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Game Music

A Conversation With the 'Splodin' Josh Mosley

A Conversation With the ‘Splodin’ Josh Mosley

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Joshua Mosley, composer of ''Splosion Man

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of having a lengthy conversation with ‘Splosion Man composer, Joshua Mosley (just a week after having his wisdom teeth removed, ouch), and learned about the genesis of the music for a character that “….has no sense of right and wrong,” says Mosley. We covered a wide array of topics from ‘Splosion Man to favorite game music – even to the dreaded “Games As Art” debate! (And, yes, you silly gooses, we talked about DONUTS and how everybody loves them…) Wait….Mosley doesn’t own an XBOX?!

By now, I’m sure most all of your little hearts have ‘sploded with joy watching our favorite new hero, ‘Splosion Man, stick his arms out like an airplane and ‘splode evil scientists into pieces of deli meat. As I said in my review, I feel the music in Twisted Pixel’s ‘Splosion Man has much to do with the game’s deserved ridiculously high review scores and overall success.

‘Splode on….

Although ‘Splosion Man is the most publicized and well-known of the games Mosley has scored, it marks his twelfth entry into the canon of video game scores. Using only a piece of concept art (seen below) and an animatic of the character, Mosley’s work on the score began. “Since [‘Splosion Man] is such a character, I did the score based on ‘Splosion Man and who ‘Splosion Man is,” explains Mosley, “…and that’s kind of what I came up with. He’s making his way out of this lab – and not really in a stealthful way – obviously, and I wanted to capture some tension, some action, but still do the fun things,” Mosley says. “The character is kind of a schizophrenic, crazy guy, so I didn’t approach it with any genre or any sort of [specific] way.”

The first time Josh Mosley actually got a chance to play ‘Splosion Man was at E3 where he explained to me he got his “butt kicked in front of a lot of people”. Mosley’s next-gen gaming is limited to the Playstation 3, but promises to remedy this soon.

One of the most memorable tunes heard in ‘Splosion Man is the infamous Donut Song. When I asked Josh about this, I was completely taken back when he confessed that the song is not his. “Matt Chaney, one of the developers at Twisted Pixel wrote that song. You can actually go to splosionman.com and download the track for free,” he said. “I didn’t hear about it at all till I played it and I said, ‘This is FANTASTIC.’ That’s what’s cool about Twisted Pixel – they take risks and are really fun to work with.”

Growing up with a musical grandfather (who played with Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme, and others), Mosley credits him and his “musical family” for his musical upbringing. A trumpet player since the age of 12, Mosley tracked all the horn work himself in ‘Splosion Man. He describes himself as a “huge fan” of Harry Gregson-Williams, John Powell, James Newton Howard. When I asked him about game composers specifically, he went no further than the legend, Nobuo Uematsu (check out the in-depth coverage of Uematsu HERE at OSV!), and talked about the great influence of the Final Fantasy games.

He describes his orchestra as: “two flute players, a guitar player, a bass player on some parts, and five vocalists stacked twelve times to create the choir feel.”

Because I am a capricious jerk, I could not help but ask Josh Mosley about the age-old debate of games as art. I cited the recent spat between Destructoid’s Anthony Burch and God of War creator David Jaffe. Mosley took the floor and explained:

“Games are absolutely an artistic medium. I mean, you can’t look at games like ‘Splosion Man and say there’s no art in that. You can’t look at games like Final Fantasy and God of War and says it’s just a bunch of technical stuff. It’s hugely creative. I think games are doing better than films [in this regard]. As far as emotional content, there are obviously different kinds of emotions beside tear-jerking. Even games like Assassin’s Creed – I got so caught up in the world and the environment the developers created. Is there room for more content and drama? Sure. It’ll come there. Games – like films – are an escape and sometimes you want to play an assassin or a crazy lab experiment gone wrong. There’s definitely room for the emotional content to grow.”

"Put your dukes up.  ALL of them."

So, what’s next for the 29-year-old Josh Mosley? Apart from scoring the feature film, Risk For Honor, he explains: “I have a sea of titles coming up – a racing game, a project with [omitted] that I can’t talk about, and another project from Twisted Pixel that I can’t really talk about, either. All I can say is if you think ‘Splosion Man was something, you have no idea…” Consider me intrigued!

Stay tuned for more coverage of all things Josh Mosley here at OSV as he is sure to come back and very soon!

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