My Favourite Game

Shura on alien con­tact, the Asari, and child­hood tem­per tantrums


The daugh­ter of a Rus­sian ac­tress and an English doc­u­men­tary maker, singer and pro­ducer Shura grew up around per­form­ers. Now the 24-year-old is about to re­lease her de­but al­bum and kicks off her first UK head­line tour in Septem­ber af­ter a spate of fes­ti­val ap­pear­ances. But de­spite this bur­geon­ing mu­si­cal ca­reer, one of her fore­most con­cerns is the ex­act re­lease date of Mass Ef­fect: An­dromeda. Your track White Light was inspired by an en­counter with an alien in Mass Ef­fect 2. What was the en­counter? I used to work in a post­pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity and one of the guys there was like, “You’re into science fic­tion; you’ve got to play Mass Ef­fect.” I hadn’t heard of it, and was a bit du­bi­ous, be­cause I’m so picky when it comes to games – I ei­ther com­plete them or I play them for two days and then never pick them up again. I started with ME2, be­cause they hadn’t yet re­leased the first one on PS3, and man­aged to time fin­ish­ing it with the re­lease of Mass Ef­fect 3. So I played 2 and 3 on the trot and it changed my life. I be­came ob­sessed with the Asari. I found them re­ally in­ter­est­ing as a race, and I loved the uni­verse the game cre­ated. Prob­a­bly since Stars Wars, it’s the most af­fect­ing sci-fi uni­verse I’ve ever en­tered. So much so that you tweeted your con­cern over An­dromeda re­leas­ing be­fore your al­bum’s fin­ished. [Laughs] I re­ally was con­cerned, be­cause I’m go­ing to have to play it im­me­di­ately. Hope­fully by the time it comes out, not only will my al­bum also be out, but I’ll have done the bulk of the tour­ing. I think I can maybe time the two weeks off I have be­tween al­bum one and al­bum two pre­cisely with Mass Ef­fect: An­dromeda. That’s my main aim in life, for those to co­in­cide. Oth­er­wise, it’s def­i­nitely com­ing on the tour bus, but I get so into it that I won’t be able to in­ter­act with any­one. I’ll just be head­phones on, cry­ing, laugh­ing, go­ing through these ex­tremes of emo­tion. What kind of games do you tend to take on tour with you? So far, we’ve mainly done fly­ing shows; we haven’t yet got to the stage where we go on a sleeper bus, so I can’t re­ally take that much in the way of games with me. What I have been play­ing is Mon­u­ment Val­ley, which I ab­so­lutely love. I love the idea of this lit­tle girl run­ning around with a dunce hat on, just try­ing to fig­ure shit out. That inspired a lyric in another song, ac­tu­ally! Even­tu­ally, I’ll be able to take my PlayS­ta­tion 4 on tour, and hope­fully by that time there will be some more games that I like, too. Noth­ing’s taken your fancy on PS4 yet? Well, I re­ally loved watch­ing Alien: Iso­la­tion, but it was too scary for me to ac­tu­ally play! My twin brother, Nick, loves scary games, so we kind of al­ter­nate be­tween watch­ing each other play dif­fer­ent games. I en­joyed watch­ing The Last Of Us, too, but so far there’s noth­ing that I’ve re­ally wanted to play. So I’ve got the hard­ware and I’m just wait­ing for the per­fect game, which is prob­a­bly ei­ther go­ing to be An­dromeda or Me­tal Gear Solid V. I’m a mas­sive Me­tal Gear fan as well, although it gets a lit­tle bit fright­en­ing for me some­times, be­cause I have a mas­sive pho­bia of be­ing chased. Your mu­sic is tinged with a nos­tal­gia for ’80s synth pop – do the games from your child­hood also feed into that el­e­ment of sen­ti­men­tal­ity? Oh, ab­so­lutely. I have a huge archive of sounds from videogames, and es­pe­cially when I’m do­ing remixes I’ll bor­row, say, the sound of a melee at­tack from Smash Bros. I am a very nos­tal­gic per­son, and videogames are a huge part of that. The start of White Light is re­ally heav­ily inspired by Gus­tavo San­tao­lalla’s mu­sic for The Last Of Us, and a great dream of mine is to one day be in­volved in the score of a game.

“Es­pe­cially when I’m do­ing remixes I’ll bor­row, say, the sound of a melee at­tack from Smash Bros”

Un­til then, what’s your favourite game? If I’m not be­ing bi­ased, be­cause I’m mas­sively into sci-fi, I think Oca­rina Of Time has to be the great­est game of all time. For what it did, when it did it, it was such an amaz­ing story. I re­mem­ber a few weeks be­fore the Christ­mas it came out, my dad said, “Shu, I’m re­ally sorry, but I couldn’t get it. It was sold out ev­ery­where.” We were in Dixons and I started hav­ing this mas­sive tantrum be­cause I was so up­set. And then on Christ­mas day it turned up, and I just suf­fered the most in­cred­i­ble wave of guilt com­bined with eu­pho­ria, which is quite an im­por­tant les­son to learn as a child.

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