Most interviews with games industry figures tend to be about our latest game or “hot new thing” we’re working on. But what about the people behind the games we play and, hopefully, love? Little is said, or explored, of the actual person’s tastes, or how they got into the hobby, etc.
Face The Music is a new column in which I aim to explore a side that is rarely explored – music tastes of the people behind the games we play. What do they listen to? Bands they love? Greatest gig? Do they use music whilst they work, or whilst they game?
Each week I’ll be chatting to someone in the games industry about their musical tastes. This week one of my favourite game designers, whom I’ve had the privilege of working with on Draco Studios‘ Eldritch Century RPG, joins me under the spotlight. Jerry Grayson is the owner of Khepera Publishing, and designer of a number of games such as HELLAS: Worlds of Sun and Stone, and GODSEND Agenda, as well as author of numerous tabletop role-playing books.
What are your favourite bands and genre?
Bands are easy, but genres are a bit murkier. I’m a fan of music – period. If it sounds good, I listen to it. Patsy Cline to Frodus. I love the variety of sonic art available today and with apps like Spotify, I’m able to dabble in a lot of different genres.
If I look at what my go-to genres are, I will say, Reggae, Punk, and Hip Hop.
As for bands, that’s a bit easier. Bad Brains, Fishbone, Prince, and Bob Markley and the Wailers.
How many gigs have you been to? What was your first/last? Your favourite? What band/performer have you never seen live but would love to (or have loved to if the band/performer have broken up, retired, or died)?
I’m not sure how many live performances I’ve been to. More in my younger years, not so many now.
My first concert was INXS back in the 80s.
I’ve seen Fear live, Nine Inch Nails, Prince, Fishbone, Bad Brains, Pixies, Michael Rose, the Abyssinians, Steel Pulse, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, L7,. A tribe Called Quest, LL Cool J, etc.
I would have loved to have seen The Clash, and Bob Marley at the height of their power.
Do you listen to music whilst writing/designing?
I do. I mostly listen to Binaural music, and instrumentals while concentrating on stuff. Lots of Thom Yorke at the moment.
I also use music to get me in the right state of mind. Sometimes to mellow out (heavy reggae dub, bossa nova), and sometimes to pump me up (industrial).
Do you use music whilst gaming?
Sometimes/ I use John carpenter soundtracks, lots of World Music, indigenous cultural music depending on what I’m running.
What are your top five favourite albums?
Top Five? That’s a big time Sophie’s Choice. Who do I leave out and what do I put on the pedestal? Here I go, in no particular order. And for the record, this could all change tomorrow, depending on my mood…
Pay to Cum – Bad Brains
Truth and Soul – Fishbone
Exodus – Bob Marley
1999 – Prince
Fear of a Black Planet – Public Enemy
If you were stranded on a ship hurtling through deep space, which ten tracks would you want to have with you?
The Meek – Bad Brains
War – Bob Marley
Something in the Water – Prince
Follow the Leader – Eric B & Rakim
Across the Universe – The Beatles
Bolero – Ravel
Rainbow Children – Prince
God love only you – Skunk Anansie
Empire Ants – Gorillaz
Umi Says – Mos Def
And a non-music question – any plans/projects for the coming year that you’d like to talk about?
Yes! I’m working on my RPG GODSEND Agenda. A game of post-modern myth. What do you do with the power of a god?
You can find out more on the Khepera Publishing website.