Gareth Coker grew up playing video games, and has a true knack for writing music which services the gameplay. It mainly comes down to his number one rule: composers have to play they game they work on.
In our hour-long discussion, we chatted about his early days playing piano, the hundreds of hours spend devouring numerous games, and how the story (not necessarily the music) makes certain titles so impacting.
Coker made a name for himself with the 2015 mega hit Ori and the Blind Forest. The success of this phenomenal Metroidvania style game was half attributed to Coker’s bold, lush, and wondrous score. The 2020 follow-up is just as dynamic, and the new game deals with different emotions. It’s a journey of discovery – namely about one’s purpose.
But while Wisps covers more ground in terms of themes for more characters, Coker delivers something that feels more intimate and sophisticated. It also features close to 3-and-a-half hours of music! It’s a tremendous effort that not just meets the bar set by Blind Forest, it kicks it up a few notches.
We’ve been excited to speak with him for a while as we’re fans. But I really wanted to clear the air after a mention of Ori and the Blind Forest in an article I wrote for The Hollywood Reporter (celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Matrix) left many fans of the game and soundtrack scratching their heads. The good news is that Gareth and I are friends now…so it all worked out.
We joined our good friend Bryan Kluger (of BoomStickComics) again on his podcast and spoke to Coker about a slew of topics, including, but not limited to, his love of the Alan Silvestri score to Forrest Gump, a 97 key piano called a Bösendorfer, the current state of video games, and his Top 5 scores. Enjoy!
You can find out more about Gareth at his official website, and keep up with him on BandCamp, YouTube, and Twitter. Also, I Am 8 Bit has put up pre-order links for the reissue of Blind Forest and the first release of Will of the Wisps. Grab them while you can!