Anyone who knows me also knows that I’m a sucker for a great musical score. The music in a game helps balance the feel of the moment, even when doing something relatively mundane like building a house in The Sims. This is where people like Silas Hite come in; he’s a composer who’s worked on a wide range of titles, including The Sims 2, Skate 3, Boom Blox, The Simpsons Game, and more. His job is to convey a message or an emotion through his music, which is no easy task until you’ve gotten some serious practice under your belt.
Hite got his start playing drums when he was a kid, and picked up other instruments along the way, like guitar, bass, keys, accordion, mandolin, and various percussion from around the world. He eventually studied experimental composition at The University of Arizona. Following his graduation, he went on to intern at his uncle’s studio, Mutato Muzika in Los Angeles. This uncle of his just so happens to be Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo, which sounds like a pretty awesome dude to have in your family. After seven years, and working up from intern to composer, Hite eventually built his own studio at home and became a freelance composer for games, film, TV shows, and commercials. This freed up time for him to continue playing in bands and experiencing the other side of being a musician that is often missed when becoming a staff composer at a busy studio.
He has a collection of unique instruments that he likes to include in his various projects, which is always refreshing to hear in a day and age where many composers will just work “in the box.” This is a common recording engineer term for using all virtual plugins/instruments, and, in my opinion, this mentality is bringing down the quality of today’s music as a whole. Thankfully, there are still guys like Hite who aren’t afraid to record actual instruments, with you know…actual microphones. The imperfections of the wood in an old guitar, paired with a vintage microphone adding warmth to the sound can make a seemingly ordinary recording into something completely unique.
As far as upcoming game projects go, he has to keep those cards close to his chest for now; contracts prevent him from talking about his next game composition. Something he could talk about though, he is currently working on scoring a film for The Whitney Biennial. He is working on this with the same director as a previous project, a film for The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which you can download for free on his website. When I asked him about the games he’s worked on in the past, he was humble and wanted to make sure it was seen as a team effort with the Mutato Muzika crew.
It’s also worth noting that Hite is also a visual artist, so he sees many parallels between mixing a song and painting a piece of art. I’m always impressed by musicians who also have a visual artistic ability, and I feel that it really helps round the person out as an artist, overall. Hite continues to grow his career as a musician and an artist, and I’ll be interested to hear what his next video game project is, once the developers are ready to talk about it. You can check him out on your social media of choice or on his website:
(Additional photo credit: David Broach, paint out of ear)