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 and this week I’m very pleased to have one of my oldest friends, and former housemates, join me – Andrew Peregrine. I’ve known Andy since the early 90’s (due to The Camarilla White Wolf’s Fan Club/LARP society for The World of Darkness games) and we soon became best mates and ended up house sharing for a bit whilst working on Valkyrie magazine (94/95). Andy launched himself in to freelance writing and has published material for more game systems and companies than I can count – as well as some of his own games through his Corone Design studio. Alongside his freelancing, and career in London West End Theatre’s as the Deputy Chief Electrician at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, he’s also currently Project Lead on Modiphius’ Dune: Adventures In The Imperium Roleplaying Game.
What are your favourite bands and genre?
Tricky one, as I’ve not really got ‘into music’ enough to focus on a particular area. In my younger days I was a big fan of Clannad (along with Enya and Capercaillie) not only after their Robin of Sherwood soundtrack but because all my other friends were into Iron Maiden (which I still don’t really like at all). I’m also a big fan of Tori Amos (although given her range I don’t always like every album) and Sarah McLaughlin.
Then of course I met you! There were plenty of times you’ve played me a track of some new band and I got to like them, and my partner Claire now often does the same. Although I never got quite as excited by ‘Sin with Sebastian’ as you did, I do owe a lot of my ‘vampire soundtrack music’ to you in terms of Nine Inch Nails, Gun, London after Midnight and (of course) Sisters of Mercy. The two big recent band finds for me have been The Eden House and Smoke Faeries, both of which I highly recommend.
I’d also like to offer a shout out to a couple of bands/singers I caught randomly browsing youtube and got really into. Violet Orlandi does some awesome cover songs, as does Kawehi who also does some great original work too.
These days I tend to listen to music in tracks rather than albums. I like to just listen to ‘the best radio station in the world’ with my whole library just set on random. I often hear a track at a club or at the theatre during a sound check, Shazam it, and decide to buy it. So there are a host of bands I’ve got just one or two tracks from but not ended up getting the whole album.
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?
I have had a woefully sheltered past when it comes to gigs. I saw Tori Amos with you many years ago which was one of my first and it took me over thirty years to see Clannad live. Given I also managed to see Clannad’s farewell gig recently after a long Covid postponement they thankfully didn’t get onto my ‘I wish I’d seen them’ list. I was very pleased to see Sarah McLaughlin play live at a Virgin Megastore promoting a tour, but never saw the tour. The best gig has to be Rammstein though, especially as they were being supported by Apokalyptica (the metal cello band). We couldn’t see much except the fire but the gig was still amazing. A close second was one of my most recent, seeing Gary Numan at the Roundhouse. Damn, he’s still got it.
My most recent was Smoke Faeries, another one postponed by covid, who were also very much worth waiting for.
Of special note has to be Cold in Berlin who I absolutely love seeing live but cannot bear listening to the album of. Weird. I think it’s the rawness, which somehow works live but just sounds like noise when recorded.
Turns out I’ve not been quite as bad about going to gigs as I thought, but I haven’t exactly packed them in. I do often go to the Whitby Goth Festival (in whatever form it currently is in) with my partner and we always have a lot of fun there. While I’m not sure if they count, we did do a couple of live video gigs, New Model Army and Smoke Faeries during Lockdown. I must admit, having your own sofa to sit on, snacks and drinks in easy reach and no queue for the bathroom made the whole experience more enticing!
Do you listen to music whilst writing/designing?
God no, I rather wish I could though. I can’t think with music and noise going on as I find myself listening to it and not doing anything. I also have a tendency to start singing along to them as well but we’ll not go there.
I can do repetitive tasks to it though, so looking through a layout or playing with Daz Studio (which I am a total beginner at) are things I can play music with. But as I’m not in the habit I tend to forget to put music on. Having said all that, music while driving is absolutely essential.
Do you use music whilst gaming?
Tricky one. I’ve known it work well, but I just find it distracting. Sound effects and soundscapes can be very useful but actual music less so for me.
What are your top five favourite albums?
These are always a nightmare because I’ll remember I missed my favourite album as soon as it’s too late. But for today I’d go with (in no particular order) –
Clannad – Macalla
Sarah McLaughlin – Fumbling Towards Ecstasy
Tori Amos – To Venus and Back (and Scarlet’s Walk)
Coconi – Venusian Butterfly
Snake River Conspiracy – Sonic Jihad
(and then I have to add, Enya “The Celts”, Smoke Faeries “Living with Ghosts”, and Eden House “Smoke and Mirrors” because 5 just isn’t enough!!)
If you were stranded on a ship hurtling through deep space, which ten tracks would you want to have with you?
So I get ten tracks but only five albums? Not fair! Still very tough though, as I made a shortlist of 30 tracks initially, all of which were essential.
As it’s basically tracks to probably die to, I’ll start with loud ones I can hear over my screams and them something mellow to calm down with and meet my fate peacefully! I’m also going to assume I’ve packed my five favourite albums as well to make this easier!
My name is Ruin – Gary Numan (Savage)
Head like a hole – Nine Inch Nails (Pretty Hate Machine)
I Miss the Misery – Halestorm (The Strange Case of…)
Done – The Band Perry (Pioneer)
Square Hammer – Ghost (Meliora)
Lovesong – Snake River Conspiracy (sorry Cure fans) (Sonic Jihad)
A Sorta Fairytale – Tori Amos (Scarlets Walk)
Cry me a river – Julie London
Lately – Lera Lynn (True Detective Soundtrack)
Let you go – Ruth Trimble (Things I want to say)
And a non-music question – and plans/projects for the coming year that you’d like to talk about?
As you might imagine, most of my life at the moment is spent on Arrakis, and we have plenty more Dune on the way. But I’m also really looking forward to seeing the Regency Cthulhu book I wrote coming out very soon from Chaosium. There is also quite a lot of Doctor Who stuff I’ve been working on for Cubicle 7 again too. Then I have a host of things I’ve been failing to get round to finishing for ages!