Entrepreneur, music lover, player of video games, and futurist.
This is actually not an article about the game Abatron, nor is it about the original soundtrack. Today we are talking about Nils Sinatsch, the musician who created the soundtrack for the game Abatron. Nils reached out to me on twitter after I wrote the SPIRA article, with hopes of me covering his album, however after taking a deeper look at what he had to offer, I decided that I would write about the album, but the main subject should be none other than Nils himself.
Why? Because through all the years of radio and operating in the indie music industry, I learned to appreciate the type of musician that Nils is. Nils is the type of musician who does not stop working after the songs are complete. In fact, Nils is the musician who comes up with a plan and searches for opportunity before the music creation process even begins. Nils works hard, and Nils will continue to succeed. It takes some serious grit to find a game developer, convince them they need your music capabilities, make an entire album, and a year later still taking advantage of promotional opportunities to promote the work. Musicians who do this win.
Stan: When did you decide to become a musician, and why?
Nils: This is a question I always struggle with answering. There was not really a point where I decided to become a musician. It was more like…it just happened to be like that. I remember, when I was five years old, when I was still in kindergarden, my grandmother has sent me to a course to play the xylophone. My grandmother also had an old organ at home. You know, these old electric organs. My brother was always send away from it, because he couldn’t play, but I was allowed to play, because she said “he is trying to play”. Later, at the age of 12, I had the crazy idea to learn the trumpet, because some of my classmates were playing. I really sucked at first and my teacher hated me. He seriously did. But I made it into an orchestras by self-training. When I was 16…there was the point, where I was fed up by following the notes of famous, dead composers and that’s somehow where I decided to make my own music. That’s something I can determine pretty easily.
Stan: Right on, thank you for that. So getting to the present and important topic at hand, how did you come across the opportunity to create the soundtrack for Abatron?
Nils: That was pretty much around three years ago. You know, I’ve put my life into music. I didn’t learn anything, because I was pursuing dreams and at some point things had to happen. So I tried to find something, where my talents as a musician and producer are wanted. I started to apply to games that I would love to play myself and that would fit my rather dark style. One of those games was Abatron…and I applied the way I really wouldn’t suggest anyone to apply. Just email them and send the music. In 99,9 % it doesn’t work that way. I figured that a bit later and I do not apply that way anymore. But Abatron was the 0,1 % where it worked – luckily. So I found them on Indiedb and send them a message there. And the response was like “We’re always looking for good music” and never heard anything again until a half year later in November, where I found them again on Twitter. Same story, just “I reached out to you back in summer”. And that’s where we got the conversation going and I ended up doing the noise for Abatron.
Stan: That’s awesome! So essentially it worked because you were persistent and followed up and also, got lucky.
Nils: Yeah, I got really lucky. Usually you try to be a person before (that’s what I figured). Be nice to the devs, tell them how nice the game looks. And offer help. Offer help is essential. And people remember you later. It’s what I do now. But with Abatron…None of this. I just crushed through the door like an elephant, if you want.
Stan: In my experience, sometimes busting down doors is what it takes. Do you plan on making more video game soundtracks?
Nils: Yes, I do. I have learned a lot of things in my past 2 1/2 years with W3 Studios (the Abatron devs). Like working inside Unreal Engine 4, working with blueprints, the new audio engine is pretty sick btw. And I don’t want to waste those lessons. Abatron has also helped me to pursue some education in audio engineering, that I weren’t able to afford otherwise. However, like I said, I try to be more sensible towards the devs. You know. Being a person in first place, that can help. Then the composer. They get flooded with music on a weekly basis, I know that. I’ve seen that. But I’m also way more selective, when it comes to games. I try to not jump on the next good looking thing. I want to work on games, that are possible to finish up, I have had too many “dead” games already. In the near future, I’ll work on a game called “Lords Of Nether”, which is a Dungeon Keeper like game. And we’re around the first working prototype. The music is completely different from Abatron. More classic, more orchestral. I have also that dream to create a Medieval Music Mod for Rimworld. I love Rimworld and the Medieval Times mod.
Nils: My personal goal is to have my music played by a big orchestra one day. The more classical stuff of course. This is all I ever wanted. If that ever happens, I can die and say I had all I could have ever dreamed of. To achieve that goal. I’m diving back into music theory. I learn orchestrating like every week something new (I want to say thanks to Tawnie Olson, who has been a great help so far in that regard). Because if that day comes, I want to be ready. In terms of gamemusic, of course, getting more chances to prove my worth. My goal is to be an expert in this field at some point and to not have to worry about the next month.
Stan: That’s beautiful man. I know that you will achieve your goal, probably sooner than you think. Probably will need to come up with a new one!
Nils: Babysteps :). Luckily I don’t lack the creativity to create new goals.
Nils Sinatsch currently resides in Lower Saxony, Germany and is 30 years old. He works for W3 Studios as their sound man and strives to move the world through orchestra.
Abatron is a RTS/MOBA hybrid that released in March 2017. It’s currently in Early Access at $20.
You can check out Nils’s great soundtrack for the game below, and also be sure to check out his website www.neon-insect.de to see more of his work.