George Spanos has launched a new interviews section on GameSoundDesign.com. That category started with Chuck Russom, sound designer of videogames such as God Of War, Medal of Honor, Call of Duty and more. Great talk!
Game Sound Design: Taking a quick glance at your credit list, it’s obvious you have a passion for sound. What motivated you to become a game sound designer?
Chuck Russom: I think that growing up with Star Wars around, there was always that hightened awareness of sounds. I’ve probably been using my mouse to make the sounds of lightsabers, blasters, R2D2, and
Chewbacca, for most of my life. So that has always been there. Musically, I’ve played the drums since elementary school. I picked up guitar in high school. I was pretty sure going into college that I wanted to do something related to music. But I didn’t consider being a musician as a viable career option. That’s when I discovered recording engineering and production. It seemed like the perfect field for me to pursue.
For years I had been influenced by experimental/noise guitar music like Sonic Youth. I was fascinated by instruments making sounds that they were not meant to make. I was always buying new guitar effects
pedals, and exploring new sounds with my guitars.
Then I discovered Nine Inch Nails and became heavily influenced by The Downward Spiral album. I had never heard sounds like that before. I read articles about how Trent Reznor used Protools to process and mangle his sounds. I became really interested in using a computer to process and destroy music. This was well before Protools LE, Protools was still very expensive, and not something for the home user. I got a copy of Soundforge and just started messing around, recording things into the computer and editing/processing the sounds.
Then the music industry started to die. Suddenly the producer/engineer career path didn’t look very promising. My knowledge of Soundforge lead to my first game job offer. The game industry was really starting to grow, I took the job as something to do until I figued out what I wanted to do with my life. And I’ve been doing it ever since!