Erik Brattlöf, Product Manager at Elias has been deeply involved with adaptive music in one way or another for years. Even before graduating with a bachelor’s in Sound and Music production in 2008, he was playing, producing, and writing music for most of his life, and even running a small record label during university. Erik sees all music as adaptive in one form or another. This is his blog post about his view on that and lessons he learned on the way to where he is today.
At its foundation, music is interactive by default. Like when you’re in a band, you interact with other band members. But there’s also this timing that you have to adapt to, and you usually have this set form that begins with an intro, and you continue to hit important beats. Then you build from there. So in many ways, it’s like building a story.
I have taken this approach into every job I had in the music and audio industry. I started as an Interactive Director for Dinahmoe, ran projects with everything from small advertising agencies to multi-year productions for Google and Disney, all with the help of an in-house adaptive music and sound system.
One of the biggest things I worked on was a full music machine for Google – run through Chrome. You could pick an instrument, and then have an online jam session with anyone in the world. So we had all the basic instruments, but we also built a system that would let anyone play even if you couldn’t play an instrument. You could pick up a virtual guitar, and it would adapt to your level.”
From there, I moved on to Red Pipe Studios, a post-production company working on sound design and music for films, television, commercials and video games. This was also my first experience working alongside the videogame industry with clients such as DICE, Hazelight, Sharkmob and King.
My mission was to work on interactive elements with our clients and to teach their staff how to work with the music tools available to them efficiently and how to think about music when working with in-game elements. Sometimes we acted as a fire team working on specific elements of the game like ‘we need 200 footstep sounds!’ And other times we worked on larger creative projects like setting up production or setting the tone for a product.
I joined Elias Software in 2020 after falling in love with the company’s mission and having a chance to create a real impact on the final product. I bring my years of experience along with me but the major lessons I learned along the way are less about music and more about the human element of helping clients.
Human communication is the most important part of any project. I have lovely examples of directors trying to tell me that the music needs to sound more like whipped cream. What does that mean for that person? They have a fixed idea of what they want. So it’s like figuring out the right terminology to talk to people.
And at Elias, the best part of the job is problem-solving. When people approach you, and you can solve their problems, we understand what they do, and they want your help. So that’s why I love what I do.