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The making of ‘Alan Wake 2’’s “pop songs for weirdos”

The making of ‘Alan Wake 2’’s “pop songs for weirdos”

In 2010, Treatment Leisure wrote a narrative inside a narrative. Titled Alan Wake, the psychological thriller adopted its titular creator by way of the mysterious city of Vivid Falls, stricken by his spouse’s disappearance and a haunted novel he doesn’t keep in mind writing. After 13 years, its long-awaited sequel Alan Wake 2 is sort of right here – and through its creation, artistic director Sam Lake had only one query. “Can we be extra formidable?”

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The reply is a convincing sure. In Treatment’s return to Vivid Falls, fictional novelist Alan Wake is on a reality-bending mission to put in writing his method out of the nightmarish Darkish Place he’s been trapped in for 13 years. In the meantime, FBI agent Saga Anderson is investigating Wake’s disappearance and a string of ritualistic murders, however finds herself caught in a horror story of the creator’s making.

Alan Wake 2 is healthier in comparison with David Lynch’s surrealist Twin Peaks sequence than its contemporaries within the survival horror style. Treatment’s formidable story can’t be contained to only one medium, as we’ve seen from its unsettling live-action scenes and ties to other Remedy games like supernatural shooter Management. Now, the studio has even teamed up with Finnish manufacturing home Fried Music to create licensed music for every chapter of Alan Wake 2. That features the rousing anthem ‘Broad Awake’, and dark-pop observe ‘Observe You Into The Darkish’ – the latter of which NME can reveal solely beneath.


Whereas ‘Broad Awake’ revolves round Wake’s imprisonment in The Darkish Place, ‘Observe You Into The Darkish’ explores Anderson feeling torn between her household life and job as an FBI profiler, which she excels at resulting from an inherited supernatural energy. The lyrics for each are impressed by poetry that Sam Lake wrote. Talking from a studio in Helsinki, Lake and members of Fried Music inform NME in regards to the two-year course of to carry Alan Wake 2’s music to life.

“It’s been a very long time coming,” says Lake, pointing to Poets Of The Fall – Finnish rockers who play songs as fictional band Old Gods Of Asgard within the first sport. “We’re working with Previous Gods Of Asgard once more [In Alan Wake 2], however we needed to do rather more and have much more ambition. Fried Music gave us that chance.”

All of it started with a mysterious songwriting camp, the place musicians from everywhere in the world have been flown to Finland, with no clue they might be soundtracking Alan Wake 2 till they arrived. “One of many hardest issues was getting folks to return right here with out realizing what they have been signing up for, and promoting this concept with out telling anybody,” says Teemu Brunila, a songwriter who helped arrange the camp.

Credit: Epic Games, Fried Music.
Sam Lake. Credit score: Epic Video games, Fried Music.

The one rule, Lake informed musicians on the camp, was that their lyrics needed to inform Alan Wake 2’s story. All the pieces else was as much as them – an method that his collaborators discovered refreshing. “Normally you’re simply chasing hit singles,” says Brunila, who has co-written and produced for the likes of Kylie Minogue and David Guetta. “It’s at all times up-tempo and uplifting. No one ever asks for haunting downtempo stuff and bizarre shit. If they are saying ‘We wish it to be loopy’ and also you give them one thing loopy, they are saying: ‘Why did you give me one thing loopy!?’”

“Type-wise, there weren’t any restrictions,” agrees Antti ‘RZY’ Riihimäki, who labored on ‘Broad Awake’. “There wasn’t something we couldn’t do – it was actually inspiring.”

“The temporary that Sam gave us was so nicely finished and coherent,” says Jurek Reunamäki, a singer-songwriter who grew up taking part in Treatment video games. “For me, it was very easy to leap proper in. The poems have been actually fantastically written, darkish, and tremendous cool, so it was such a treasure trove of fabric to begin with.”

Alan Wake 2. Credit: Epic Games, Remedy Entertainment.
Alan Wake 2. Credit score: Epic Video games, Treatment Leisure.


It was a extremely collaborative course of. In notes for ‘Observe You Into The Darkish’ and its early demos, Lake shares poems he wrote about Anderson, together with themes and musical inspirations he needs to pursue. “Assume Julee Cruise,” reads one line, referencing the late singer behind Twin Peaks’ theme tune. As a part of that back-and-forth course of, ‘Broad Awake’ was initially created with a feminine vocalist, but it was modified to a male singer on the request of Treatment, bringing it nearer to Wake’s perspective.

“It’s actually inspiring to put in writing for such excessive characters as a result of while you’re doing music for pop artists, they are often actually excessive however they’re nonetheless extra in contact with regular life and issues,” says Reunamäki. “Whereas with the characters on this sport, their issues are excessive and fairly heavy. These characters are twisted, bizarre, and excessive. It’s such a releasing expertise to put in writing pop songs for these weirdos!”

Fried Music co-founder Jukka Immonen agrees, pointing to the day Lake launched everybody to Alan Wake‘s universe. “It was like a shifting practice – everyone needed to leap in,” he recollects. “When [musicians] noticed what they have been writing for, everyone knew their music needed to be courageous sufficient to suit the sport.”

For Lake, his collaboration with Fried Music is the end result of concepts 13 years within the making. “There was quite a lot of pent-up power after making an attempt to make this sport occur [for so long],” he says. “It’s been a protracted, winding highway to get right here. Now that we’re lastly in a position to make it, we’ve put all the pieces on the road, pushed it, and been formidable.”

He additionally believes the multimedia method will make Alan Wake 2 extra immersive. “We’ve all of those mediums current in our actual world and lives,” he says. “We’re making a fictional world and immersing gamers into it, and having these completely different mediums play a component in it makes it deeper and extra plausible. In some methods, it makes the sport really feel fragmented, with the issues that you just uncover and by which order you uncover them.”

With simply weeks to go till Alan Wake 2 launches, the temper at Treatment is already celebratory. “This was within the making for years, and we’ve lastly acquired it collectively,” says Treatment’s principal audio designer Ville Sorsa. “I’m simply ecstatic that we’ve managed to tug this off.”

Credit: Epic Games, Fried Music.
Credit score: Epic Video games, Fried Music.

At Fried Music, the thrill is contagious. Riihimäki and Reunamäki, each avid gamers, are thrilled to have performed a component in Alan Wake 2, whereas Brunila says the songwriting camp reignited his ardour for music.

“Simply earlier than the camp, I used to be not loving music the way in which I used to,” he admits. “As an expert songwriter, I’m simply chasing hits day-after-day. I’ve had profession, however I [was asking] ‘Have I peaked?’ Then we ran this camp, and it was wonderful. It opened the floodgates and ignited my creativity once more.”

As for Lake, the ensuing music has been “all the pieces [he] might have hoped for,” with seven tracks confirmed for the sport’s chapters. Over 23 tune demos have been created within the course of, and when requested if any of them might ever see the sunshine of day, Lake performs coy. “I assume we’ll have to attend and see,” he says, as his friends within the studio burst into realizing laughter. For followers who’ve been ready 13 years for Treatment’s return to Vivid Falls, what’s a bit of longer?

Alan Wake 2 launches on October 27 for PC, PS5, and Xbox Sequence X|S. 


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