Talking with Chris Huelsbeck, composer for the new Zombie Smash iPhone game

Chris Huelsbeck, SF-EMM member and experienced video game soundtrack composer for more than 70 titles, has one more to add to his list: Zombie Smash. Here’s a short email interview I had with him recently:

Amy: You have heavy pianos, grungy guitars, and punchy percussion. Was there any particular inspiration for the music?
Chris: Zombie Movies had their first big success in the 80s, when I was a teen and I wanted to capture the vibe of the soundtracks of those movie scores. They were often low budget flicks with synthesizer scores (think John Carpenter).
What kind of software/hardware are you using these days? Were there any recent additions to this setup?
I am working completely virtual since about 2003. The only hardware that I use are midi keyboard controllers, every sound is created with virtual synths and samplers on my laptop computer. My main weapon of choice is Steinberg Cubase and for the music of ZombieSmash I used a number of classic modeled synths like Native Instruments Pro-53 and the Korg Legacy Collection.
The music sounds sounds great with and without headphones. What was your experience developing music for the iPhone/iPod Touch? Were there special considerations?
I definitely wanted it to sound good in all listening situations, including the build in speaker. So after a few weeks into the project I decided to finally ditch my trusted Palm phone and get an iPhone to test and hear everything myself. That really paid off and I made quite a number of adjustments to the mix until everything sounded clear and balanced. Even the sound effects went through several iterations. The hardest one was a heart beat SFX that is played for the finish move, but at the end it was very worthwhile.
Thanks, Chris!

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