Two weeks ago I posted an interview I had with Corners Studio, the developers of Bar Oasis. An amazing game in its own rights and absolutely phenomenal in every department.
However, a lot of heads turned towards the game once they heard that Nauts of DJ MAX and TalesWeaver fame was in charge of the soundtrack. I had the chance of speaking to Nauts in his studio in Seoul along with the rest of the Corners Studio team. Hit the jump for the interview!
First introductions, who are you and what do you do?
I’m Nauts, and I’m the composer for the Bar Oasis series.
How did you get your start as a video game composer?
I started composing for video games in 2002 with my first large project being the music for a Korean MMORPG TalesWeaver. I went on to work for games such as Kingdom Under Fire, SD Gundam, DJ MAX series, and contributed to Magna Carta. And of course currently the Bar Oasis series.
What were some of your biggest influences for the Bar Oasis soundtracks?
Well the bar that we made and owned was a large influence on all of us, including the music. I also envisioned the experience of being on the bartender’s side of the bar and seeing friends on the other side. It’s a really different and unique feeling that I hope you could all experience.
Also, the Japanese jazz bar we all went to in 2004 was a great memory and one of the biggest influences to the sound of Bar Oasis.
What did you feel were important when composing the soundtrack for Bar Oasis?
I felt that it was essential to not…overindulge in the sound and try to make an understated emotional impact. An understated love if you will.
Wait, but what about the track Ultra Sexy (Sexy Ver.) from the first Bar Oasis soundtrack?
*Laughs* That was actually something I wrote with our lead designer and writer N0body in mind. I won’t go further than that hahahaha.
Actually, being an independent composer for Corners Studio made it possible to release that particular track in the first place so that worked out well.
What was the process like composing for Bar Oasis?
Well I got to explore jazz thoroughly so that was great. I put my full effort into the soundtrack, but to be honest with you, I was in a bit of a slump when I was composing the first Bar Oasis soundtrack so there was some difficulty there. The response however for the first soundtrack helped immensely which is why I had an easier time with the second album, and why it’s also bigger than the first.
Bar Oasis though is my project through and through. I wasn’t working for a big company or any other parties so I tried harder composing for Bar Oasis because of it.
What are some of the big differences between the first and second Bar Oasis soundtracks?
Well the first was very simple, mainly just pianos, bass, and drums. The second is much bigger in terms of size and scope with brass instruments included. Overall, the second is just a much bigger album in terms of everything.
Do you have anything you want to accomplish in Bar Oasis soundtracks?
Well I’d like to utilize more vocals in the future in any shape or form if I can. I think I’ll enjoy working with those.
So what made you decide to go into the video game music industry?
Well I listened to as much music as I could without prejudice. I knew I wanted to work in music, and I knew that video game music may not have been the easiest path to musical success, but I listened to such great game music in the 90’s and early 2000’s that I wanted to make a name for myself there.
If I didn’t think video game music was amazing, I wouldn’t be here doing this now hahaha.
Are there any other composers in the game industry that influence your work?
I try to not listen to other projects of similar music because I know I could only amount equal or lesser than their works. There’s so many talented people in the industry that their influence might overpower your own work.
You know, you have quite the following abroad your native Korea.
It’s really hard to believe that I’m popular elsewhere around the world. I was amazed when I found out that I had this following, it was unbelievable. I know that the soundtrack for TalesWeaver is very popular in Japan but to think it was like this, I’m honored. It just makes me try harder because of it.
It’s really interesting, because video game music isn’t what can be considered “mainstream” despite the fact that there are so many talented musicians.
Yeah, I felt bad before when I knew that video game music would probably never be globally accepted, but I feel now…that as long as I can leave my mark in music, that will be great.
Is there anything you are working on currently?
Well this is a personal project, I started a website called The Wishes. It’s a site where people send in stories about their lives and we’ll make original compositions to go with their tales. It’s in Korean but anyone is welcomed to send their stories and I encourage it so please send in your stories!
Lastly, I really liked the lyrics for the vocal track on the second Bar Oasis soundtrack.
Taek: Actually that was me hahaha. I’m glad you liked it!
It was amazingly written and fit perfectly with the game’s atmosphere. The grammar was a bit “Asian” though.
Taek: Well in the game it’s sung by Risa who is Japanese so that’s going to be my excuse hahahaha.
Well seeing as though you are all here [Corners Studio], I have one last question. The story in Bar Oasis is a bit melancholic. Was it your intention to write such a sad story?
N0body [Designer and Writer]: Well, I was going through some hard times and was feeling intensely sad. I wanted to share my sadness with the audience.
Taek: Well N0body had just crashed his Ducati into oblivion you see.
N0body: Ahhhh it was such a beautiful bike!