. I’m pretty confident in my sound design and mixing skills but that can all go to shit real fast if those skills are implemented incorrectly or sloppily. That’s not to say I suck at it, but in my mind, I’m not the Audiokinetic Wwizard that I want to be yet.

3) What is one thing you would like people to know when listening to your work?

At some point during the project, I probably vomited due to stress or took a half day to beat the crap out of punching bags at the local boxing club.

Brass valves and brass knuckles,
Ben Crossbones

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