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  • Interview: Mick Gordon

    [05.17.11]
    - Darren Yeow
  •  When people meet me in the flesh for the first time one of the things they tend to notice is that I am a pretty passionate fellow. Lots of cussing, flying spittle, schoolgirl-like giggles and intense stares permeate most discussions.

    I find that for me, the greatest wellspring of this passion and inspiration is from being around other individuals who also have a genuine passion for what they do.

    From all walks of life, hobbies, vocations, whatever, the single underlying string that laces them all together is their unstoppable torrent of zeal for whatever it is that they do.

    Without a doubt, one of the finest examples of uncorked enthusiasm (and unbelievable humility) is my audiophile hombre Mick Gordon who I met and worked with earlier this year on a cool game project.

    He has been an audio director in the games industry for over half a decade and successfully runs his own award winning studio, Game Audio Australia, servicing most of the big boys, from EA, Sony Entertainment, THQ, Warner Brothers, Nickelodeon, Marvel, Ubisoft and continues to work at a fervent pace to add to this already impressive client list.

    His resume reads like a treasure trove of delights, he sports a luscious mane of hair along with ass kicking tattoos and is regularly invited to speak at large game conferences such as the GDC in San Francisco earlier this year because of his unique combination of accomplishments and electric personality.

    Recent commercial work on Need For Speed: Shift and the historical museum exhibition A Day in Pompeii have netted him a slew of nominations and awards. Rather deservingly I might add!

    Mick's continued enthusiasm for what he does so well, his positive demeanor, genuine character, his business sense and work horse ethic all continue to inspire me.

    So how have you been mate? How is life and humidity over in Brissy treating you?

    Mick Gordon: Argh! Life's been a complete whirlwind of sound, deadlines, ones & zeros, fast cars, superheroes, demons, elemental powers, monsters and machine guns!

    Sounds like you have been busy as heck since we last caught up.

    MG: It has been crazy busy man, but incredibly fun nonetheless!

    You know what it's like -- we tend to lock ourselves in our studios for days on end without sunlight or human contact and we start to go a little crazy!

    So whenever I get the chance, I try to get out and get involved with any events that my schedule permits.

    I was recently on a design portfolio panel at QUT where members of the audience showcased their game design ideas and we got to see some incredibly creative bright sparks that are going to do wonders for the future of the game industry!

    Hey, that sounds really cool! I've never been to one of them myself, but I'd imagine it would be inspiring to meet all these developer cats throwing new ideas into the mix.

    MG: Yeah definitely! My quest in life is really to surround myself with creative people who fight tooth and nail to bring their ideas to fruition and getting out to these events is an amazing way to find and be around these people!

    Amen brother! So, for those of us who don't know, what exactly do you do in your job, Mick?

    MG: I pretty much get to be a kid all day!

    I have the awesome gig of being able to make music and sounds for the wonderful world of video games!

    This basically comes down to a game development company dropping me an email that says something like "Hey Mick, can you make us some cool music for this game with fast cars" and I'm like "HELLS YEAH!"

    Or "Hey Mick, can you make us some cool monster sounds for a creature that looks like an extra out of a Saw film" and I'm like "HOLY CRAP COOL YES!"

    It is a completely dynamic job and I'm always doing something different -- recording a different sound, trying to find a different melody, meeting different people, travelling to different parts of the world or having a chat with the awesome Daz from Stylus Monkey!

    Haha, too kind mate. What does the average work day for you look like?

    MG: Well, to give you an idea of what I might get up to in a day, I logged what I did every 30 minutes on a Tuesday...

    2:00am - The terrible sounding rooster alarm on my phone goes off and I pry myself from bed and splash some water on my face. I've got a tele-conference with one of THQ's US studios in 30 minutes time.

    2:30am - After going over notes and points for the meeting I start dialling the long line of numbers into the phone to start our teleconference.

    3:30am - Still on the phone...discussing a bunch of points to do with a new Marvel game that they're developing.

    4:00am - Finished the teleconference.

    The developers have a new level for this game that is ready for me to start scoring and they're going to send me a video of one of them playing through the level for me to write music to. Back to bed.

    6:00am - Alarm goes off and I pry myself from bed for the second time today.

    I fill up my big water-bottle that I take everywhere with me (I don't drink coffee...or anything else besides water really) and begin reading the news.

    6:30am - I spend an hour each morning reading game industry news.

    I don't concern myself with world news or "regular" news 'cause I find a lot of it depressing and negative and that's two emotions that I have to stay away from if I'm to comfortably handle a heavy workload.

    It's important to keep tabs on what's going on in the industry so I go through all the new announcements, rumors, teasers, trailers and interviews as well as browse LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other various social sites.

    I find some talk about a project that I'm keen on working on so I tap out an email to the developers and see if they'd like to make contact.

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