How Do I Write Video Game Music?: An Interview with Neha Patel

If you haven't checked out Mini Maker: Good Enough's theme song yet, you can get ahold of it via signing up to our newsletter through the pop up attached to this site, or at the bottom of the page.

Neha Patel is a Montreal-based composer, sound designer and arranger. She is currently working as a composer with Pamplemousse Games on their upcoming title Spleen, and with us as the audio director for Mini Maker. She is a classically-trained pianist, and an accomplished flutist. Her musical sensibility makes her instrumental (ha!) in creating the warm and fun-loving soundscape that makes Mini Maker a great cozy experience.

How did you and Casa Rara Studio become a team?

Neha: We were introduced by a friend. We talked and I thought [Mini Maker: Good Enough] was the quirkiest, coolest project, and a good fit. I loved the absurdity of it.

What was your first step into music?

Neha: I begged for piano lessons for 2 whole years at 8 years old. Then, I got hit by a car and my parents finally gave it to me. I wanted to play One Winged Angel from Final Fantasy so bad.

Did you end up learning to play it?

Neha: Yes! I started playing piano at 10, and it actually led me to studying piano in University. It came full circle--my interest in music came from video games, so I learned piano so that I could play it, and then I ended up here! 

How did you end up doing music in video games?

Neha: I would have panic attacks at 2am trying to figure out how to be a composer for video games, ended up going to events, meeting people, at the end of my Bachelors I started googling endlessly, going to video game meet-ups. Ultimately, the community has helped me more than any mentor. 

What was the inspiration for the Mini Maker theme song?

Neha: Ruben and I talked a lot. Eliott too, actually. We made a lot of iterations--we wanted an improv-feeling, something coming and going/where is it going? We also took inspiration from Brazillian folk, festivity, and parades!

Any secrets you can tell us about how it was made? 

Neha: My main secret/go-to-recipe is I think to myself “UH OH F%#K! What do I do NOW!?”. Especially with songs like this, where it was a style I had never approached before. Then I bathe in the music, listen to a crap ton of the style I want to play. Even in the background, like, no analyzing, just listen to it while I’m doing dishes, soaking it in for reference.

What are your next projects?

Neha: I’m working with Pamplemousse Games on a game called Spleen!

What is the biggest career accomplishment for you so far?

Neha: Writing during a pandemic, all while not being able to access my usual resources.

What changes have been made to your career due to COVID-19?

Neha: Everything is through video calls now, I've been having more phone calls with my friends too, oddly. It turns out I like phone calls, even though I thought I hated them. However, I've always been a solo freelancer, so that hasn't changed!

Any advice to beginners?

Neha: Google is your best friend. Hmm, but also, let me preface this by saying I'm born in Montreal, so there is a local hub, and this won't necessarily apply to someone from another country or even economic situation, potentially. But my "global advice" is: Twitter has a great audio community through #gameaudio and #audiosphere.

What are you jamming to right now?

Neha: The Yu-Gi-Oh opening, and Rhapsody of Fire.