AES Section Meeting Reports

Pacific Northwest - March 27, 2019

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The Section met at Digipen Institute of Technology for its March 2019 meeting, featuring three members of the music team for Bungie's very popular "Destiny" video game series. Skye Lewin (Music Director and Composer), Michael C. Salvatori (Composer), and Josh Mosser (Senior Music Mixer/Editor) discussed their inspiration, workflow, and the concept of creativity on a deadline when delivering symphonic soundtracks containing hundreds of minutes of original music, elaborately sound designed cinematic sequences, and dialog in umpteen languages. About 82 folks attended (17 AES members) the presentation in Digipen's Plato auditorium.

The trio began by talking about the process of doing the music for the game, from start to finish. A cinematic section of the game was played to demonstrate the sound. Discussion included getting the emotion and feelings needed for the music, gameplay considerations, collaboration, and mixing all sound elements like dialog, music and effects. Michael jokingly likened the whole process to a clown car — organized chaos.

For the majority of the evening, several dozen questions from the audience were thoroughly discussed, ranging from the time involved for various tasks, the recording of the live music, musical themes, a typical workday, careers, working with the rest of a game's designers, hidden gems, and how gameplay affects the music. Destiny fans asked some very specific questions.

During the mid-meeting cookie break, door prizes were awarded:
AES AVAR 2018 Tee-shirts: Dave Crowther, Chad Meyer, Lindsay Smith, Shauny Jang
AES AVAR 2018 tote bags: Suzanna Jelseny, Michael Timmins
Belden CAT cable tool (courtesy Belden): Rory Given
Mini potentiometer tweeker tool (courtesy Uneeda Audio): David Schneider, Chris Sabin

About our Presenters: 
Skye Lewin - Music Director and Composer at Bungie
Skye is a musician, composer, songwriter, record producer, and music editor. He currently serves as Music Director and Composer at Bungie and is a co-founder of the record label and music production company Sound Chemistry. His work can be heard in video games, records, film and television, including Destiny, Fargo (2014), Banshee, CSI: Miami, and Entourage. He is the recipient of several awards, including four Primetime Emmy nominations and three M.P.S.E. Golden Reel Awards.

Michael C. Salvatori - Composer at Bungie
Michael is an American composer best known for his collaboration with colleague Martin O'Donnell for the soundtracks to the Halo video game series. Salvatori became acquainted with O'Donnell in college; when O'Donnell was given a job offer to score a colleague's film, Salvatori and O'Donnell formed a partnership and eventually created their own production company, TotalAudio. Salvatori continued to manage TotalAudio and worked on his own music for clients such as Disney and Wideload Games. He most recently co-composed the soundtrack to the 2014 video game Destiny and its expansions, The Taken King (2015) and Rise of Iron (2016). He also composed music for Destiny 2 (2017) and its expansion, Forsaken (2018).

Josh Mosser - Senior Music Mixer/Editor and Composer at Bungie
Mixer, Engineer and Sound Designer with experience in Games, Music, Television, and Film.

More About Pacific Northwest Section

AES - Audio Engineering Society