What comes to mind when you think about video game music?
For musician Jacob Leaney who performs as Monster Mansion video game soundtracks can be so much more than the traditional sounds that you might think of.
“A lot of composers who work in games still maintain existing careers outside of games...it’s not just chiptune; it’s not just orchestral music, it’s also pretty mainstream pop and electronic and synthwave music as well.” said Leaney
Leaney will be joined by Maize Wallin, River Boy (Narayana Johnson) and Allison Walker at Games Gig a panel at this year’s online Freeplay Festival on Wednesday that challenges the stereotypical video game sound.
Leaney’s music takes a distinctly pop-centric approach, drawing on influences from 80s synthpop and 90s pop hits, and often includes vocals, something that is uncommon in video game music and track Galaxies will be part of Samurai Punk's upcoming game Justice Sucks Recharged.
“I want to see [video game] music that is able to connect to an audience in a different way to a soundtrack, something you can put on your Spotify playlist” said Leaney.
Games Gig was originally intended to serve as something of a reopening to live video game music performances, but with the city of Melbourne plunged back into a two week lockdown, that live in person event couldn’t go ahead at The Toff in Town, Melbourne.
Instead the musicians will take part in an online “fireside chat” where the lineup play each other's tunes and chat through what goes into crafting music for video games.
Co-event organiser Maize Wallin said it was hard to have to cancel the live performance.
“We're all feeling pretty raw with the new lockdown, Games Gig is on the last day of the second week!” said Wallin.
“Moving online means we'll have a slimmed down version, Monster Mansion won't have the whole band, the rest of us performing much more intimate sets too, this different format will have us sharing our songs with one another in a rawer, more emotional way.”
Leaney said that while people can get a refund, they hope audiences will donate their ticket to support the musicians involved.
“We’d ask you to consider holding on to your ticket in support of our artists - the funds from all non-refunded ticket will go directly to them to make up for this and other lost live gigs.”
The performances will be streamed on YouTube and as part of the Freeplay Zone, an online interactive social space which stole the show at last year’s Freeplay Festival.
You can watch the Freeplay Panel discussion “Games Gig: Aligning Indie Music with Indie Games” on Wednesday 9 June at 4:00PM AEST and the live performance event on Thursday 10 June at 7:00PM AEST.
Games Gig is part of FREEPLAY Festival 2021, happening June 8-13 in Melbourne, you can find out more about Games Gig and FREEPLAY at freeplay.net.au.