Interview with Kevin Osborne

My memories are clouded by the fact that it all turned sour, Rasputin failed to pay me and then started to use threatening techniques to get the work from me. It was probably OK in the beginning otherwise I wouldn’t have taken it on.

In those days you could literally ring around software houses and ask if they needed any work doing, many of them did. I don’t suppose there were that many musicians who had specific composition skills with the Amiga so it was a bit of a niche. I probably found Rasputin in a magazine, phoned them and sent them a demo cassette. I seem to remember them ringing and being very excited about the demo, they had a new project (Harold) and wanted me to work on it.

Yes, we never actually met but we spoke regularly on the telephone.

The first thing I created was the main theme, this had to be X minutes long I think possibly 5 which looking back on it was incredibly long. I got a brief from Alec about the game and possibly he sent me a rough demo or artwork, I can’t quite remember now. From that I came up with the main theme which went down well with both Rasputin and Alec.

Alec had specific themes for each level I.e. castle, forest etc. so I composed relevant music with that in mind. I guess I was quite free to experiment but I made sure the music matched the scene.

Level 1
The level was set around a castle, the tower etc. so I went for a medieval theme for this one.

Level 2
I don’t remember there being anything too specific I could mould the music around with this level so it’s just a nice tune :)

Level 3
Swamp, bog and quicksands, I went for a kind of Hillbilly based tune here with the banjo.

Level 4
Forest based level, panpipes always work well for this kind of scene.
Level 5
Mountains so I went for a Austrian Accordion theme, the music is actually based on the main theme.

Main Theme
The main theme is really something that came to mind when told about the game, something fun!

Skill & Crossbones
I think the idea of ‘Skull & Crossbones’ brought about a dark sounding piece of music for this.

Clobba Da Cobra
I used Indian sounds and a typically Indian scale as well.

Protracker, I can’t quite remember why I preferred this to others but I think it may have been that it had more options such as pitch-bend etc. You could play a sample from a specific point as well, I.e. It didn’t have to be from the beginning, I created the reverb effect by playing the sample from the middle directly after the sample had been played. For delay I would repeat the sample after it quieter and then again quieter still. LOL, you had to make your own FX back then!

Yes, size was a major issue, the samples were absolutely tiny. For ‘lead’ instruments there’s normally an initial sound such as a pluck or a blow (as with Saxophone), then straight after this I would loop the sound very tightly, normally as small as a tenth of a second. It wouldn’t sound too pretty on its own but Protracker allowed you to add vibrato and fading to the sounds as they were played so this would improve it.

The other restriction was that even though there were 4 channels for sound available, for the in-game music you could only use 3 as one needed to be kept free for the in-game sound FX.

Various ways, normally by recreating a sound and recording it then editing it to get a better effect. I would often mix the sound with others, speed them up, slow them down etc. I seem to remember after my girlfriend had had a bath, setting up the microphone in the bathroom protected by a carrier bag and then hurling a 5 litre bottle of coke into the bath water. It took me ages to clean-up afterwards but I captured a great splash sound!

Yes, most of which should be on the ‘Amiga Games that Weren't Site’! There was one centred around World War 1 and another around Horse Racing, both of the companies went bust before releasing them and I never got paid. I also worked with a guy who created a sampler, I think it was called Megalosound. I did the testing for it and created a piece of music using the sampler and software FX. When it came out there was no room on the disk for the music!

My memory is a bit sketchy right now but I seem to remember the Psygnosis ones being awesome, ‘Shadow Of the Beast’ etc. ‘Pinball Dreams’ was very good too. There were many others but none that are coming to mind right now.

Yes although I moved away from games music as I failed to be paid so many times! I have a website which details a lot of the releases I have worked on here: