Meet The Maestros
Greetings, Toons of The World, and welcome to this month's issue of Backstage: Corporate Clash! This month, we’ll be highlighting all of the hard work that goes into creating a music track for Corporate Clash, as we introduce to you all our three main composers on the team! Before we go any further, however, do note that the next issue of Backstage: Corporate Clash will be published within the next few days, with the main purpose of addressing common concerns about Corporate Clash moving forward, as well as progress on our long anticipated v1.1.0 update. Stay TOONed for that, but in the meantime, it’s time to introduce the colorful conductors, the magnificent musicians, the Corporate Clash composers themselves! We’ll let them take over for the majority of the remainder of this post.
First off, is the one and only Masterfrasca. He’s the lead composer for Corporate Clash, and has composed a majority of the game’s soundtrack, as well as all of the music for our upcoming v1.1.0 update. Straight from the man himself, here’s how he got into music, and then into Clash!:
“Originally I’d have to say that my high school band class first started my love for playing music that wasn’t the classic rock my parents tended to listen to, and Jazz Band got me into music composition and creating my own melodies and pieces.
In Jazz Band, I had at one time been given a project to create a blues song in Garage Band on my school’s computer using premade midi loops. I enjoyed messing with them and modifying them to fit into a 12 bar blues, but I figured that I wanted to try to do more and attempted to find a Windows equivalent to the program. After a few nights of searching, I stumbled across Mixcraft (at the time, Mixcraft 4), and started to play around with the program, learning everything at my own pace.
4 years, 7 “albums” and 2 editions of Mixcraft later, I found the Toontown community that I never knew existed. I started making Toontown-based tracks from a rip of the midi files I found via r/Toontown and really enjoyed trying to fit the style of the original game. In late October of 2017 I was approached by the then-lead-composer of the Project Altis crew and offered a position among the staff. I’ve been with the team that soon grew to become the Corporate Clash Crew ever since.
I have an interesting process when it comes to writing my songs. Depending on the requested material, I either try to draw inspiration either from the original musical scoring of the requested or from the visuals/mood that is accompanied from them. I’ll go find an instrument that I think fits that mood and play around until I find a melody or riff that really appeals to me. Then I go back and expand upon that riff with a harmony, drums, or supplemental instruments. I’ll go back and do this process until I have something resembling a coherent melody.
Typically, but not always, the last step is to write out instrument solos into the song. I do this in one of two ways, either I physically play the solo ad-libbed on one of the instruments I own (sax, clarinet, and piano) or I sing what I hear in my head. After doing this I’ll go back and listen to the recording and try to rewrite what was recorded into midi format. The whole process takes about an hour or two per minute of written music.
Musical References are everywhere in my tracks. If you listen closely, you might recognize other songs in the melodies and backgrounds of some of the Toontown tracks you hear all the time. Examples of these references include Halo: CE’s “Walk in the Woods”, Roger Rabbit’s Cartoon Spin Theme, Chicago’s “Roxie”, The Haunted Mansion theme, and Westminster Chimes.”
Grab some headphones or turn up those speakers, as Masterfrasca has also been kind enough to provide several examples of both scrapped and alternative versions of existing tracks. Give ‘em a listen! There also may just be a snippet of the next big thing in here...
Now then, the Corporate Clash soundtrack wasn’t quite a one man band effort either, and Corporate Clash additionally as of the the time of writing this has two other composers. First up is PurestMelody, responsible for music tracks such as the April Toons theme you all may have heard recently. Take it away, Melody!
“At the request of my mother, I joined a children's chorus when I was about seven. At the time, I didn't particularly enjoy it, because I felt like I was forced to do it. Music has run in my family for hundreds of years, so it was only natural that I would carry on the tradition. But if I was going to do music, I wanted to do my own thing instead of do what people wanted me to do. When I was in 5th grade, I joined my school band, moving up into my middle school wind ensemble, to my high school jazz and marching bands. I began composing as a hobby, just because I had this constant flow of ideas flooding my brain every second. So I guess the thing that got me into music was continuing my family tradition while exploring my own avenues. I've been a part of the Corporate Clash Crew since February of 2018.
I posted a bit of an arrangement I had done of the original Toontown soundtrack on Reddit, and Ricky contacted me and asked me if I wanted to join the crew. It was a dream come true, honestly. I use several different softwares, and each of them has a distinct job. Firstly, I use MuseScore to write the sound files themselves. It has a decent sound, pretty robotic, but listeners can still hear that it's supposed to be an orchestra. If I want to add sound effects, I put the file into GarageBand as an MP3 file, selecting the space that I want to add to. If I want to make it sound like a real live orchestra, then I save the file as a MIDI file (which is a specific sound file that tells the computer what notes to play specifically), put it into Logic Pro X, and then use a fourth program called EastWest Quantum Leap Symphonic Orchestra. This makes it take quite a bit longer, but it's worth it in the end. The amount of time it takes to finish a track can vary greatly on several different factors: how much free time I have, if I have an idea for what kind of sound I want, what I want to do with the file once it's completed, and how focused I am on it. I remember finishing a 3-minute piece in less than three days, but also finishing a 2- minute piece in about two and a half weeks.
For the first piece, I had a lot of free time and inspiration, and was completely focused on it. For the second, I was focused on some occasions, but I kind of went into it blindly and didn't really have an idea as to what I wanted it to sound like. I was satisfied in the end, but it took me too long. On average, it takes about a week to a week and a half to create a track that I'm satisfied with. Something interesting about my tracks is that I like a very prominent melody with a rather formulaic introduction. For example, if you listen to the April Toons' Week theme, you'll notice that the melody (played on the kazoo by yours truly) had an eight-bar introduction, and then came in and was the focus of everything. It seems a bit basic and cliché, but I like it, and it comes naturally to me.
I've had a few tracks that didn't end up making it into the game. The first was something that I wrote out of excitement for working for this team, a sort of "Toontown Overture". It basically takes the original Toontown theme, jazzes it up a bit (no pun intended), and adds a fuller orchestra to it. I'm proud of it, it's just never found a place in the game yet. There are also some earlier versions of the April Toons Week theme that I had to work on a bit more, to make them a bit more happy. Listen closely, you'll hear the difference.”
Attached below, you can listen to all of the tracks PurestMelody has made mention to here!
Last but not least, is barbarian310! He’s been responsible for many holiday related tracks as well, such as Toonseltown‘s main themes, as well as the soundtrack for Count Erclaim’s spooooooky mansion! The floor is all yours, Barbarian!
“Hey there, Toons! It’s me, Barbarian, aka barbarian310, aka Prince Peanut. I’m one of the composers on the team, and helped to create a lot of the holiday music, my personal favorite being “All I Want for Christmas is Clash,” which was the intro theme for the Christmas update. I thought I’d share a little bit about myself for those of you wondering. I first got into music when I was in middle school. My first instrument was the Trumpet, and I stuck with it throughout middle and high school. Being in band really developed my passion for music and helped to give me a formal background of music. I’ve only been part of the Corporate Clash Crew for about a year, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it! Being part of a team has definitely been a change from working on my own, though I’m super glad that I found a family in which everyone has their own unique talents to contribute to the game!
I use an amalgamation (whoa, that sounds like a cog word!) of software. For my DAW, I use a few different ones depending on what I am composing for. I use Reaper, Presonus Studio One, Digital Performer, Pro Tools, and Mixcraft. For notation software, I use Musescore 3, and my list library list is too long to name, almost as long as the Lil Oldman task!
A track takes different amounts of time depending on length, style, instrumentation, and more. But to average, one track can take about two to three hours, though I often spread that out throughout a day, or over a few days to prevent burnout; don’t want to turn into a workaholic like the cogs!
There weren’t any tracks that didn’t make it into the game, but I do have an orchestrated version of the Toonseltown theme which I made in the middle of writing this post, and have yet to share.
That’s all for now, Toons. Thanks for reading, and see you all in Toontown!”
You all know the drill by now, attached below is the track he’s made mention to in his post:
That’s all for now, Toontown! We hope you’ve enjoyed this journey into the process of creating a music track for Corporate Clash, and hope you’ve learned a bit about the composers themselves on the way! Once again, stay TOONed within the next few days of the writing of this post, as we’ve got quite a bit to address in May’s edition! Until then!