The Benefits of Collaboration

The wonderful Will Rinaldi is the sound & music designer for Among Elusions. Besides composing the audio tracks for our soundtracks and beyond creating barnyard sounds for our mobile release, Pachinko Slaugherhouse, Will is a valued contributor to the narrative development of Buried Bones.

Music is a very important part of my life.  If I had to describe it I’d say it's kind of like that one friend who you haven’t seen in years and then suddenly reconnect with as if only minutes have passed.  Every time you reconnect it’s always a feeling of something familiar mixed with something new.  You know each other so well but you’ve both grown as people and now have so much more to share with each other.  That’s exactly how I feel every time I pick up the guitar or sit down at the piano.  I introduce the old to the new and make something awesome out of it.  Whether that something is a new song, a memory, or just a way to relieve stress, it’s all thanks to this irreplaceable bond I have with music.

Lately I’ve taken this concept quite literally by scouring through old lyrics and songs I wrote as far back as 2008 and attempting to finish them.  I was listening to a throwaway verse I recorded back in 2010 and it gave me all these new ideas.  It sounded like garbage to me six years ago but now I think it’s worthy of being on my next album.  What was even crazier was how easy this new idea came to me.  It was as simple as picking up the guitar and humming a melody.  Before I knew it, the song was done.  But what exactly changed my opinion on this one song in particular?  Peyote.

Ok, it wasn’t peyote.  It was actually something much simpler.  It was collaboration.  Taking the time to hear what other people have to say about your work, be it positive or negative, is essential to facilitating creative growth.  They used to hammer it into my classmates and me in college and it was endlessly annoying.  Every time it was your turn to have your work critiqued, you would begrudgingly listen to everyone’s feedback and then act like you were going to implement some of it when in fact you had no such intention.  But when I look back at all of those critiques… I honestly really hate them still.  But as aggravating as that whole process was, it did teach me something very valuable.   It taught me that if you just lock yourself in a box and only do what you think is right then you are never going to grow.  Not only as an artist, but as a person as well.         

This probably sounds like basic stuff to most people since most of us are convinced that we’re open minded.  But the fact is that we’re not.  A lot of us, myself included, fear what is unfamiliar and because of that it is easy for us to reject new information.  I see it every day on social media as people berate each other over their opinions on movies, music, politics, ethics, etc.  When I try to rationalize in my head why it’s so easy for us to be so dense sometimes it brings me back to caveman times.  We have an instinct to reject what is unfamiliar because it may be a threat to our survival.  It made a lot of sense to think that way back when we were foraging for nuts and berries and fighting bears with sticks, but it doesn’t work so well now.  However, underneath that fear has always been a desire for greater things.  I believe it’s prevalent in all of us it’s just a lot harder for us to channel it.  But when we collaborate with one another I think it becomes much easier to do so.

Communication and understanding is key to our advancement as a species.  And this is why I love games because I see games as the culmination of this entire process.  A game is a shared vision made into a fun and interesting experience that people can learn from in a way that is more tolerable and productive then yelling at each other over the Internet, that is as long as you’re not playing online multiplayer.  

A game like Metal Gear Solid (1998) is going to leave the player thinking about a lot at the end credits while a game like Rocket League (2015) is going to bring people together to have a fun time.  Whether you are looking to provoke thought in the player or just create a fun experience is almost irrelevant.  What’s important is that at the end of it all you are bringing people together to cooperate, discuss, learn, and grow.  I believe this is something we are trying to achieve with Pachinko Slaughterhouse, Buried Bones, and any other game released under the Among Elusions name.  Will we succeed?  Only time will tell.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go record myself clucking like a chicken because…sound design.

- Will