My Favourite Game Trevor De Brauw
TPelican’s lead guitarist on the pressures of parenthood, Indiana Jones’ videogame legacy, and Dead Space 3’s soundtrack
revor De Brauw is a busy man. Perhaps best known as the guitarist for, and a co-founding member of, Chicago post-metal band Pelican, he has also found the time to play in Tusk, Bee Control, Teith, Let’s Pet and Pelican offshoot Chord. On top of all that, he works as a publicist at independent music PR firm Biz 3, recently became a father, and began playing live shows under his own name again last year. We catch De Brauw just before a recording session to talk about the games he enjoys in his limited free time, and why Raiders Of The Lost Ark hasn’t changed with age. With so many projects on your plate, and now a son, how on Earth do you find any time to play games? [Laughs] I would say gaming was my hobby until my son was born, but since then there’s been a major drop off, unfortunately. I did download an Atari 2600 emulator last night, however, which I managed to spend ten minutes with! I downloaded it because I was thinking about this interview, and my history with gaming, and that was the system I had my earliest gaming memories with. I was trying to remember how Atari’s Raiders Of The Lost Ark played. Turns out it is as perplexing now as it was when I was a boy; I still can’t get past the third screen. Was Raiders Of The Lost Ark the first game you played, or at least started? I can’t really differentiate between which games came earliest during my time with the Atari. My older brothers had the system in the house, and so it was just something that I picked up gradually over time. But I loved Asteroids and Superman, and the 2600 version of Donkey Kong. Your track, Ephemeral, rounds off Dead Space 3. How did that come about? It’s as simple as [EA] approaching us. If I’m totally honest, we hadn’t heard of the game before that point. But we looked into it and played the game, and it was pretty cool, so we went for it. Did being on the game’s soundtrack gain you any fans? It definitely seems to have exposed us to a different audience, which is really cool. That’s something that you hope for when you place a song somewhere – whether it’s a film or compilation CD – that you’re reaching people who wouldn’t have heard your band otherwise. It certainly seems to be paying off. We keep hearing from people now [who] heard of our band through the game. Pelican’s music lends itself well to soundtracks. Have you ever considered scoring for films or other games? Yeah, I would say absolutely. It’s something we used to talk about a lot years and years ago, but we just never received any offers! Now we’re sort of at a phase in the band where it’s not full time any more and we all have jobs outside of the band, so it would probably be a lot more difficult to do something like that these days, but we’re definitely open to it. When we were having our early successes, we were like, ‘It’s interesting that this band is instrumental; I wonder if people are going to contact us about putting our songs in movies and games?’ Unfortunately, until Dead Space 3, nobody did [laughs]. What’s your favourite game, and why? This is a tough one, but what I’ll say is that my favourite game of all time is Asteroids. But if I were to go play a game right now, I would want to play one of the Katamari games. I find those games completely, mind-fuddlingly awesome and original. There’s something about them that creates almost this completely different view of gaming. It’s something that’s so innocent and weird, something completely bizarre that takes you into another world. But then also the fact that your sense of scale changes as you play the game I think is a really interesting programming feat as well. When you begin a level, you’re tiny, and there’s this overwhelming world all around you. But as you continue to move through the level, you become this overwhelming thing and everything around you is sort of small. It’s just great.
“There’s something about Katamari that creates almost this completely different view of gaming”
With its slow builds and huge crescendos, you could almost make a comparison between Katamari’s level structure and Pelican’s music. [Laughs] I’d never made a connection between Pelican and Katamari before, but thank you for taking me there!