BatAAr talks working with Harada on Tekken 7 soundtrack and ‘Vrede’ music video
If you’re like us, you’ve probably never even heard of BatAAr until recently. They’re a Swedish rock band of four who have recently found themselves propelled into the limelight in the most unique way – a video game. That’s nothing to snub at because the way the music industry is setup today, the traditional method of just making records and selling them is like comparing a newspaper to an iPad. Today artists branch out and explore other avenues, along with making albums and touring. And such is the case with BatAAr. They somehow found themselves in the offices of one of the biggest game developers ever, Bandai Namco, to collaborate on what could be the best-selling fighting game in the last decade. Here’s their story on that.
The world recently learned that you have been working on the Tekken 7 project. How does it feel to be a part of one of the most successful fighting games of all time?
It is quite honestly, a feeling that is hard to put into words. We are honored and excited as a band, but since we’re also really big fans of the game we are fanboying our brains out for the game as well!
How long has BatAAr been a band, and what is the meaning behind the name? What kind of music do you make?
Some of the members have been playing together under the BatAAr name for 10 years now, since we were kids, but it was at the beginning of 2016 that we had a bit of a rebirth of the band with our new vocalist Endigo. We can’t tell you what our name means, since it’s a secret. We want to let people interpret their own meaning into the band name, so we’re keeping the origin of it a secret. We love to hear fan theories though! We call the genre we play Art Metal, which pretty much means that we make rock-oriented music without any boundaries. With Art Metal we also put a lot of work into the band’s visuals in video production and the looks of the band members.
How did you guys actually get connected to the project? Were you contacted by Harada and the Bandai Namco team?
It started out in quite a funny way when our guitarist Patrik, who speaks Japanese, by chance tweeted at Harada. Patrik pretty much told Harada how much he loves Tekken. This in turn, made Harada a bit curious about who this Swedish dude with purple hair who speaks Japanese might be. He checked the band out and became a fan. This led to him inviting us for a meeting where he proposed the idea of using our music for the upcoming Tekken 7. He didn’t want to pick a song we had already made though. He wanted us to write a special piece for the game that people would hear while playing. Loving Tekken as much as we do, we instantly agreed.
Was this your first time working on a video game, or a project of this nature?
Yes. We have never been part of a project this big, or a video game soundtrack, ever before.
As you already know, you are the first band to ever be featured on a Tekken soundtrack. What was that experience like, and have you ever created music for a video game before?
At first, we felt a lot of pressure in trying to work out how to make a song that would fit an in-game fight yet still sound like BatAAr and TEKKEN at the same time. We listened to a lot of older Tekken soundtracks, with Tekken 5 and Tekken Tag Tournament’s soundtracks being our favorites, and we tried to understand what made the music feel “Tekken-ish”. In the end we made a song that we feel conveys both BatAAr, Tekken and Lars Alexandersson in a great blend. The trickiest parts were to keep the song as intense as a fight all the way throughout the song, to make it short and heavy, and to have the lyrics reflect Lars Alexandersson but at the same time speaking to a general listener who doesn’t know about the game’s content.
Lars Alexandersson, who is half-Japanese and half-Swedish, is the character your song Vrede was made for. I’ve learned that word means wrath or anger. What made you decide to go that creative direction?
Patrik, who wrote the song and the lyrics made a lot of research regarding Lars Alexandersson’s story. He watched all story movies from previous games, read fan theories and tried to piece together what Lars might be feeling and going through during the events and fights of the game. He drew the conclusion that the most prominent emotion in all of this was “wrath.” Since both Lars and we are Swedish, we decided to give the song a Swedish name rather than just calling it “WRATH.”
What have you learned about Tekken since becoming involved with it? Had any of you played the game before, or are any of you avid gamers?
All of the band members are hardcore Tekken fans who have been playing the games ever since the first game debuted on PlayStation over 20 years ago. With this project we came to realize the incredible workload that the Tekken team is constantly under when they’re working on their games and we respect that so incredibly much. When we went to Bandai Namco Headquartes last year we got to test Tekken 7 before its arcade release and we met with the team behind the game. It was a very humbling and magical experience. They are really talented hard workers. And yes, we love video games outside of Tekken as well.
Without giving too much away, what can fans expect from the upcoming music video from Vrede? I saw a Lars character in the promo video. It looks very promising!
While we can’t reveal too much about it yet, there will definitely be connections and references to Tekken throughout the music video. It is turning out quite interesting! We can’t wait to present it.
After this experience, do you hope to do more projects like this? The gaming industry is the way of the future, especially with eSports upon us.
Definitely! This has been the coolest experience that we have ever been a part of as a band. We would love to collaborate with Tekken and Bandai Namco Games again if they’d have us. We have nothing but love for Harada, Michael and the rest of their team. We would of course be interested in creating music for other types of projects and video games as well if granted the opportunity.
Lastly, what lies in the future for BatAAr?
In the nearest future lies the release of VREDE on the Tekken 7 soundtrack, and the music video for it of course. While we can’t give any specific details yet we will also be touring throughout the summer and fall around Japan and Europe. We are planning some other releases as well, unrelated to the Tekken project, that we will share info on later this summer.
Thank you for having this interview with us!