Journey was composed on a $50 crappy Casio keyboard

2:15 PM on 02.24.2014

Dale North

Former Dtoid EIC

You'd think Austin Wintory would have better tools

We recently had a chance to chat with Journey and The Banner Saga composer Austin Wintory, and as a fellow musician I took the opportunity to talk shop. Curious about which tools he uses to create music with, I asked about his studio setup. Given that Wintory is an accomplished, Grammy-nominated composer for games and film, I expected a list of the finest hardware, and not a Casio toy.

"I actually had, until pretty recently, a $50 Casio 44-key keyboard," Wintory told Destructoid during our interview. "I did almost everything in my whole career on that because I had it since I was a kid. It had like a special significance to me."

"Journey was composed on that," Wintory revealed. 

Even a toy can be used as a controller if it is MIDI compatible. This keyboard was, so it could be connected to professional software, such as Wintory's sequencer of choice, Digital Performer.

I asked if he is still using it even after Journey's wild success.

"I mean, it's still sitting on the floor of my studio," Wintory said. "The keys crapped out so I went and bought a proper MIDI controller that actually does have weighted keys." 

I asked Wintory how he was able to create such expressive music with what most would consider to be a toy, and not a proper musical instrument. 

"You know, it's just an input device. Ultimately, at the end of the day, if it's something that needs to be expressive, like flow, I spend a lot of time manipulating controller data. If it's something that needs to be expressive like in the manner of Journey, I'm putting microphones in front of musicians."

Be sure to check out our full interview with Austin Wintory later today.

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