024 Making My Own Music – Voyage (Pivvot OST)

PivvotIn this episode, I interviewed Whitaker Trebella, a video game composer and game designer in Chicago. We talked about his song Voyage from his game Pivvot.

Pivvot is available on iOS and Android, and will be available soon on Windows, Mac and Linux on Steam.

In my interview with Whitaker Trebella, we talked about the following:

  • Why Whit went from composing game music to making his own games.MMoM-1400-blue
  • His game Pivvot, a thrilling game of strategic avoidance. This game was heavily influenced by Super Hexagon.
  • His influences for the music, Hydrogen from Hotline Miami, and Memories of the Future by Oliver.
  • His challenge with Carter Dotson, Pivvot: Carter vs. the Developer where he was unable to beak Carter in the Berserk mode of Pivvot.
  • How he live-streamed the composition of the Pivvot music, and what it was like composing for an audience.
  • The use of a reference track to take a lot of ideas from. Will the new song sound too much like the original? Whit was concerned that Pivvot was too much like Super Hexagon.
  • He created a palette of sounds for the first song, and used that as a template for the other songs in the game. A lot of the sounds use the Plogue chipsounds VST.
  • How to learn synthesis, modifying synthesizer sounds. He started with a tutorial on subtractive synthesis that came with Logic.
  • We both love the chord progression like Am9 – Cmaj7. Whit describes why he likes that so much.
  • Whit went through the Logic project talking about the different tracks: kick, second kick added for louder section, distant hi-hat, extra percussion (kick on 1 and 3, snare on 2 and 4), 16th note pattern, bass with a big EQ cut in the middle, electric piano, and the choir-y sustain part.
  • The use of “humanize” on hi-hat velocities and how that creates inspiration
  • The use of side-chain compression with the kick drum, and how it makes the compressed instruments pulse to the beat. This led into how all the screen objects (the stick, the ball, the obstacles, the menus) pulse to the beat, even if the different songs have different tempos.
  • We talked about his thoughts on looping. He thinks the song should be at least a minute and have different sections so that it isn’t boring.
  • In Pivvot when you die, the song continues but at 1/4 speed, so the song is slower and two octaves lower. He also adds an EQ filter. Whit talks about “tweening” which is available in Unity Pro where he can switch from speed 1.0 to 0.25 but change it over a half of a second. It is similar when you pause and unpause.

Whit’s website is wtrebella.com and his music is available for sale at his Bandcamp page.

Send me your feedback by emailing tom@makingmyownmusic.com or calling and leaving a voicemail on 631-213-5023.

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About Tom Snively

I am a freelance composer and compose and record music in my home studio. I record electronic music such as new age, video game, dance and trance and non-electronic music such as smooth jazz, rock and classical music. Contact me for the following: Commission me to write and/or record your song for you. License one of my songs for your use. Have me record a saxophone part for your song.

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