Life is Strange’s prequel story, Life is Strange: Before the Storm is finally upon us. Instead of assuming the role of our initial time-travelling protagonist, we’re taking a long hard look at Chloe and who she was before Max came back to Arcadia Bay. Max has moved away, Chloe’s father is gone and all she has left is her mother’s shitty boyfriend to fill the gaps in her heart. That is until she meets the mysterious girl from the first Life is Strange, Rachel Amber.
We had the chance to speak with the game’s musical guest Daughter on how writing music for Life is Strange has changed how they look at themselves as a band and as musicians—and some of the hurdles of representing a grieving, and very rebellious, girl’s life.
Daughter is a London-based group featuring the talents of Elena Tonra, Igor Haefeli and Remi Aguilella. They started in 2010 after meeting each other in college, and for a time, defined themselves as “indie-folk,” but today, they say their genre is much different from what they started as.
“Everyone kind of has their different way of naming it,” Haefeli says. “I think especially, over the past year, we moved away from the folk now. It’s such a hard thing [to define] because it just shows how artists and musicians are, just so sort of conscious of their own things that they can’t pigeonhole it anywhere.”
“I think maybe I brought the folk thing into our band anyway from my childhood and what I was used to as a kid, ” Tonra says. “Then I think [Igor] brought in new things and Remi brought in his percussive elements—he’s like jazz and classical—it’s hard to know. It’s a sort of jumble of all of our favorite things. I’m not sure, but we’re into everything, whatever you want to call it.”
The trio was approached by Square Enix at the end of last year after a year of touring. While they were intending to take a short break back in the familiar foggy streets of London, they were asked to score a videogame—Life is Strange: Before the Storm.
“We actually didn’t know anything about videogames to start with, so we did our research, and we liked what we saw from the first game: we liked the music, we liked the musical guest as a whole,” Haefeli says.
We got a sneak peek of the title’s soundtrack, Music from Before the Storm, just a few weeks ago with the release of “Burn it Down.” The track’s haunting vocals are only a small taste of what Tonra and Haefeli say represent the grief and angst the younger, more formative Chloe was experiencing.
Grief is a tricky thing to write about when you haven’t lived through the experience. Tonra and Haefeli, admittedly, have not shared Chloe’s life. But it isn’t like they didn’t try to get inside the character’s head. The two explain that, while writing the music, revisiting their memories as teenagers, both good and bad, was vital to representing Chloe’s journey authentically. They also used scripts, scenes and images from the game for inspiration—as much as they could at least, since the game was still in development at the time.
“I think it was a really positive thing for us to do,” Tonra says. “I think it shows that we can write in a different way. I think from everything we’ve done, from EP to album, to the two albums, there’s always been a different way of writing, but this has taken us into a totally different way, in terms of knowing that at the end of it, you’re writing for someone else or something else, instead of just for yourself.
“I think that’s really interesting; it’s widened things and how we view how to create. I think you can become stuck in your ways in terms of the way you do things, so it’s quite nice to branch out, and I think we’ve done that.”
Life is Strange: Before the Storm is available now on Xbox One, PS4 and PC. Daughter’s Music from Before the Storm was released today.
Aiden Strawhun is a former Paste Games intern and a gaming freelancer who somehow won an award once. On the off chance she isn’t drowning in words, she’s either stuck on Skyrim again or plotting to rule the world. Her work has also been seen on GameSpot, Extra Life and Naples Herald. Follow her on Twitter @AStraww.