Welcome to our third Modding Spotlight
Every two months, we invite one of our incredible modders to let us know what they do, what province(s) they work for and anything else they want to tell us.
This month, we have asked Eric Gordon, a composer from Morrowind to be under the Spotlight.
Who Are You?
Hello there! My name is Eric Gordon and I am the lead composer for Beyond Skyrim: Morrowind! Today I have the honor of sharing my background with you! I decided to take the main questions I was asked and compile them into one story explaining where I came from and how I got to be a part of such an incredible project.
I grew up in Minnesota just forty minutes outside of Minneapolis. Life around here isn’t all farms and tractors like some may think. I had a relatively normal childhood playing video games and running around outside like any other kid. Music was never something that I had consciously wanted to be a part of. The first time I remember the orchestra actually sticking out was when I saw The Lord of the Rings. I remember the following Christmas I had asked my parents to get me the soundtrack to Return of the King. I felt like such a nerd listening to it that I didn’t tell any of my friends! I specifically recall playing the track “Minas Tirith” on repeat on the way to my grandma’s house. There was something about it that was so captivating. It was almost trance-like (seriously though go check it out!!!) In middle school I wanted to play the drums despite having never actually played them. I guess I thought they were badass or something? I can remember it like it was yesterday; the music teacher took me into a practice room and asked me what I wanted to play. After telling him “the drums” he set a snare in front of me and handed me two sticks. He simply said
“Copy this rhythm” and played a simple beat. I tried my best to match it, but completely and utterly failed. We tried a few more before he removed the snare. Next he handed me a trumpet. I put my lips to the mouthpiece, but alas… nothing… Next he grabbed a trombone. My initial reaction was “Ew! That instrument is gross” but I put my lips to it anyway. Suddenly the room was filled with a loud “BUMMMM” and he says
“Yeah, I’m going to sign you up for the trombone.” I was more than a little dejected as well as devastated. I quickly realized that I enjoyed playing trombone and that band was actually a lot of fun. But as high school rolled around I felt that I wasn’t good enough and worried that band students were to be labeled dorks so I sadly quit. A choice I still regret to this day. I could have been a pretty darn good trombone player by now. The young me should have known what a real badass I could’ve been. Freshman year I instead decided to follow in my brother’s footsteps and pick up the guitar. I asked him for tips and he sat me down. He drew a picture of the pentatonic scale and said
“Just practice this, and you won’t suck” (this is still the best advice I’ve ever received by the way. Thank you Dan). As time went on I got better and better and started to not suck (as much). I began to not only find a passion for the guitar, but also the piano and audio engineering as well. Playing the guitar wasn’t the best part. It was putting the puzzle together and making multiple instruments form a single piece of music. I was heavily influenced by Jimmy Page, John Frusciante, and Buckethead. Not only in their ability to write kick ass guitar solos and catchy riffs, but the deeper underlying message that is buried in their music. The way that they connect with their instrument and speak from their heart. The stuff they write always carries a heavy weight to it that has always resonated with me. After high school, I began my own solo project called “Badmoon”. It is my flagship and vessel of self-expression and creative experimentation (you can find it on Spotify and iTunes of course). The first album I ever released was titled “Polk Circle”. It was named after the place I lived during a major turning point in my life. Though I would have done things differently now, and despite its many faults the album holds a lot of personal value and memories—both good and bad. I later decided that I would spend the rest of my life writing music any way that I could. I had no idea how, but I knew I would try.
It was a few years later, that I had seen a teaser video for Beyond Skyrim: Bruma. I watched the video and thought “That’s amazing. Too bad it will never be finished”. Boy was I wrong. By accident, I received a text from someone that I went to high school with. A now dear friend named Will Van De Crommert. I had not seen nor talked to him in years, yet by mere chance, he texted me instead of another Eric. After realizing the awkwardness of the situation he surprisingly invited me over to hang out and catch up. But most importantly he wanted to talk about music! I shared with him a new project I had started. It was a twelve string acoustic instrumental album, heavily inspired by John Butler (this album has been in development for over four years, and is finally set to release this July! Yes, I am a bit of a procrastinator. You can catch a demo of it here! https://soundcloud.com/ericgordoncomposer/capitanian-extinction). As it turns out, Will had just moved back from Los Angeles after studying composition and film scoring. I was fascinated by his career choice. Here I am trying to find a way to make a living writing instrumental guitar music, when the right path was right in front of my face. It felt like hope. It’s like everything began to come full circle starting that day I had listened to “Minas Tirith” on my giant portable CD player fifteen years earlier. I bought my first sample library (Orchestral Essentials 1) to add some strings to some of my solo stuff but also began trying my hand at the orchestra in my spare time. Safe to say the first year or two was quite painful. To be honest it still is painful! I worked at it for years while continuing to play guitar and practice engineering. I began mixing and mastering for local bands like My Name Is Ellipsis and Pour as well as writing and producing my own stuff! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UInRJ5Mi7Sk)
I was sitting on my couch one day when I saw it. Beyond Skyrim: Bruma had released. I was shocked. Like anyone else, I quickly went onto the forums to see where I could apply. Every time I refreshed the page there was a new application posted. I spent the next week making some demo tracks to use as a reel and after eagerly posting my application, I waited. And waited. And waited…. A few days passed. Then a week. Then a month. I was incredibly saddened that I missed the opportunity. I thought it would be especially amazing to work on Morrowind. Some time later I decided to reapply, hoping that someone had just missed it, and not that I was so incredibly terrible that they didn’t bother to even respond. The next morning I woke up to a message inviting me to the discord. It was for none other than Morrowind. I was BEYOND excited (pun intended) AND STILL AM! It has been six months already and I’ve written nearly an hour of music. In January I was presented the opportunity of a lifetime; to score the trailer for Beyond Skyrim: Morrowind. To see the view count surpass 200K in less than three days was surreal. Actually, it still doesn’t feel real. It may sound silly to some, but to go from basement guitar dweller to this is more than I could have every asked for, and far more than I deserve. I have received so many wonderful compliments from the community, as well as the people I work with. If you are one of them, thank you. It means the world to me to be able to write music for some of the most passionate fans of one of the most popular game franchises in history. Trying to follow the patterns that Jeremy Soule has left for us has been incredibly challenging and rewarding. Trying to create an original soundtrack that is both true to the original score while having its own flavor is an experience and struggle that I will never forget. At no point in my life did I think I would be doing something like this. The entire project is built on the support of its fans (no, not you Fan. You know who you are!). You guys are the base and reason that we are able to do this. I look forward to seeing what Is in store for us. Next time you are on the discord swing by and say hello! I’d love to chat with you guys!
Aside from your own province what is your favourite?
That would definitely have to be Cyrodiil. Oblivion was the first Elder Scrolls game I ever played! I didn’t play it until years after it was released. The graphics at that time were pretty “meh” and so I never finished it. However, I did sink a ton of hours into it. I am looking forward to the mod being completed. If you haven’t played Bruma yet, WHAT ARE YOU DOING READING THIS? GO PLAY!!!
How did you get into modding in general?
I actually used to mod Left 4 Dead back in high school. Although I never had a passion for modding games, I sunk a lot of hours into that. I have also been modding Total War: Warhammer in my spare time. It is my dark and secret hobby… Or was…
What games aside from Skyrim do you like to play?
Oh man this is a tough one. I’ll just start listing some of my favorites as I grew up:
Baulder’s Gate: Dark Alliance, Guild Wars, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Left 4 Dead, Grand Theft Auto, and Red Dead Redemption. The list would go on and on.. As far as some of the newer games I’ve played and enjoyed, that has to be The Last of Us and God of War. I was a huge fan of the original trilogy, and this game was absolutely incredible! I’d like to eventually play Horzion and Assassins Creed Origins but only time will tell!
Lastly, I would like to thank Meglos, Larrian, and Enheduanna. Our wonderful project directors from Morrowind. Without you I would have none of this. Also, thanks to Rob Wilson for setting this up and asking me to participate. It was fun! If you’d like to keep up to date on the latest music from the Morrowind soundtrack, you can find my soundcloud here! https://soundcloud.com/ericgordoncomposer
As well as YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBKus49EOben1y033DzadLg?view_as=subscriber
plus Instagram! https://www.instagram.com/ericgordoncomposer/
And of course Twitch! https://www.twitch.tv/drunkencomposer
Thank you so much!