This website use cookies and similar technologies to improve the site and to provide customised content and advertising. By using this site, you agree to this use. To learn more, including how to change your cookie settings, please view our Cookie Policy
Xmas Legs Small Present Present
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the European Union version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Apr 17 > PETRI ALANKO GAMING GURU


We interviewed Petri Alanko as part of our Pro Special a few months back, but so good were his answers, we felt it was scandalous to only offer you a fraction of what he told us. Here then, is literally EVERYTHING you ever wanted to know about scoring for video games in one of the most revealing interviews we have ever published…

Petri Alanko is one of the most colourful characters in videogame music production, with a healthy perspective on his craft. As we discovered a few issues back, he is a prolific composer and has scored video games including Alan Wake and Quantum Break. He has also performed with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, and released music across countless genres. We didn’t have nearly enough room to get geeky with him last time around as he uses some extraordinary gear and processes in his productions. This, then, is Petri Alanko Part 2: The Geek Edit! So, a warning: this gets deep, but it’s also one of the most revealing features we have ever run in MusicTech – you WILL learn a lot about the art of video-game music production. Read on and weep…

MusicTech: How did you discover you had musical leanings?

Petri Alanko: My grandmother and I were visiting an acquaintance of hers who owned a nice collection of vinyl, mostly classical. A Maria Callas album was on, and as La Callas hit the high notes I tried to reach them with a piano next to the turntable. I hit the correct note and kept pounding the key down and when the diva descended down, I traced those notes, too. My grandmother’s friend apparently urged my family to get me some ‘professional help’, and they were first rather shocked, until they realised ‘a music education’ would’ve been a bit more appropriate and less worrying way to put it!

“Anyway, soon after that, they took me to piano lessons. I loved playing the piano right from the start. I loved taking the information in. I was five then. My purely classical education received a serious dent when I heard Kraftwerk’s The Robots on the radio. Mother told me later she could see I was mortified, frozen: I just stared at the radio when the bassline began, and my little feet started picking the beat, and when the vocoded vocals came on, I stared at my mother, my eyes wide open, full of enthusiasm and questions – now what the hell was THAT? I picked up a word from the DJ’s babbling, it was ‘synthesiser’. The very next day, we visited the music library in my hometown in Finland and tried to find out as much about synthesisers as we possibly could, which was practically zero. Then, a short while later, a book written in Finnish, Osmo Lindeman’s Elektroninen Musiikki was published. I think I tore it to pieces by just reading it. Something from the book’s avant-garde attitude echoes in me, even today.

“The classical repertoire was pushed slightly away, and my world was filled with Jean-Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Kraftwerk, Isao Tomita and the post-punk new-wave bands with their rock attitude and synths. Gary Numan was and IS awesome. David Bowie wasn’t exactly a synth hero, but definitely my hero. Then came Ultravox, Soft Cell, New Order, OMD, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, Japan, John Foxx and lots of others. Pretty soon after my first Kraftwerk dose, I knew I wanted a synthesiser, and I saved and saved to get a second-hand synth – a Roland SH-5, from a friend of a friend of my father’s. We sold our Yamaha electronic organ to get a Roland Juno-6 and a guitar amp. I connected both synths to it via a Y-lead, and with certain settings, the sound was rather good – and some settings provided lots of saturation and distortion. The leftover money went on a Boss DR-55 drum machine. It was all really nice.

The Macbeth M5 modular synth – the tip of the Alanki Gear Iceberg
Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of MusicTech - Apr 17
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Issue - Apr 17
Or 349 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only € 2.67 per issue
Or 3199 points
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only € 3.49 per issue
Or 349 points

View Issues

About MusicTech

In issue 169 of MusicTech we present the best dance, acoustic, band and soundtrack setups for all budgets in our massive cover feature, also this issue we speak to the guru of game music, the third part of our huge From Studio to Release feature: this time looking at recording vocals, we feature 6 of the best modular effects and review the latest hardware and software from the likes of Spitfire, Melda, Cableguys, TC Electronic, Apogee, Audified, UVI and more. PLUS free with this issue you get the complete guide to mastering, an exclusive supplement featuring all the best mastering content we’ve run last year