Stuart Chatwood - Video Game Music Composer

Updated on July 29, 2017
KPM2017 profile image

Karl has been a freelance writer for over 10 years. He's passionate about music, art, and writing!

Stuart Chatwood
Stuart Chatwood | Source

Stuart Chatwood took time out of his busy schedule to tell me about his career as a video game composer. He's been a musician for his whole life and the work he does on video game soundtracks reflects his passion for music in many forms.

Although he’s best known as the bassist and keyboard player for The Tea Party, Stuart’s interest in composing music for video games stems from his passion for playing them. He explains, “I’ve been a gamer all my life. My fandom predates the Atari 2600 so as they say, ‘I go way back.’ Music is what I do so it was a natural fit. In the late 90’s my band The Tea Party worked with a producer in Montréal that found out I loved composing for video games and eventually he ended up at Ubisoft and the rest is history.”

As a gamer, he has special insights into the best way to make music work in games. Stuart points out, “Being a gamer myself, I feel I’m in touch with what will work in a certain setting and what music will enhance the player’s experience. This gives me the freedom to explore deeper into musical themes that satisfy me. Somewhere along the line, some film school described good music as music that is not noticed by the listener.”

When Stuart takes on a new game composition project, he starts by exploring and discovering music related to the themes of that game. He says, “With Prince of Persia, I delved deep into Farsi music. I bought CDs, invested in sample CDs and listened to Farsi Folk radio for two hours each morning to let the music authentically seep into my psyche.”

After he’s immersed himself in music for inspiration, he moves to the next stage of the process. Stuart elaborates, “I will then start developing a rough template. I don’t always use templates, as in some sense I find them limiting, but for continuity there are times when it’s appropriate."

In Stuart’s view, video game music is increasingly becoming relevant as an art form in its own right. He says, “With every passing day, I feel that video game soundtracks are in fact being taken seriously as stand alone works of art. I feel that this is a natural progression as I know the amount of effort that I put into my works.”

Stuart has some advice for up and coming composers who might want to start working in the video game field. He says, “YouTube is an incredible resource. In addition to watching how other composers work, I’d recommend scoring some ‘mods’ of existing video games.”

His latest soundtrack is for the Red Hook Games RPG Darkest Dungeon. Stuart says that he wanted to create an epic sense of fear and vulnerability in the score. He adds, “The game draws on different psychological themes and I wanted the players to leave the game with the music still in their heads. Towards the end of the production, I was fortunate enough to bring in an opera singer to augment the orchestral elements that dominate the score. Chris from Red Hook was influential in pushing the industrial elements that provided a nice counterpoint to the traditional instrumentation.”

After finishing the DLC for Darkest Dungeon, Stuart and the team from Red Hook are compiling the game’s music files for a potential double vinyl release of the soundtrack. He’s working on some other video game projects, but he's focusing his attention on some different recording projects. He points out, "I’m mixing an ambient/folk record at the moment that I also co-produced, engineered and performed on. It’s called Uncommon Folk and features Glen Campbell, Mavis Staples, Jakob Dylan and other celebrity singers covering ambient versions of classic folk songs. We are also about to release an EP for The Tea Party containing some older material that we revisited.”

While traveling helps keep his creative batteries recharged, Stuart doesn’t often listen to other people’s compositions for inspiration. He says, “I’d rather not be in the game of recreating. I’d rather create.”


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)