How we created the Star-Lord Band for Marvel’s Guardians of the GalaxySteve Szczepkowski, Senior Audio Director at Eidos-Montréal, reveals how the fictional Star-Lord band came to be.
What’s up space cats? They asked me to write about how we created the Star-Lord album “Space Rider”… so here we go!
JF Dugas, our Senior Creative Director, approached me one fateful day and said: “Hey, in our game, Peter Quill got his cosmic name from his favorite ‘80s rock band, called Star-Lord. Wouldn’t it be cool if we had an actual Star-Lord album in the game?”
Having been a gigging musician since I was 16, writing and recording an album is something I’ve certainly dreamed about. To have this opportunity fall in my lap was unbelievable!
I hadn’t written original songs in quite some time, although generally, I was always one of the main writers whenever I was involved in a musical project. So the writing part wasn’t completely foreign to me… but could I write an entire album around a game and have it feel like a natural part of its universe? We were going to find out…
Getting the band together
I decided I would give it a try - and If I couldn’t do it, I’d find someone who could. I knew it was too big to go at it alone, so I reached out to one of my friends, Yohann Boudreault. He’s a talented musician who owns his own audio studio. I thought that if we could find some chemistry, this would be a great fit for the both of us. He could focus on the music side, leaving me to come up with the lyrics and melody, as well as arrange any ideas he would send me, and we could record at his studio.
I approached him and we decided to try and record the first song, which we would present to the rest of the team.
A Star-Lord band is born
Yohann sent me the riff that would ultimately become the song Space Riders with No Names. I don’t remember where I got the idea for the chorus, but I wanted the lyrics to make a statement on who “we” - being the Guardians - were.
I thought the title “We’re Space Riders with no Names” fit well with our Guardians - they’re basically space outlaws who travel across the galaxy in search of adventure. I felt the song had found its identity.
Now that we had lyrics and a melody, we worked on the song arrangement to get all the parts to fit together just right. With everything in place, it was time to record the vocals.
Yohann is a master at getting the best sounds out of everything he touches. When I heard the finished result, even I was surprised! I’m not a huge fan of my own voice (who is, really?) but I was pleasantly surprised how Yohann got it all to sound.
I presented it to JF and sat back anxiously waiting to see his feedback. He was shocked when I told him I was singing, and said: “Well, you’re going to sing on the whole album… We’re not changing this!”
I honestly could have jumped for joy. The fun was really about to start!
With JF’s endorsement earned, we set about creating each song.
Yohann would send me a riff proposition and I’d spend time in my studio or walking my dogs, singing out loud while listening to Yohann’s ideas on my phone. Slowly but surely, one song after another took shape and find its identity.
As we made the songs, I’d present them to JF. Sometimes I’d show him an early demo stage just to hedge my bets and see if it moved the needle for him. Other times, when I felt confident enough in the idea, I’d surprise him with the fully recorded track in the knowledge that he’d dig it.
The Star-Lord band takes the stage
In the end, we recorded 10 songs and I have to say I’m extremely proud of the result.
The album contains a lot of my style and influences, as well as Yohann’s - but it also represents the heart of the game, and the values the Guardians stand for: family, not fitting in with the crowd, being an outcast who walks to their own beat, believing in yourself when no one else does, standing up against the odds.
These themes make up the album as well as the game, and lyrically they ring very true to me. Hopefully they will to you too.
You can hear the Star-Lord band in action in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy - out now for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PC and Switch (cloud version).