Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Japanese Breakfast's Michelle Zauner on scoring Sable and enjoying "being a cog in the creative machine"

The Japanese Breakfast-scored video game is out September 23

A screenshot from a new trailer for the Japanese Breakfast-scored video game, Sable.
A screenshot from a new trailer for the Japanese Breakfast-scored video game, Sable.
Screenshot: Raw Fury

The Summer Of Japanese Breakfast—which has so far included Michelle Zauner putting out her band’s third LP and a memoir that’s now being turned into a movie—will continue until at least the end of September, with the release of Sable and her first full-length video game soundtrack.

Following a few years of quiet after the 2017 promo-game Japanese Breakquest, Zauner was active in games again last week with the release of both a vaguely disquieting Simlish “Be Sweet” remix and a live performance of Sable track “Glider” during Summer Game Fest. Uproxx interviewed Zauner about this aspect of her current work, learning about her history with games and what it’s been like to write Sable’s soundtrack.

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When asked how the experience has been compared to her work with Japanese Breakfast, Zauner says that creating alongside Shedworks, the game’s two-person studio, has led her to “really appreciate being a cog in the creative machine” and “[contributing] to someone else’s vision that I trusted.”

In terms of format, Zauner says writing for Sable is “definitely a different vibe because first of all, lyrically, there are only like three songs with lyrics on the soundtrack,” which means the music “has to be this kind of universal feeling and it has to feel like it lives within the game” instead of the more specific focus of Japanese Breakfast tracks.

“Also, because it’s an open-world game, you have to make sure that the songs are really sprawling and don’t get grating,” Zauner says. “It’s very different from writing pop music where you’re always trying to find a hook that gets stuck in your head.”

Zauner also talks about some of the stuff she’s most enjoyed playing lately, which includes A Short Hike, Spiritfarer, Dawn Of Man, and, of course, Animal Crossing. She also discusses how she got into games as a kid by playing Secret Of Mana with her dad. Considering how the year’s gone for Zauner so far, we imagine it won’t be long before her love of games leads to the release of her very own award-winning multiplayer shooter, Japanese Breakfast: Retribution.

Read the rest of the interview over at Uproxx for more or check out Sable’s new trailer ahead of its September 23 release on Xbox and PC.

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