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11 Things You Didn't Know About Composers Stephen E. Cox & Danny McIntyre

In honor of Sony's recent release of the much buzzed about "Farpoint" we decided to learn more about the team behind the video game's stand out score, Stephen E. Cox and Danny McIntyre of Unified Sounds. Below they reveal 11 fun facts fans might not know about them.

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They initially became involved with "Farpoint" because..

STEPHEN: We initially got involved with "Farpoint" because we met Jonathan Mayer (Senior Music Manager at Sony Interactive) through Full Sail University where we were both teaching at the time. Jonathan does a lot of great work with master classes and guest speaking at Full Sail. After a few years he gave us a shot on an unannounced Sony project (yet to be released). It was our work on this project that allowed us an opportunity for the "Farpoint" demo. The rest is history!


Their favorite "Farpoint" tracks are…

STEPHEN: The main theme for sure. Although I love some of the later action cues we did such as “Flight”. We got to have a lot of fun with overlays, loops and timing out sections based on the action thermometer built into the game. I loved the technical challenges that came with that and the results in-game are awesome thanks to Sony’s music implementation.

DANNY: The main theme, “Farpoint” is my favorite because it’s the track that set the musical landscape for which the entire score is based on. It was the piece we composed first and even landed the gig with! There are layered musical sound design elements, which shaped a sonic palette for us to compose more traditional ideas over. Some of the sounds you hear in this track particularly started out as recordings of us bowing different objects and manipulating those recordings. It was really fun to create the musical scenery of a distant, alien planet!


The instruments they used most on the "Farpoint" soundtrack are..

STEPHEN: Before we laid down a single note, Danny and I spent a lot of time designing the sound palette by recording bowed objects, exotic instruments and percussive elements that were then manipulated and crafted in the DAW. As we started bowing glass, gongs, metals, kitchen appliances, etc.. we quickly realized that all of the random junk we were experimenting with was hovering around the note B. It was nuts! We also used this busted up trumpet that my brother played back in middle school, which happened to be stuck in B as well. After a lot of huffing, puffing, layering and tweaking that sound became known as “Trumbacca”, which you will hear throughout the game and within the Impulse Gear sonic logo.

DANNY: I have a lot of love for “Trumbacca” too. We played and recorded a lot of strange things and that one turned out the best. It really inspired us to move in a cool direction.


- They are gamers themselves. Their favorite games are..

STEPHEN: Totally "Farpoint". It’s like getting to play your favorite arcade game without leaving the home. My kid sucked me into the Supercell cult of mobile games - "Clash of Clans", "Clash Royal". I love the “team” aspects of these games and being able to play with the family, which is why I love the co-op mode in "Farpoint" so much. Danny and I regularly discuss business in co-op missions as we snipe spiders and anything else that moves…. including each other sometimes.

DANNY: Currently, my favorite game to play is "Farpoint"! Before "Farpoint" came along I was pretty in love with Destiny. That game sucked me in quickly. The co-op campaigns are where it shines, like most games, but I really enjoyed the single player campaigns as well. I’m also a big fan of the "Wolfenstein" franchise too.


Stephen & Danny formed their company Unified Sounds in 2012 because…

STEPHEN: We were both teaching full time while the gigs kept coming in. Our work with CBS Sports really brought the crew together. Aside from Film and Games, the work we do for TV requires a music factory capable of churning out quality content in a short period of time. When Sony got to see our team in action, they gave us a shot like no other.

DANNY: We joined forces because we enjoy working together. We quickly recognized that our collaborative projects were on a higher level compositionally and sonically than our individual efforts were. Unified Sounds is all about working with the best composer/producers we know to create the absolute best music we can.


The two created Superbowl music...

STEPHEN: We did music for Superbowl 50 on CBS back in 2015. Normally we hand off about an album’s worth of music as a custom package a few times throughout the season. The Editors and Music Supervisors have their pick of the litter to be played under highlights, graphics as well as the pre and post game shows. They picked a few of my rock tracks that year, which was flattering considering they can grab almost any song they want. Big thanks to our Publisher Rob Aster for doing the hard work on the front lines!


DANNY has taught at Berklee College of music (music software), Boston University (ear training) and the University of Hawaii (ear training, theory, counterpoint and composition). He is currently teaching film-scoring courses at Full Sail University where he holds the position of Chair of the Composition Department.


When STEPHEN isn’t creating music, he’s mountain biking and fishing. His favorite place to fish is surf casting off of the coast of New Smyrna Beach, FL (shark bite capitol of the world). Despite many close encounters with 6-8ft black tips, sharks apparently do not like the taste of composers. Now, he’s enjoying the beauty of the mountains and lakes in the Smokies when he’s not writing, producing, and publishing music.


Their ultimate project to score would be..

STEPHEN: I would love a shot at a major feature film done entirely in 360 or VR. Sci-fi would be a plus, but any genre will work. This new medium is what excites me most.

DANNY: Anything with a solid story. If I had to pick a genre, it would be Sci-Fi. I’m a total Sci-Fi guy but I love movies, TV and games. I’m really lucky to be able to score for media!


Their favorite film scores of all time are…

STEPHEN: I must have been 4 or 5 years old, but "Star Wars" was probably the first film where I noticed the music and “felt something”. I’m a big fan of anything John Williams. Also, Hans Zimmer’s score to "Man of Steel" still hits me hard. Just a glorious theme to set your morning alarm to.

DANNY: I can’t not say “Star Wars”. I tell my students that It’s been scientifically proven to be the best film score of all time. Other than that, I really like what Hans Zimmer’s did with “Inception” and Howard Shore’s scores for the movies, “The Cell” and a lesser known movie called “Crash”. These movie scores speak to me because they were a little outside of the box. The movies were a little different and I think the scores had to be as well. Really great stuff. They’re a little experimental while remaining approachable.


The Netflix shows they are currently watching are..

STEPHEN: Still working on the latest "House of Cards" season. Honestly, I just leave Netflix nature and space documentaries on in the background most of the time. Helps the kid stay off screens, and if he bothers to watch he might learn something.

DANNY: I love Netflix. My wife and I are currently catching up on “Orange is the new Black”. We lost a season because we had twins last year and can’t binge watch like we once could. - Our boys are awesome :) - We recently ripped through the last season of “House of Cards” and loved “Iron Fist” and “Luke Cage”. The best part about Netflix is not having to wait a week for cliffhangers to be resolved. I like having the option to stay up too late and get some closure!

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