How often do I get a chance to speak to not just talented game developers, but very talented musicians at the same time? Never tell me the odds. Luckily for me, in this Exit Limbo interview the dream becomes reality. And I love it.
I already had the pleasure to talk to Giovanni Cantele about his passion project. Exit Limbo– the video game. Designed by Virtual Craft Studio, and published by IndieGala, Exit Limbo is a retro-inspired beat em’ game with lots of adventure. Not to mention, the game will instantly transport you to your childhood. So, stay tuned for the official release of Exit Limbo. You’re gonna love it.
But now, I have a rare opportunity to talk to Giovanni (once again), this time about his band (also called Exit Limbo). We discussed the band’s musical influences, finding their artistic voice, and of course plans for the future. Hope you’ll enjoy our conversation.
Exit Limbo Interview: Music is an essential part of our existence
Certainly, Exit Limbo is composed of fantastic artists, developers and creatives, but did you know that the guys are fantastic musicians as well? Indeed they are, and they also took care of the soundtrack in Exit Limbo. But, I’ll let Giovanni to tell you more about that in this Exit Limbo Interview.
*Congratulations on the upcoming release of Exit Limbo Opening. I know that the process was a long and hard one, but you guys also have a rock band with the same name as well. Exit Limbo. Did the band preceded the video game, vise versa, or the two of them met at the same time?
Giovanni: The band formed back in 2011, so preceded the video-game. Mr. Rhino was featured in one of our early music videos. This was to become our mascot and the embryonic concept of the videogame a few years later. So the videogame is an integral part of the music and vice versa and they grew alongside one another. The inclination towards a retro-style game was symbiotic to a taste in Retro Synth music, which inspired us when composing the new album that will serve as the soundtrack to Exit Limbo Opening.
*I had the chance to check out your video for the song Animal. I loved that the theme of the video game is present visually and thematically. Not to mention that Mr. Rhino – the main character from the game makes a brief appearance in the music video. What’s the story behind Animal and what’s the message that you’re trying to convey with this song?
Giovanni: The message is to accept yourself, work with what you’ve got and let it rip! The song plays with the concept of an instinctive, animalistic part of each one of us that needs to be listened to; to sum up, the courage to break constraining standards and norms, on an introspective and sociological level
*The retro feel that can be found in the game itself, is present in the video for Animal. I mean there’s even art done by an old Microsoft Paint tool. You guys must have a knack for retro-inspired art….
Giovanni: As a traditional and digital artist I’m often looking for new and quirky aesthetic languages that get my creative juices flowing. With a budget of only 300 bucks, we had to be a bit creative and improvise. I actually discovered the nostalgic, fractured hypnagogic aesthetic of web born movements such as Vaporwave which resonated with what we were doing.
We have very different music tastes
*Exit Limbo – the band was born in Modena almost a decade ago. With the meeting of Giovanni Cantele, Alberto Bergonzini and Niccolò Facchinetti. What’s the story behind the inception (and eventual growth) of the band? How did the band come to be?
Giovanni: We were a group of musicians that shared a similar vision, despite coming from very different musical influences. The idea was to ignore what the trends were around us and rather focus on being creative and malleable, exploring our own individuality as a group.
*Musically speaking, your songs are very energetic and leaning towards the alternative rock. With crossover influences from retro, electro, hip hop, dub-step and 70’s progressive wave. Which musicians, bands and artists had the biggest influence on your music?
Giovanni: Hard to say, as we have very different music tastes within the band. I could perhaps mention Nine Inch Nails as a favorite that has stood the test of time for me personally.
*The love of video games and music is the true glue in the band? These two themes seem to intertwine in your projects. So it seems reasonable to assume that those things are the inspiration for your work. Or is there something else?
Giovanni: Initially, the driving force was purely the joy of making music, playing live and the fulfillment in modeling a sound that represented us. During this process, the integration of crude retro sounds as part of our playful experimentation which consequently brought us closer to retro game imagery. Dario, who plays synths and does the audio production for the band, and I found common ground with Kushiro Yuko’s Streets of Rage 2 soundtrack. It had left a mark on our childhood.
At this time I had also opened the design studio, Virtual Craft. Right from the beginning, we shared the dream of eventually making our own video game and at a certain point, I proposed to unify the two projects. To sum it up, I think the inspiration came from two initially unrelated dreams that eventually intertwined into what the project is today.
*How will the fans of the video game be able to get access to the soundtrack or Exit Limbo’s previous published music? Where exactly can you find Exit Limbo’s music? For the fans outside Modena of course?
Giovanni: The first album ‘Animal’ and the soundtrack will be released as separate albums. Exact dates and details are T.B.A. but we will keep you updated on social media. The first single, entitled ‘Animal’, is currently available on all music platforms, Spotify included.
*What’s next on the agenda for Exit Limbo – the band? I know that the current global pandemic halted plenty of projects, but what’s next for you?
Giovanni: Before the pandemic, we had started playing the new tracks live, the very tracks that are in the game. I don’t know when this will be possible again but we would like to get back to it as soon as possible. We would also like to continue to compose soundtracks, for unrelated projects too. As for a third album, the release of the opening chapter of the Exit Limbo Video Game is set for July but we are already playing with ideas for the following chapters. So, just going to have to see what the future has in store!
Thank you for your time Giovanni for the Exit Limbo Interview. And I wish you lots of success with Exit Limbo – the video game.