Interview with Arkana, the Composer of Mage Noir

January 20, 2023 Back to Blog

A Blend of Orchestral & Hybrid Electronic Music, Check out the Interview with Arkana, the Composer of Mage Noir

Two years after the release of his last album ISKATALLITH, Arkana is back in force with Rite of Passage (From Mage Noir), his first tracks composed for the video game Mage Noir – Infinity. The tracks will be available on January 27th! While waiting for you to be able to enjoy them, we asked Arkana a few questions!

We wanted to know more about him, his work and the design of the game’s music. Let’s jump in!

Arkana, Composer of Mage Noir game - G4F Records
Samuel J Finn AKA Arkana

Hello Arkana! Can you introduce yourself in a few words and describe your artistic universe?

This music project thus far has been an ever evolving exploration of my artistic interests over my many years. It’s a reflection of my life experience and particular works of art that have made a huge impact on my soul. Movies such as Lord of the Rings, games like the Dark Souls series and anime like Evangelion have all had a massive influence on my art. There are many more amazing creations to mention but the list would become much too long if I added them here. With my music I like to recreate a particular feeling I had while experiencing these works of art and turn them into a sonic version you can live inside for a moment. I suppose this is the way I’ve figured out how to package and share those feelings that have altered my life with you.

Do you play video games from time to time? If so, can you share your favorite experiences with us?

Of course! I love videogames and played many of them growing up. I still play them to this day. This year I played Elden Ring. This is a masterpiece of a game.

Can you tell us about your early years in music? How did you start, what were your first projects?

My earliest music pursuit was learning guitar. I didn’t take lessons. I mostly spent my time creating and jamming metal riffs in minor scales, or learning songs from bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Rise Against, and S.O.A.D. I eventually started a garage band with some friends in high school where we played some covers and made a little EP of our own songs. Admittedly, we weren’t great, but we had fun, haha! After that I discovered FL Studio and began making some beats for my friend Andrew to rap over. We made an album of poorly produced dubstep/cinematic rap tracks. From then on I kept experimenting with different genres to hone my craft, and now we’re here.

Show me your studio and I’ll tell you who you are! Can you explain to us what hardware and software you use in your studio? What DAW do you use?

For hardware I use my laptop, Adam Audio SP5 headphones, Audient ID14 interface, and Yamaha HS7 monitors. For instruments I have a 61 key novation keyboard, Gretsch Baritone Guitar, a Chapman 7 String Guitar. The guitars are newer. I bought them in 2021 and they haven’t made their way into music that is public yet. I also have a Moog Sub 37 but it doesn’t seem to have a place in my workflow so I’m probably going to sell it. For software I use Ableton Live and a variety of VSTs. Some of the VSTs I used specifically on these two tracks were Kontakt, Phase Plant, Spire, and Serum with some FX plugins.

How would you describe your first experience composing for video games? How is it different from your usual compositions?

It was fun and challenging. I would say there were many differences from my usual composition workflow. The first one was that Vincent and Constantin (the game devs) already had laid out a lot of the groundwork of the art direction of the game. They generally knew what type of sound they wanted. It was our job to listen intently and translate what they wanted into a finished product. As an example, the word “epic” can be interpreted differently per individual, so we had to figure out together what those keywords meant to them by going through a lot of reference tracks. The other challenge I can think of is that the whole project ended up being quite the collaborative effort, between receiving feedback from the game devs, and working with my friend Marc on the in-game track titled Emptiness Ritual. I had gotten so used to working alone on projects that this was quite the adjustment for me, but I ended up loving it and these were a wonderful group of people to work with. I would be happy to create more music for this game if the opportunity arose.

What were your intentions when you started creating the music for Mage Noir? What were your inspirations?

The intention was to make sure the music felt like it belonged within the games universe, and to deliver what the game devs wanted. Mage Noir is a magic dueling card game that takes place in a sci-fi future, but still has hints of traditional fantasy magic. The music needed to immerse you in the setting of the game, but at the same time give you the mental space to plan out your next move. Constantin and Vincent had 3 pillars that defined the games art direction, those were “Epic, Magic, and Mysterious”. We used those pillars as a guiding point to shape the sound.

Rite of Passage (From Mage Noir) by Arkana - G4F Records
Rite of Passage (From Mage Noir)

To wrap up, besides the soundtrack of Mage Noir, what are your other upcoming projects?

The past two years have been slow musically for me as other parts of my life have become much higher priority. With that being said, music will always be an important part of my life, so I feel the day will come where I will be working more regularly on it. I have some rough drafts created for my next body of work, but a lot of them are still ideas, so I would say I’m still in the incubation stage of the creative process on that. In the meantime I hope people will continue to enjoy my last album/previous works, and hopefully to try out Mage Noir and enjoy these two new tracks!

Thank you so much!

Mage Noir - G4F Records

The first two songs from Mage Noir – Infinity are available on all music streaming platforms (Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music…), YouTube and Bandcamp. In the meantime, feel free to follow us on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.