Earlier this month I reviewed a small indie game by DeadToast Entertainment called My Friend Pedro. This small title was a big hit in my books, particularly in regards to its fast paced gameplay and killer soundtrack. Little did I know that I’d be following up my review with an interview with the man behind the music.
Meet Navie D. He’s the man who created My Friend Pedro’s synth filled electro soundtrack. And it was a process in doing so. He’s put together a short video showing us how he created the track titled Cave Crawl which you can find below.
He appreciated our love for his music with a comment via Twitter, which is when we reached back out to him to ask a few questions about the game and his music. And as it turns out, he bloody loves gaming as well!
GOA: What was it like to work on a game like My Friend Pedro?
Navie: I didn’t know what to expect when I first began working on the game. This was my first foray into video game music, and into the video game industry. The first time I saw a gif of My Friend Pedro on Twitter, showing the main character on a skateboard blowing people’s heads off with a shotgun, I thought to myself “this is something I need to work on”. Over the one-and-a-half-year process of making the music for the game, I had an absolute blast. The tricky part though is that you never really know how things will be received. I got to play-test the game during the development process and I thought it was the most fun I had with a game in a long time, but you never know how others will feel about it when it comes out, or whether they will enjoy the music. There are so many things that can go wrong, and it’s almost like a miracle when everything comes together and works well. Thankfully now that the game is out, it seems that people are really enjoying it.
GOA: How does one create the sound of My Friend Pedro? Were you shown concept art? Gameplay?
Navie: When I first went back and forth with Vic, we had ideas on what the game’s music should sound like. He let me play through the whole game essentially, and he had reference music put in all the levels. I took these as cues, showing me what direction I should take some of the music, and what the feel of each section of the game should be. The first few tracks I’d made are the ones that show up in the earlier levels – the bombastic, big-energy tracks. But having too many of those types of tracks would have gotten tiresome and would wear the player, so I also made sure to create tracks with lower, more minimal energy. The through-line of all the music though is a feeling of aggression in momentum. I wanted the player to constantly feel a driving energy that is pushing them forward to behave aggressively. The most fun I had with the game was when I would enter a room and didn’t have a plan, having to figure things out on the fly – who to shoot first, which parts of the environment to use, which gun I should switch to. This feeling of spontaneity was one that I wanted to reinforce through the music.
GOA: Was there inspiration to the OST?
Navie: The inspiration changed throughout the process. Other than the game itself, and it’s lovely aesthetics and color-palettes, I also pulled from artists that I was listening to at the time. Gesaffelstein initially, then JPEGMAFIA, then Yaeji, then Death Grips. A little bit of 90’s dance music throughout like Robin S, and Haddaway. I pulled from everywhere and everything to try and make a diverse enough sounding playlist of music.
GOA: Was this your first video game OST you’ve worked on?
Navie: This was the first game I have ever worked on. When I first started making music, I worked in the regular music industry producing for hip-hop artists. I eventually got bored of making hip-hop, nor did I see any chance of making a career out of it. I eventually made the decision to shift and try my hand at video game music. And this was my first attempt at a commercial project.
GOA: Were you a gamer growing up? If so what was your favourite?
Navie: I was a huge gamer growing up. We had a Coleco first, which I barely remember. Then an NES – I remember watching my brother play Punch Out and The Jackal all the time. I was only able to play Mario, my brain couldn’t handle anything more complicated than jumping on goombas’ heads. Then we got a PlayStation, and that was huge for me – playing games like Xenogears, Final Fantasy, and Castlevania. A little while later, doubling back and playing games on the SNES like Chrono Trigger was also very informative to me. These games’ soundtracks really stuck in my brain and really shaped my musical tastes. Even though I don’t make music anywhere near those games’ genre, I still find myself influenced by them. My favourite game of all time though is probably Final Fantasy Tactics.
GOA: Do you have a favourite OST from a video game?
Navie: Overall, I think Chrono Trigger may be the game with my favourite soundtrack. But my favourite video game song of all time is The One who is Torn Apart from Xenogears.
GOA: If Pedro was a musician, what would his genre be?
Navie: He would probably work on banana-exclusive music only, like making the theme song for Del Monte bananas over and over and over again.
My Friend Pedro is available now on Steam and Nintendo Switch.