An interview with Composer & Musician Bennett Walton

We are excited to announce the release of our inaugural soundtrack, “Descent into Locnar”, December 15th on Bandcamp. This 18 track album is a compilation of fantasy rock-n-roll music from our first Volume of the podcast. All music is original, and was composed and performed by Bennett Walton (you may know him better as Boomer the Bard).

We had a chance to sit down and interview Bennett about his process and what we can expect going into a new volume set in a very different world than Locnar. Here’s what he had to say:

1. How is writing music for a fantasy podcast different then the way you compose music for other purposes?

I’d say the main difference is a much more defined sense of what I’m trying to accomplish with the music. When I write songs for my own purposes, I usually have a riff, a beat, or sound that I’m looking to capture; maybe it’s trying to evoke a particular feeling or maybe its just something that I think is catchy. Its a much more open process of simply developing an idea to see where it takes me as opposed to having a direct objective from the start. While writing music for the podcast, I usually begin with the consideration of whats happening in the scene being underscored and how it affects our characters. Music has a unique ability, particularly when coupled with riveting content, to connect us to our protagonist’s struggles on a subconscious level. With well-timed music, we can find ourselves really locked in and invested in stories in ways we might not have thought we could. Within the game realm of Dungeons and Dragons, bards have the magical ability to sway and evoke emotions in others through the use of their musical talents; we may not consider it magic, but I think its easy to underestimate and overlook the power of music and the ways it can affect us here in reality.

2. Where/what has been your inspiration when creating for the podcast?

Volume One gave me a really easy source of inspiration: Locnar had so many great references to rock music and its various sub-genres woven into the fabric of the Lore NxNQ had built. Being a rock n’ rolla myself, I had a wealth of influences from rock history, classic and modern, to turn to for inspiration, such as David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, the Foo Fighters, Black Sabbath, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and so many more. For instance, when writing the music for the Battle of Bands episode, I gave each army’s band an artist that I wanted to be the influence for their music. “Diamonds and Metal” was a bit of Motorhead with a touch of nuMetal, while “King Crimson’s Best” ended up somewhere along the lines of Journey meets Genesis. For our intrepid heroes, I had songs from the likes of the Who, Heart, and Van Halen in mind when crafting their ultimate performance for the gods of Locnar: sounds to me that evoked a true scope of epicness. I equate my experience trying to emulate these styles much like when I play darts: I threw it in the general direction, I definitely hit the board (as opposed to a passerby), but never quite hit what I was aiming for. I never intended any of them to sound like direct ripoffs, so maybe its for the best I never hit the bulls-eye on this one.

Let’s get technical. What is your technical set up and how you manage to make all that amazing music by yourself.

All of the music I make for the podcast is produced in Ableton Live using a mixture of recorded audio and digital plug-ins. The guitars, bass, mandolin, and acoustic elements I record through my interface, while the percussion, violins, and other added sounds I create “in the box” with my midi controller keyboard. Usually I try to start with percussive elements first to give my self a beat to build off, but like with my personal music, often it will start with a single riff and grow from there.

What do you hope to bring to the Vol 2 music now that we are in a new world? How will it change?

The sound of Locnar was somewhat of a no brainer for me; no questions this land of heavy metal and rock references had to be scored by heavily distorted guitars and thundering drums. While I found the places I could implement a softer touch with string quartet feels, piano, and the occasional harpsichord, it always circled back to the mainstay rock sound of guitar, bass, and drums. Now that our heroes have moved on, I get to explore and create in a whole new auditory landscape outside of what I consider “home-base” for myself. While Locnar was grand and epic, this new world is a much more dry and desolate place, bringing to mind images of ghost towns in the old West. The music will definitely match that in tone. I will be leaning pretty heavily on my blues influences, but I plan for the screaming electric guitar to take a backseat to acoustic guitars and hollow piano on this one, though as my home instrument, I will always find the places I can use it!


Make sure to get your digital download of all 18 rock-n-roll fantasy songs (northbynorthquest.bandcamp.com).

All proceeds will benefit the podcast and make sure we can pay Bennett for all his creative endeavors as we move forward.

If you love the soundtrack consider an additional donation or become an NxNQ Patron at the “Bardic Inspiration” level, and you’ll gain first access to ALL of our upcoming soundtracks. Become a Patron HERE.

 

 

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