By Morgan James
Composer, Producer, Engineer, and killer bassist Louis Alexander is on track to make a huge splash as he begins his career composing music for video games. Louis also produces and engineers music as well as plays bass in live bands and inspires high school kids to follow their dreams in music. I spoke with Louis about all he is accomplishing since graduating college just two years ago.
Morgan James: Tell me about composing music for video games?
Louis Alexander: Video games have always been a huge part of my life. They are my escape. Writing for video games is entirely different than writing for films and TV. Films and TV are linear. Every single time you watch Star Wars, the music will always start and end at the same exact frame- it’s supposed to. The music will never change depending on the viewer’s actions. I’m not saying writing for film and TV is easier. It’s just a different beast to tackle. I love the challenge of having to figure out how the player is going to interact with the game and how that’s going to affect the music. I just finished a game called Storybook last week and am currently working on two other ones. They are all coming out sometime during the summer. Storybook will be coming out of IOS and the other two will be on web browser, Steam, and PS4. Because I just graduated in December, I’m starting off really small, but my dream is to eventually score the next Mario or Halo type game that will be as impactful to the industry as those titles. Game Audio is 100% what I want to do with my life. I say game audio, because I also do the sound design for the games. I’ve been fortunate enough to be working on music since graduating. I feel privileged that I get to wake up and do that. The hours are extensive (sometimes 12-15 hour days) and the stress level is high, but I am on cloud 9 every day.
MJ: How did you come across that opportunity?
LA: I went to Berklee College of Music in Boston and received 2 BMs. I studied Film Scoring, Electronic Production and Design, and minored in Video-Game Scoring. Boston is home to a great indie game scene so I met a good amount of developers during my stay. I’m currently working on two games since I just finished one last week. There’s a lot of networking and relationship building that needs to be done to be successful in this field. I try to go to as many game conventions as possible so I can play the latest games and meet the newest game developers for possible future collaborations. I’m thinking about heading to the Comic Con Palm Springs to see if there are any indie developers displaying their games. It’s all a collaboration!
MJ: What other projects are you working on?
LA: My younger brother, Cristian Rabago, just finished his second year at Berklee College of Music studying Song Writing and Electronic Production and Design. We’re going to spend the summer working on his hip hop EP. I’m also a producer and engineer and have an outstanding love for hip hop, so Cris and I are both going to have a blast writing for the next few months. Watch out for Beats and Beer towards the end of summer!!!
MJ: You also play music live as well?
LA: At the moment, I’m playing with Razor J and the Blades which consists of Juan Espino on guitar and vocals, Tomas Granillo on drums, and myself on bass. We all work well because Juan and I have similarly high ambition and as a bass player, finding a drummer that meshes well with you is important, and Tomas is that. I’m also playing bass for the Heatwave Jazz and Show Band. It’s as youth group full of high school kids that are all killer! I love mentoring the kids and watching them grow as musicians.
MJ: You play a wide array of instruments though, correct?
LA: Over the years, I’ve picked up a bunch of instruments, from clarinet to bari sax, piano to double bass, American dulcimer to ocarina. It’s funny because I wanted to play guitar first, but I lost my wallet full of cash and so I got stuck with my younger brother’s bass. I loved playing it ever since. When I got into college, I started playing piano seriously. Since I’m mainly a composer, I need to have my piano chops up the par. Double bass was actually another instrument I picked up during college. They are very expensive so I had to save up for a little to buy it. I also started playing guitar seriously upon leaving college and have actually picked up other string instruments like ukulele and American dulcimer since then.
MJ: What are your performance goals as a musician?
LA: I want to have my voice come out through my instruments. I’m not a very articulate guy in person so I feel the only way I can truly express myself is through my music. When you listen to a Miles Davis solo, you don’t just hear notes coming out of a trumpet, you can actually understand what he’s saying. That’s where I want to be. Many spend a lifetime looking for that. I think that’s why I love composing so much. I can take all the time in the world to write exactly what I want to say.
Check out Louis Alexander on Soundcloud at: soundcloud.com/xander-bitz