Austin Wintory’s new score is stand-up gaming comedy

If you’re in the least bit interested in video game music, you’ll know that Austin Wintory is the composer behind the Grammy-nominated soundtrack for Journey as well as the scores for games like The Banner Saga and Monaco.

He’s currently working on a live project that incorporates music, games and comedy. On April 17 and 18 he’ll be conducting the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra along with Tripod (pictured above), a popular Australian comedy trio with a lot of funny lines on relationships, personality, geek culture and video games.

Tripod have been together for two decades. Their work often explores the intersection between relationships and entertainment, such as this decade-old skit about a couple and a video game, that’s been viewed over 720,000 times on YouTube.

More recently, they performed a brilliantly tragicomic routine about character design in Skyrim at PAX Australia, as a sort of preview to next month’s show, called “This Gaming Life.”

“I was brought into this project nearly a year ago when the Melbourne Symphony began considering commissioning an evening-length show of songs about games and gaming from Tripod,” explained Wintory (pictured below) in an interview with Polygon. “The MSO figured that since I had plenty of experience composing for and conducting orchestras, and work in the game industry, it would be a natural fit. Working with these guys has been truly among the most fun times I’ve ever had.”

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As for trying to pin down the show itself, Wintory said, it’s not easy. “The songs themselves are hard to peg, because they’re not singer/songwriter-type songs that are then being orchestrated. The songs are being composed, from the ground up, for Tripod singing with the full orchestra behind them. So the genre feels elusive. Some are very theater-like, some are border on comic opera, and others defy explanation.”

“Like a lot of touring live acts we share a raging passion for video games,” explained Tripod’s Scod (Scott Edgar). “At one point our gaming rig added two road cases to the tour… which is a fair bit considering we were otherwise only touring two acoustic guitars at that time. So when we started workshopping a theme for a commission with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, a show about the culture and relationships around videogaming seemed a natural fit.

“That’s what led us to be paired up with Austin on this project. Writing songs for this show on piano, guitars and voice, then having Austin add his remarkable symphonic vision, bringing out such vistas of playfulness, drama, texture and emotional depth, has been an absolute joy. And we get along so well with Austin that it very quickly transcended a clear-cut composer/arranger relationship and has become a rewarding and super-fun collaboration for all concerned.”

This Gaming Life will play at Hamer Hall at the Arts Centre Melbourne on April 17 and 18. Tickets are on sale now.