Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Robert Lundgren, born and raised in the south-western part of Sweden. I’ve been playing music since childhood and I’m now working as a full-time composer and sound designer. I run my own freelance business (ADUNION Audio Works) in Gothenburg, Sweden that focuses on Music for Media, Sound Design and Game Audio. For a while now, I’ve been part of The Bearded Ladies Consulting, the production company behind Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden.
How did you get into composing music?
I started experimenting with synths, computers and music software back in my early teenage years, and I’ve kept doing that in different ways ever since. Through the years, I have been playing in various bands, but around 2007-2008 I decided to go my own way and start working with sound and music professionally. My work through the years has been a mixture of corporate films, TV-shows, short films, adverts, documentaries, feature films, and video games.
What’s your process like when you start creating a composition?
That varies a little depending on the project, but usually, I tend to start out by setting up a sonic template in Cubase with the necessary instruments and settings for the style I wish to work in. Since keyboards/piano is my first instrument, most melodies and chord progressions that I come up with evolve from pure improvisation on the keyboard. I can spend several days in a row just trying out sounds with software and hardware and letting them inspire me as I play. Sooner or later, usually by random, I come up with a musical embryo that feels good and worth developing. When working with TV or film I usually also watch the picture in real-time while I improvise.
You’ve done work on a few movies now. How differently do you approach movies as opposed to video games?
Music for films and TV is quite linear and usually based on a timeline set by the picture. Film music is about enhancing an already existing narrative, where the scenes have beginnings and ends. For games, it is more about creating the music as different layers and pieces that can be triggered depending on what the player chooses to do while playing. There are no pre-defined scenarios, other than cut-scenes. Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden uses an adaptive music engine, called Elias that handles those changes in the music over time, based on the decisions the player makes. Creating adaptive music for this engine and implementing it in the game was a crucial part of my work for the game.
What drew you to compose music for the game “Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden”?
I got involved quite early in the process as the combined composer and audio designer. I have since been a part of the team, working with and developing the music and audio alongside the work done by everybody else in the team. One of the reasons I got involved in the first place is that me and the founder of The Bearded Ladies Consulting (TBLC): David Skarin, have known each other for quite long. TBLC made a game back in 2009, called Landit Bandit, which I also composed the music for. They asked if I wanted to create some stuff for this project back when they were prototyping it, and I said yes!
What kind of style of music can we expect in the game?
Most of the music is a mixture of 80’s synthwave and traditional orchestral music, with a grain of Nordic folk music mixed in. The original MUTANT pen-and-paper RPG came out in 1984, and I wanted to pay a bit of tribute to that with the musical direction. Imagery from the 80’s is quite present in the graphics of the game as well.
Are you a gamer? If so, what types of games do you play?
I wouldn’t call myself a “gamer” per se, but yes, I do play some games whenever I have time. I’m a huge fan of the Fallout series, as well as Watchdogs 2. I mainly prefer open world/first-person games, but I also have a bit of a thing for retro adventure point-and-click games like the ones that Sierra produced in the 90s. The storytelling was great in a lot of those, despite the jagged graphics.
Do you plan on tackling more video games in the future?
What else is next for your career?
I’m working on music and audio for two mobile apps that are currently in development. I will most likely do some more game audio/music work during 2019 as well. Other than that, time will tell.
What advice would you have for someone who wants to become a composer?
Learn to master your tools. There are many DAW’s out there today (Cubase, Logic, Reaper, Ableton Live etc), and you should pick the one you like the best and dig deep into it. The more you learn to be fluent with your tools, the more creative you will become. It’s merely a matter of which DAW you prefer, not which one that is the best. If you want to get into composing for games, it really helps to acquire some knowledge of programming and game audio middleware (Elias, Wwise, FMOD etc). The more you know about the implementation part, the more attractive you will be to the business. Last but not least – if you like composing on your own: keep doing it a lot. Anything you do a lot, you will become good at.
What’s your life like when you’re not composing?
As a freelancer, it’s sometimes hard to find a clear distinction between work and leisure. When I’m not composing I still play the piano and the guitar a lot. I also like to travel, hang out with friends and just taking it easy at home together with my girlfriend.
Where can readers know where to find you online.