Andreas Saag is a composer and artist from Sweden. He has composed the music for the game Kosmokrats and has a background in electronic music and jazz.
Kosmokrats is a quirky space saga about the Russian space programme and the story is presented like a film right out of the 80’s. Composing for the game Andreas knew from the start that while the music had to sound like the 80’s he didn’t want to go down the usual retro route. Rather than copying styles he wanted to tap into the minds of his heroes of that era like Vangelis, Hans Zimmer and Vince DiCola (Rocky IV soundtrack) and simply filter his own musical ideas through their musical spirit.
Born in 1980 it has been a true enjoyment for Andreas to really dive into the undeniable beauty of those early digital synth excursions heard on the soundtracks that he enjoyed as a ten year old together with his friend Carl Granberg, the creator of Kosmokrats. They tried making games already back then on Carl’s dad’s pentium PC, then went separate ways for 25 years. In reuniting to make Kosmokrats they found that all of those games and films that configured their young cultural minds are still present throughout the game. In addition to that they also realized how many more influences they had soaked up individually during their adult lives and how great it is to get the chance to show each other that.
As the composer for the game Andreas says he’s never been involved in a project where he felt he’s had more freedom. The fact that there are more than 10 different branching storylines gave him an opportunity to use nearly all of the musical tools and influences he has gathered in his 40 years. Some examples:
* Andreas’ love for folk music of other cultures helped him implement the sounds of Russian folk music instruments and attributes.
* Using his jazz background for giving a hot love scene some 80’s fire with a Kenny G style saxophone over DX7 electric piano or firing off a dreamy accordion solo with lots of reverb just like Vangelis does in “Bladerunner Blues”
* Composing a 2001-esque classical piece in the style of Debussy as a soundtrack for the insanity of being too far out in space or a John Williams-like score for the hyperspace jump scene.
* As a techno artist, living right next to famous club Berghain, Andreas also got to go real dark as Wernher, the German scientist, starts cloning himself until humanity is only Wernhers living in full blown Technocracy. While the rest of the game has an 80’s aesthetic Andreas asked Carl if he thought it’s a good idea to give Wernher a 90’s aesthetic instead. Both because Wernher has the futuristic knowledge to build a super computer, but also because 90’s techno is about the most German thing there is music-wise. “It’s these small exchanges between childhood friends that elevate the game and what makes the music such a vital part of this game” says Andreas.
Kosmokrats is, as Andreas sees it, a tongue in cheek story about humans and how easily corrupted but still lovable we all are. The game, and subsequently the music, has its main characters, all with their own personality and musical themes. From Andreas’ perspective there are two stars of the show and funnily enough both of them are standing on the sideline of humanity’s silly little struggle.
One of them is humanity’s antithetic, dark mirror, the super computer VAL who will turn out differently depending on how desperate the humans are to upgrade her, against better judgement, for their own winning. Giving her a Commodore 64 soundtrack, writing lyrics for her contemptful thoughts about humanity and turning her words into singing has been one of the highlights in composing for the game.
The other star is the narrator, Bill Nighy. His expression and tone fits the humour and tells the story perfectly. “It’s been a true honour to compose music to support him doing so” says Andreas.
Andreas’ musical mission is to blend all genres of house, techno, jazz, folk music and electronica and provide it under one alias or another, whether it be soulful techno, cinematic folk music ambient or a straight-up jazz ballad. Or something in between…
After having finished his music studies at Hvitfeltska Gymnasiet in Gothenburg Andreas put out his first record at 20 years old under the artist name Swell Session. The 12” single ‘Music in her Eyes’ featuring Little Dragon’s Yukimi Nagano was released on Swedish label Hollow Recordings. It spread quickly from DJ to DJ and soon Gilles Peterson played it and charted it as #1 on his Worldwide show on BBC.
Since then he’s been releasing music on various labels such as UK deep house label Freerange and Swedish labels Local Talk and SLS as well as Kevin Saundersons KMS records.
Supporters during the years include Laurent Garnier, Jeff Mills, Carl Cox, DJ Rolando and many more. Among collaborators we find Mr Scruff, Jimpster, London Elektricity, Deetron, Mark De Clive-Lowe and Seiji to name a few.
When it comes to remixing, notable assignments have been for Ennio Morricone, Laurent Garnier, Mark Ronson and Boy George and Joey Negro.
Andreas has been making music since early childhood. He was influenced by his father’s love of electronic music. Artists such as Brian Eno and 60’s soundtrack experimentalist David Axelrod inspired Andreas to create progressive and original tracks. Another major influence is jazz legend Herbie Hancock, who motivated Andreas to master improvisation skills on his first instrument, the keyboard. Andreas started playing the piano at the tender age of six and discovered techno and other experimental music when he was just 14.
For the past ten years Andreas divides his time between Gothenurg and Berlin. DJ:ing, performing live, composing, and making edits and remixes. Most gigs are in Scandinavia, Berlin or in eastern Europe but Asia and the US has also seen Andreas make a visit for a performance. In 2020 he’s performing live with a new project that’s combining technologic sounds with organic textures and live folk musicians. Andreas also devotes a lot of time these days to writing music for video games such as Russian space saga Kosmokrat”. He’s also composing music for TV and online adverts working a lot with director Stina Lütz and Camp David, composing for brands such as Nivea, Telia, Arla and more.
Saagan and The Glade
Saagan is a new project inspired by the genres that wowed Andreas at an eraly age: folk music ambient, techno, film music and pop. He’s also the lead of an art project, The Glade, a secret open space deep in the forest where artists co-create a blend of folk music, techno, dance performances, opera and live action role playing.
There’s a a wish in Andreas’s heart to channel the inherent magic of nordic folk tone into the future. He’s about to finish two Saagan albums which have inspired and is inspired by his work with co-creating The Glade. In both projects there’s not only music involved but also interactive storytelling, live action roll playing and co-creating costumes, scenography and new instruments like a giant drum which can play electronic sounds.
Andreas has with these new projects found a sense of “home” in his creative process where he gets to paint with the full spevtrum of his musical palette. Getting to perform with great folk musicians, and mixing it with deep techno is exciting and adding good old song writing and cinematic scores to the blend completes the equation