The Walking Dead: No Man's Land Interview

Tuomas Kantelinen Interview - The Walking Dead: No Man's Land

Could you please tell us how you first got involved with No Man's Land?
Next Games is based in my native Helsinki, Finland so I knew some of the professionals working on this cool project - initially co-founder and creative director Michael Achren and CEO Teemu Huuhtanen asked me to join the adventure...

What is your favorite aspect of The Walking Dead?
The premise is so thrilling and full of drama, and at the same time it's probably mankind's worst nightmare. What would we do if that became a reality as we rely on so many things that would no longer be readily available... This is what makes it such a great concept, and a scary on too because it helps us explore some of our worst fears, from the safety of our living rooms...

How did it feel switching things up and writing music for a game instead of a film?
It's very interesting to write music for different mediums as there always are very specific needs - I recently composed two ballets and had to learn that the music has to start before the actual 'dancing bits' because we have to have time for the dancers to walk and take their places onstage. In the same way, writing for a game was another learning experience where some of the music has to be loops that tighten or relax the atmosphere depending on the player's choices etc.

Have you worked on other games?
This was the first experience in game music for me, but am looking forward to another game music gig!

How do you find the right balance of the music to make sure it fits in the scene without being too overpowering?
TWD:No Man's Land being a mobile game, it's even more important to not be too loud or distracting as people could be playing it in the bus or an airplane and still have to be aware of the world around them, so it's not necessarily as immersive as playing at home with a full sound system, for instance. We tried different things for each scene and chose a sparse and minimalistic approach with nods to film music without being too full-on or orchestral.

How long did it taking working on this particular project? (and how does that compare to working on a typical film)?
We did several rounds of music as the company was still creating new levels and features for the game. All in all the project took about 7-8 months, but we met every couple of months to watch new versions of the game and finally wrapped around September 2015. It definitely took less time to compose as a feature, but the process was spread across a longer time.

After working on No Man's Land, would you consider working on other gaming related projects?
Totally, it was a great experience, also due to the people creating and working on the game, who were so passionate and devoted to bringing this project to the show's fans around the world!

Wow! You have scored music for over 45 feature films. That's awesome! How did you first get your start?
I was still studying composing at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, when I met some film school students who needed music for their shorts. When those played at festivals, I was hired to work on a couple of features and quickly started composing for international co-productions. At that time in Finland and Scandinavia there wasn't that much orchestral film music and it was also a time when lots of period and war time movies were made that happened to require a cinematic score.

What advice would you give others that are interested in pursuing a career in music?
Go for it! There is a lot of competition but in the end no one else can make the same music, so there is a niche somewhere for everyone!

Could you also tell us a little about your recent film projects?
My wife and I have recently adopted a little girl from India and funnily enough I have been offered 3-4 films from India, so I have been enjoying visiting Mumbai and working for Bollywood producers and directors. I also have a couple of Scandinavian features coming up, as well as two U.S. films - one is an indie drama and the other one is a more actiony movie.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Every day I have to pinch myself to believe how lucky I am to be making a living with what I truly love. I compose concert music as well, but writing for films is my passion and I enjoy every single project, as diverse as they are!

Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us!
Thank you for your time!

The Walking Dead: No Man's Land - Official Website