GZ Interview: Uranium brings more than heavy metal to Ballerium


Uranium brings more than heavy metal to Ballerium


by


Louis Bedigian

 

Ballerium composer
“Uranium” aims for a unique sound with their first video game soundtrack.

 

 

When developing a massively
multiplayer online real-time strategy game (MMORTS), you absolutely must have
a great soundtrack.  It’s not just for the gamers – how would you like to be a
sound programmer working on a bad soundtrack?  Not only do you have to hear
it, but the other developers, along with the poor beta testers, will have to
hear it as well.

 

On the last episode of As
The Game Turns
, the supposedly well-known band “Infected Mushroom” was
signed on to compose the music for Majorem’s MMORTS, Ballerium.  Little is
known why the deal fell through, but in Infected Mushroom’s place is a band
that’s dying to be different: Uranium.

 

Some might call it fate:
Majorem makes a game called Ballerium.  Then a band with a similar-sounding
name jumps on board to make this game sound as different as it’ll play. 

 

I have yet to hear any of
Uranium’s tunes, but their confidence and song explanations are definitely
intriguing.

 

Uranium is


Smite:

Guitars.


Conspirate:

Keyboards / Synth.


Nome Farsphere:

Bass.


Mike Lynx:

Drums and samplers.


Shay Hugi:

Group Manager.

 


Introduce yourself to our
readers.  Who is Uranium?  How did it come to be?

 


Shay:

Uranium is a new band that was founded in early 2002 and currently [has] 4
group members.

 

It all began in Los-Angeles
2001, when each of the members was busy doing self-projects. The primary goal
of the Uranium’s members was finding new directions for a unique music style.
At the end of 2001, Smite (23) (the guitar player of Uranium), met Cons Pirate
(24) who eventually ended up being the Keyboard player in L.A, when they was
performing with their own stuff. Actually, they met before and knew each
other’s skills and never planned to play together.

 

They started to compose and
play together and after a while they decided to ask Nome Farsphere (20) to
join them as bass player. Nome is Smite’s brother.  He was always with them
when they played and the decision was clear due to the facts that he knew the
band well, and his skills were adequate.

 

After playing for few months
and gathering new ideas for compositions, they knew they’d need a talented
drummer that would be able to play their kind of music, as it was going to be
something unique. After doing some auditions for drummers, Uranium didn’t find
exactly what they were looking for.  Smite thought that it would be a good
idea to talk with Mike Lynx (22), who played with him 3 years before the lead
singer (Crag Kano) joined later, and the music was more cohesive.

 

They started by doing a few
shows in England and in Germany.  In 2003 there were problems with the singer,
and all the group members decided to kick him out of the band.  At these days,
Uranium is auditioning for a new singer permanently, while working on their
debut album.

 


You guys are said to have
developed your own music style.  Could you tell us about that?

 


Smite:

It’s a very difficult question to answer because I really can’t explain
exactly what our music is because it does not correspond with any of [today’s]
existing styles.

 

I’d say it has Rock / Metal
rhythms combined with classical melodies / harmonies, atmosphered with
electronic envelops, which creates somehow a very unique style. Though I must
add it’s hard to criticize your own music and in this case I would leave this
question to the crowd.

 


Mike:

It’s music for the acute ear, played as one unit of rhythm and melodies
intertwined with deep powerful harmonies. That is more than stimulating to the
feelings of the listener, it carriers him beyond the boundaries of one self.

 

 

Screen Shot for Ballerium

The standard techno tracks
just won’t do for this awesome-looking game.

We thank you, Uranium!

 

 


How do you guys make your
music?  What instruments/equipment do you use?

 


Uranium:

We work in our private studio, so we really don’t have limitations. We play
live where all group members are participating in the music creation.

 

We are using live
instruments such as electric and acoustic Guitars, Bass guitar, Keyboards,
Synthesizer, custom drums which have electrical pads combined with live
cymbals, Samplers, and basically whatever we need to create our music. We are
always looking for the right sound that will give our music the quality it
needs.

 

Uranium is writing the music for Ballerium. 
It sounds like it was meant to be.  Did you anticipate – or at least hope for
– such an incredible opportunity?

 


Uranium:

When we first heard of Ballerium we thought it’s a very original idea for a
game, as they were RTS on the market and MMO D&D games, but there was no
combination between MMO & RTS, after reading the game concepts about the 7
races, we really wanted this opportunity to compose the soundtrack as the
music should be interesting and ambitious like game is.

 

Although we knew that a
known band already signed with Majorem (Ballerium’s developers), we had no
doubts that we were going to compose the entire soundtrack for the game.  We
prepared a music sample that represents the races character and Ballerium’s
world, and went to their offices so they could listen.  After listening they
knew that this was the right sound for the game, and decided to sign us to
compose Ballerium’s soundtrack.  This was exactly what we’ve wanted. We had
other projects to do and other offers that we have rejected because we just
had the right reasons to compose for Ballerium.  For example, this game is
mainly about fantasy and has a world of it’s own so we think this reason alone
is worth the thrill of composing for it.

 


Have you played Ballerium
yet?

 


Smite:

Yes, I’m registered as Beta player.  I can see the improvements and the hard
efforts the developers are doing, the graphic engine works for me and it’s
comfortable to control the units easily.  I just hope they will release the
final version soon enough so more people could sign and participate on the
servers

 


Nome:

Not yet, but I guess I’ll play it when it’ll be released.

 

Screen Shot for Ballerium

Plan, attack, and win!

 

 

Where did your inspiration for the game’s
music come from?  What was it in the game that sparked ideas and encouraged
you to write?

 


Uranium:

Our major source of inspiration was the concept of the game itself, relating
to all kinds of mystic elements.  The concept art of Ballerium helped us
considerably in the making of the soundtrack.  The story line also added
another general point of view that represents the atmosphere of a dying world,
each races philosophy compelled us to compose different tracks of different
natures for each race with it’s characteristics.

 

The music that you’ve written for
Ballerium – is it a taste of what you guys have done in the past and plan to
do in the future, or does move in a different direction artistically?

 


Uranium:

Yes, there is a part of our artistic philosophy in all of the tracks composed
for Ballerium, although different in nature and much more subtle than musical
material which was composed for live shows, which is respectively much more
aggressive in nature and of course much more progressive in composition.

 

Considering the nature of
the project itself, we were required to produce a not so aggressive sound line
that would fit RTS gaming rather than a dominant music that was meant for
listening to independently.

 

Now that you’ve had your first experience
working in the video game industry, what would you say is the hardest part
about making music for a game?

 


Uranium:

The hardest and both enjoyable part was composing 7 tracks in a short period
of time.  [We had to deal with] a different sound and characteristics for each
song, while still maneuvering between different sound sets.  It provided us
with a challenge, which was a pleasure to deal with.  And of course as I said
before, restraining ourselves from composing a soundtrack which is more
aggressive.  During the composition of the soundtrack we were also preoccupied
with Uranium tracks for our debut album, which added a level of difficulty
dealing with two projects at the same time.

 

Some artists want total freedom when
writing music because even the slightest restriction holds them back.  Other
artists like restrictions because they believe it pushes them to write songs
that they would not have written otherwise.  Which kind of artist are you?

 


Uranium:

We believe that, like most artists, we would like the maximum amount of
freedom for composing / performing our original music.  But restrictions are
an imperative part of any kind of project considering its nature.  Each artist
must compromise in a way dealing with projects for third party companies such
as: Games, Films, etc.

 

Is any of your music currently available
in stores?  Is any of it available to download on the Web?

 


Uranium:

Right now we are working on our own music, and we guess that a Uranium album
will be available within a short period. We are going to update our online
resources for people who wants to hear our music and Ballerium’s soundtrack
short samples will be available to download and will give people the chance to
listen both for our music and Ballerium’s music even if they’re not beta
players.

 

 

Screen Shot for Ballerium

A fortress waits for enemy
arrival.

 

 

Have there been any discussions about the
possibility of releasing the full soundtrack from Ballerium?

 


Uranium:

Yes, we have considered releasing the soundtrack LP separately from the game
itself because we have already received requests from beta testers for
purchasing the soundtrack, the soundtrack will be released considering the
framework of the contract with Majorem and only after the title Ballerium will
penetrate the market, justifying the LP release."

 


Do you guys have a site that
our readers can visit to learn more about your music?

 


Uranium:

Yes we do have a website,

http://www.uranium-online.com/
.  It is still under construction and we
will update more details about the band soon, as well as music samples, member
pictures, and tour information.

 


What are your future goals
as an artist?  Where do you hope to be in 10 years?

 


Uranium:

Hopefully, in the future we are willing to present the audience with a new
type of music, although it is very difficult to anticipate what will happen in
10 years from now.  Our goal is to eventually be a leading member of the
international musical community.  We want to bring it as far and as high as
possible.  We will participate in any projects that would help make our seal
upon the industry.

 

In the meanwhile we hope to
draw the audience’s attention to a new and original type of music, which was
not introduced yet.

 


Thank you for your time.