If you haven’t heard of Austin Wintory before, there is a good chance you’ve heard his music regardless. As Austin has scored the music for such games as The Banner Saga Series, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Abzu and various more. Including his score for Journey, a game which rocked the industry back in 2012 and which Austin was nominated a Grammy for (the first for a video game soundtrack).
During his career of composing, which has now spanned over ten years, Austin has worked with a variety of developers, publishers, singers, musicians and orchestras. But not just for games. His worked has spanned across dozens of films and stage productions, one of which happens to be with a famous Australian musical trio and on of his favourite collaborations.
In the lead up to the release of his latest project Absolver from French studio Sloclap and publisher Devolver Digital, we chatted to him not only about his said work on Absolver and his own favourite video game composers, but about this favourite collaboration of his. Which happens to be with the legendary comedic, musical Australian trio, Tripod.
Tripod are a comedy sketch musical group hailing from Melbourne, Australia. Who I listened to and watched while growing up and who have cemented themselves as one of Australia’s most iconic game loving musical groups.
Originally forming two decades ago, the trio is made up of Scod (Scott Edgar), Yon (Simon Hall) and Gatesy (Steven Gates). Originally starting out as a cover band, playing the hits of Elvis, Bowie and the Beach Boys, they shifted focus to juggling comedy and music in strongly narrative performances. Performing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, around Australia and the world.
A medium which is an obvious love of theirs and has surfaced throughout many of their performances, is of course video games. Including this performance of “Gonna Make You Happy”, which is a personal favourite of mine.
Their love for video games has led them to much grander performances and collaborations in recent years. Including the highly reviewed and talked about symphonic performance ‘This Gaming Life’, which they perform alongside Austin.
Described as an ‘all-original symphonic love letter to gaming’, This Gaming Life debuted back in 2015 in Melbourne and was performed with then the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
When bringing this up with Austin, it sounded like he almost jumped out of his seat at the chance to talk not only about this specific collaboration and with Tripod, but his ongoing work with them.
“I love those guys and still continue to work with them”, said Austin. “We worked together on Assassin’s Creed Syndicate while finishing ‘This Gaming Life’, and then we reprised the show last Summer at the Adelaide cabaret festival, with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestral. We even built some of the Assassin’s Creed music in the interim into the show. I wrote a succession of 19th century folk songs called murder ballads with them and we have done other things since then.
I just finished a film which required a gospel hymn tune and I called them and said, ‘do you want to help with lyrics on this?’ Very different from our prior work, very straight faced, and they said sure and they did a phenomenal job.
There is another game that is already done from a musical standpoint, coming out sometime this year called Tooth and Tail. Which is a spectacular wonderful kind of throwback strategy game from a developer called Pocket Watch, who I did a previous game with called Monaco. And that has Tripod in it again, as like sort of drunken sailors!.”
After working together now on several of projects, and after how highly Austin spoke of the Aussie trio, it is was of no surprise when he said they had discussed more projects for the future. But to another scale! And thankfully, about further performances of This Gaming Life. “We’ve talked about writing a musical together, we’ve talked about all kinds of things together and of course we are always looking for more opportunities to perform ‘This Gaming Life’. We’d love to hit all the major hubs (In Australia), such as Tasmania, Perth and Sydney, as there is a lot of phenomenal orchestras throughout the country, that would be all great candidates”.
Throughout our interview Austin was incredibly passionate about all his projects, but even more so when talking about his work with Tripod on This Gaming Life. Which obviously holds a special place in his heart.
“That is one of my absolute favourite collaborations I’ve ever had. They are geniuses and I just absolutely love working with them. I’m so glad you know about that, because they have legions of fans, but they are not as well known in the US. So it doesn’t come up as often here (USA).”
Is this is something you’d loved to see? Well, I’ve got great news for you! As Tripod are set to perform This Gaming Life for the third year in a row (unfortunately this time without Austin due to timing issues with other projects). However this time with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in Hobart, later this year on September 12th.
You can find tickets here and by the sounds of it, it seems like a production of epic proportions. So if your love games and music, this is a must attend. Especially considering how reasonable the price of admission is (ranging from $60-$80). If you need further convincing, check out this trailer below for the original performance of This Gaming Life.