Australian music industry history has been made by a Swinburne researcher, who combined technological innovation with creative know-how for awards success.
Dr Dan Golding, from Swinburne's Media and Communication department, has been nominated for an Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Music Award for his soundtrack for the megahit video game, Untitled Goose Game. It is the first video game soundtrack to be nominated in ARIA Music Award history.
"It was a big surprise and a huge honour to be nominated," says Dr Golding. "The international success of Untitled Goose Game, which was made right here in Melbourne, proves that Australia is a world leader in mixing creativity with technology."
The comedic game – where players take on the role of an irritable goose in a small English village – has now sold more than one million copies and was lauded by the likes of the New York Times, the BBC, and the MIT Technology Review. It also won a slew of international awards in 2019, including a BAFTA, and the coveted DICE' Game of the Year' award, putting it in the exclusive company of industry titans Halo and The Legend of Zelda.
However, it was Dr Golding's music for Untitled Goose Game that caught the ears of many.
"The game's developers wanted a music system that, using the latest technology, made players feel like a silent movie pianist was sound tracking the action," says Dr Golding.
Dr Golding's research into early film music and the latest music technology made that happen – research that he uses in the classroom with Swinburne's new Sound and the Screen unit as part of the Cinema and Screen Studies major. The unit illuminates the technologies and techniques behind creating sound and music for films, TV, videogames and other screen media.
"Already in 2020 I've been able to give my students a behind-the-scenes understanding of what goes into making something like this," says Dr Golding. "It's fantastic to be able to bring industry experience straight into the classroom."
Dr Golding's research into early film music and the latest music technology inspired the music of Untitled Goose Game.
Swinburne's Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Pascale Quester, says the history-making nomination was an example of Swinburne's innovative edge.
"This ARIA nomination is a spectacular example of how we at Swinburne combine technology with a critical and creative perspective,” she says.
The ARIA Awards will be held on Wednesday 25 November 2020, and Dr Golding's soundtrack will be competing against the best film and television composers in the nation, including music for ABC TV's Mystery Road and the newly-released Helen Reddy biopic, I Am Woman.
Despite the intimidating company, though, Dr Golding isn't worried.
"No matter what happens next, we've already made history," he says.
Not one, but two ARIA Award nominations
Also up for an ARIA Award is Swinburne Film and TV Alumnus Nick Kozakis. Nick has been nominated in the "Best Video" category for his direction in the recent Tones and I music video 'Ur So F***ing Cool', marking the second year in a row he has been nominated.
Nick began his journey at Swinburne by completing an Advanced Diploma of Film and Television in 2008, before graduating with honours from the bachelor program in 2011. Shortly after graduating, he began his own production company, Visible Studios, and has since received widespread attention for his numerous projects.
In 2019, Nick co-directed the official music video for 'Dance Monkey' by Tones and I, which has now received a staggering 1.3 billion views on YouTube.
"It’s been really surreal seeing how much success the song and video have garnered,” says Nick. “It was an incredible experience collaborating with Tones and I and developing their vision for the video and working with her again has been just as rewarding.”
Nick’s video for the song has already received 17 million views on YouTube and playfully reflects the song’s emotional themes of loneliness, disconnection, frustration and individuality.
Advanced Diploma of Film and Television alumnus Nick Kozakis now has his own production company and has received widespread attention for his numerous projects.