Roll7’s next skater-shooter, rollerdrome, is our first to feature an all-original soundtrack, featuring dark retro-futuristic synth beats from the incredible Electric Dragon. I spoke to Ian, the artist behind Electric Dragon, to discuss the process of working on the project and creating this brand new album.
Jemima Tyssen Smith: Hello Ian! I had the pleasure of working with you as you created the amazing brand new music of rollerdrome. It was such an exciting project for Roll7 because it’s the first time we’ve had a brand new soundtrack made just for one of our games. What attracted you to the project?
Electric Dragon: You summoned me!
Haha – that’s right! Yes, I was actually the first person to contact you – we initially only wanted one lead, right?
Yes, that’s just it – I didn’t know all the details of the game at the time, but what I saw was super interesting to me, and I actually offered to do some original work at the time -the. After that, I had a meeting with some team members and we discussed in more detail what we needed. I was in a rut with the album I was working on, and talking to the people at Roll7 really gave me a whiff of inspiration. I think it went really well for everyone involved, actually. I’ve always wanted to work on a game’s soundtrack, and Rollerdrome is an amazing game to get involved with.
I think when you talked about the possibility of original tracks that we felt were perfect since we wanted such a soundtrack-specific vibe. Could you talk a bit about that?
Yeah so the energy we were looking for was a soundtrack with the power of synthwave but a distinct 70s flavor. It felt like that might be pretty hard to balance because we really wanted to avoid going too disco also – the game has a darkness that needed to be picked up in the music. In the end, it finally came to pass quite naturally. Basically, I approached the soundtrack as if it was sort of a 70s look forward to it – very BBC “Tomorrow’s World”, you know? And then I was kinda inspired by a lot of different things: 70s pioneers like Vangellis, Wendy Carlos, Philip Glass, Giorgio Moroder, Tangerine Dream…lots of inspiration from lots of places!
Seeing all the cool kit you have is so inspiring – it’s really interesting. What attracted you to music and synthwave in the first place?
I had a Commodore 64 when I was a kid, and my uncle bought me software for it called “Utilisynth”. It was very complicated, but I managed to make awesome flickering noises, and from there I was kind of hooked! I continued to play guitar, I did house music in the 90s, I was even in a death metal band for a bit… but over time I came back to synths.
And we’re so glad you did! This project is obviously quite different from working on an album that isn’t so closely tied to a game and a concept – how did that work out for you?
Yeah, since the tracks have to adapt to the gameplay, I couldn’t really do breakdowns the way I could on a totally free album, so it was a really interesting challenge to take on. I also had to strike a balance between dystopian narrative and thrilling gameplay – the tracks needed grit, but they also needed a sense of fun. I think those moments of positivity really help to darken the dark parts of the game, which I really like. One thing I loved about the process – and it may sound silly – is that the narrative really helped me decide on the track titles. I always find it a bit difficult to name tracks, so it was such a relief to already have content there to rip titles from!
Finally, I have to ask: where does the name “Electric Dragon” come from?
It’s from a 2001 Japanese movie – Electric Dragon 80,000 V. It’s about two rivals who get electrocuted and then end up with superpowers…and they also play some serious guitar-destroying solos.
It looks so cool! I’m adding it to my watch list as we speak. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today and creating this epic soundtrack. I just can’t wait for people to experience it in the game.
Neither do I!
Rollerdrome is coming to PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 on August 16.