Tuesday, May 10, 2011

An Interview with Magnus Pålsson

Magnus Pålsson

What's up, world? Today I interviewed a man named Magnus Pålsson. Interesting name, eh? Probably only because I live in the states, and he doesn't.

Magnus may be most known as his online alias, SoulEye. He is a digital music composer and has made music for numerous popular independent games, including VVVVVV by Terry Cavanagh and Garden Gnome Carnage by Daniel Remar. I first heard of him several years ago because one of his chiptunes, "Embrace", came as one of several examples with the digital music-creating program MadTracker 2.

I've had conversations with him via email at least three times before, but at least the second time he didn't remember me from the first. I don't blame him, because the first time I never mentioned anything worth remembering.

Anyway sit back, relax, drink Dr. Pepper, and read on.


Reuben Horst: So how has your life been recently, Magnus?

Magnus Pålsson: Good! I just went to Nordic Game and met a bunch of nice indie people, played some games, had some beers, and listened to a couple of entertaining talks.

RH: How do you pronounce your last name (sorry, just had to ask)?

MP: Paul-son will suffice.

RH: How old were you when you started making digital music?

MP: Oh boy, I think I was like... 10? My dad got one of the first portable computers called Epson HX-20, and that one could generate one beep at a specific length and pitch at a time. Fascinating to me, annoying as hell for anybody else around.

RH: So how old exactly are you now?

MP: I'm 34!

RH: What are your favorite digital music artists, and what are your favorite actual bands?

MP: I'm going to have to go for some (oftentime old) game music here... Koji Kondo, Martin Galway, David Whitaker, Jake Kaufman, Chris Hülsbeck... And more contemporary, well... I don't get many hangups on bands like one would think, but I do enjoy certain songs to bits, like recently I quite enjoyed "Jag Kommer" by Veronica Maggio, so much so that I made a cover of it quite in detail.

RH: What are your favorite hobbies that are not related to music?

MP: Just like any other dude I like playing games, socializing, watching movies... And, you gotta get down on Fridays. FUN FUN FUN FUN! (For those who got that reference: I'm sorry. For those who didn't: I envy you!)

(Unfortunately, I got the reference...)

RH: What game’s soundtrack that you’ve made are you the most satisfied with?

MP: That has got to be VVVVVV. It's got some of my best songs I ever made in the past in it.

RH: Of the games that you have made music for, which is your favorite to play?

MP: VVVVVV is the best, but hasn't got as much replay value as Garden Gnome Carnage. Special mention goes to Space Phallus (the first level only).

RH: You made a highly-respected soundtrack for Terry Cavanagh’s game VVVVVV (as you just mentioned). If he were to ever make a sequel, would you be interested in creating the soundtrack for it?

MP: Thanks, and yes! I'd love to. Terry will not be making a sequel though, so if anybody feels compelled to carry on the legacy, you could talk to Terry. Just don't tell him I sent you. He'd kill me. He'd make a maze of spikes for me to run through. No, really.

RH: Are you working on any large projects right now?

MP: There's Mega Man 2.5D, Groove Motion, and a CD of my own to go for.

RH: What’s your favorite brand of soda?

MP: Dr. Pepper! I have a sweet spot for things that smell like glue and soap...

RH: Thanks for your time, man.

MP: Sure! If you have some follow-up questions, feel free to fire away!


There was only one follow-up question, and I'll give a free copy of the VVVVVV soundtrack to whoever can guess which one it is . . . just kidding! I don't even own the soundtrack myself yet, though I certainly plan on getting it within the next few days, because it's so awesome.

Thanks again to Magnus for letting me interview him, even though his life is filled-up and he has hundreds of unread emails. He's probably tired of me telling him thanks by now, but oh well, he's just that awesome.


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