Saturday, May 4, 2013

Songs of the City

We sat down with our very own in-house DJ, music producer, and audio engineer Farfletched for a Q&A session about the APB Reloaded Artist Program, and also to find out a little bit more about this most elusive of developers. The setting for this impromptu interview was Farfletched’s desk at the Edinburgh office of Reloaded Productions.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My first job in the games industry was with Rockstar North. I managed to bag five days of testing and ended up staying for a year and a half. I had prior knowledge of audio DAWS (going back as Scream Tracker, for those of you in the know) and was producing music at the time. I kind of latched onto the audio department and pitched as much material at them as I could. It was a really good learning experience. After Rockstar came Realtime Worlds. I fell into a QA role on APB: All Points Bulletin before becoming an associate audio engineer. When that ended, I got picked up by Reloaded Productions and hired as a Community Manager. When they realized that they 1) had no audio team, and 2) that I shouldn’t really be allowed near the forums, I became the sole audio engineer on APB Reloaded.

Any other claims to fame?

Mostly from DJ'ing and Producing. Through the years I’ve had the privilege of playing alongside some ridiculous acts: Tiesto, Pendulum, Faithless, Mylo, Underworld, Pete Tong. More recently I’ve released tracks on FUTURECOP! Compilations, and record labels alongside my idols. I’ve also done work on TV adverts and some neat indie iPad games.

What inspires you musically?

An extremely diverse set of places - often it's just an individual sound. I remember watching “The Running Man”, and there was a sound as a camera panned down over the first arena. As soon as I heard it, I knew I had to emulate it and expand upon it. Musically, The Labyrinth Soundtrack / Bowie in general, Giorgio Moroder, Harold Faltermeyer, Retro Chipsounds, and non-generic movie soundtracks like “The Life Aquatic”, “Explorers”, “Mad Max”, “Robocop” etc. I also have a mild case of Synesthesia (seeing notes as colors), so often I feel like making some “Green” that weird?

Can you tell us a little bit about some music you listen to outside of work?

I can do better - here's a YouTube playlist.

What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?

At the height of the Trance scene I had some amazing nights in Ibiza, Paul Oakenfold at Amnesia spamming the ice/smoke machine. However, the best gig I have ever been to would probably have to be Green Day at the Barrowlands in Glasgow. Crazy crowd, and I spent most of the evening crowd-surfing to the front, being booted about a bit by security, and then I would run to the back and start all over again.

If you could have anyone make a song for APB, who would you have make that song?

A three-way collision between Kavinsky, David Bowie, and Haezer.

Can you tell us a little bit about the Artist Program? What inspired you to give this a try?

The Artist Program is something of an ongoing project at the moment. Player content is the heart of APB:R, and we’re always trying to find new ways to bring really cool player content into the game from our end. Speedball plays a bit part of this, for example. The Artist Program is one of those things that’s as old as time itself. Before we approached bigger bands and record labels, we wanted to try and open the game to bedroom producers and garage bands and give them a shot at the limelight. I’m glad we did, as some of the content we’ve received is nothing short of amazing. All chosen artists will get a mention on our Facebook page and have their tracks appear in the music player in APB Reloaded. It’s all about giving them publicity. Some of them will even get a bit of extra attention when they're chosen as a featured artist.

What exactly is a featured artist?

With each Artist Program update, we would choose one artist to be a “Featured Artist.” Aside from being featured on our Facebook page, the Featured Artist will get plastered on billboards around the game.

So, you’re turning APB:R into an advertisement for someone’s new album?

I don’t think it’s quite like that. It’ll help keep the backdrop of the game fresh, with billboards that get updated regularly. We got a really good reaction from people when we changed up the billboards to feature Mr. Bunnyface and Speedball.

How do you choose the featured artists?

The featured artists will simply be the artist with the best all-around track in each update. Whichever artist has the track that really shines in the game, along with fantastic quality and style, will be chosen as the featured artist.

Music in the background has always been a part of APB Reloaded. Do you create all the music in-game?

Yeah. All the new tracks that have appeared since Reloaded launched were produced by myself. Check out the new sounds at the Joker Store, Gaijin, Myst, Celestial, Rimbaud and Asylum. We’ve got a nice treat in store for people that remember that weird piano conservatory music from Asylum…

Is the Artist Program still taking submissions? What kind of music are you looking for?

Yeah, it’s still open! Give us all your music! All genres! Check out details here!

In a nutshell, all you need to do is submit your track as a Soundcloud link via email to You can only submit one track, but it must be a quality recording, and it must be a completely new creation (no copyright materials allowed). We accept all genres, but as you can imagine some styles have more chance than others…..Drum and Bass > Accordions , Metal > Boy Bands,  Electro House > Latin Ballroom.

If chosen, you will enter into a non-exclusive agreement with GamersFirst, which basically means that your track still belongs to you, but you are giving us permission to use the track in APB:R and affiliated products.

What’s your guilty pleasure track? (C’mon, we all really love Britney, so just admit it…)

Munamies – Pomppufilis (the hook at 28 secs in makes me smile EVERY time)
Also, I wouldn’t pass up a little bit of Perfume – Electro World (when no one is watching)

So there you have it. A little look into the mind of Farfletched. He's a pretty cool guy and someone that everyone should give their music to.

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