ILMxLAB catch up with the composer behind Tales From The Galaxy’s Edge Bear McCreary, discussing the influences for his score accompanying the groundbreaking VR adventure.

What influences from the planet of Batuu made their way into your score?

My musical goal with this project was to create a soundtrack that feels like it might have actually originated from the planet Batuu itself. I used many acoustic textures such as guitars, simple woodwinds, tribal percussion, and bowed Middle Eastern string instruments to create an organic palette. I also incorporated synthesizers and manipulated samples to create an alien aesthetic.

Of course, Batuu is part of the broader Star Wars universe, so I didn’t adhere strictly to these colors. I also incorporated many symphonic techniques and colors used by John Williams throughout the saga to subtly root the player’s experience in the broader mythology of the franchise. On the surface, this doesn’t sound like a traditional Star Wars score, but… the influence is undeniably there. My hope is that players wandering the wilderness will absolutely feel like they’re uncovered an unexplored pocket of the Star Wars universe.

When you blend elements like that, do you prefer using analog or digital instruments?

Everything in my music for Tales is what it sounds like. When you’re hearing what sounds like digitally mangled, processed synths, that’s what you’re hearing. But, the score is filled with live recordings of real musicians because no computer can replicate that emotional impact. We were fortunate to work with brilliant soloists playing specialty instruments from around the world, and a symphonic orchestra that provided the scope and scale fans expect from Star Wars.

Tara Rashin is such an imposing character, which you really capture in the score. What inspired “Tara’s Theme”?

Tara is an antagonist, but she isn’t pure evil. She’s a marauder with her own goals and intentions. To represent this, I emphasized ethnic instruments and female vocals. These distinct colors gave her an operatic, memorable theme that I hope resonates with players as they encounter this unforgettable character.

What were your first impressions of Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge when you saw it in VR for the first time?

I was thrilled with the tactile nature of the environments. The Star Warssaga has connected with audiences for over four decades because it excels at two things: telling a good story, and building a believable world. I was immediately struck by this new project’s ability to bring a new dimension to the worldbuilding, while still retaining that core connection to storytelling and good characters.

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