presented by the Sound Design Network and the Video Game Music Club
Join us for an interview with composer Rich Vreeland B.M '09 and sound designer Akash Thakkar B.M. ’12, two Berklee alumni who worked in tandem on the hit indie game Hyper Light Drifter. Developed by Heart Machine, this 2d action role-playing game pays homage to classic 8-bit and 16-bit video games, and is considered by its lead developer Alex Preston to best resemble a combination of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Diablo. Preston originally launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the game’s development for approximately $27,000 but ultimately raised more than $600,000, allowing the hiring of a full team of visual artists and audio specialists.
Pulsing, ambient, nostalgic, oozing — these are some of the unique qualities critics have used to describe the film and video game music of Berklee alumnus Rich Vreeland, who is better known by his alias Disasterpeace. He is behind the recent and bold score to the horror film It Follows. He's gained a following from the independent film community, including positive reviews from Filmmaker Magazine, Moviepilot, and Entertainment Weekly. Rich also comes from a video game scoring background, and while he has credits for Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien and Hyper Light Drifter, he is perhaps best known for the 8-bit ambient soundtrack of FEZ, a popular independent game that was featured in Indie Game: The Movie. Vreeland began his college career in 2006 at Berklee College of Music and graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor’s of Music in Music Synthesis. Eventually, he learned of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Game Lab and took advantage of the internship opportunities there. The work and dedication Vreeland puts into all of his opportunities has led him to the impressive portfolio he has at such a young age.
Based in Seattle, WA, Akash has extensive experience in the indie game scene as a composer and sound designer, with credits including Hyper Light Drifter, Infinifactory, Ironclad Tactics, Gnomoria, Freedom Planet, City Quest, and more. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Akash has given talks at dozens of PAX events, MAGFest, PopCap Games, TEDx, and more. He also teaches as a game audio professor at the Seattle Film Institute and is constantly looking for new ways to spread his knowledge within the game industry.