In the first edition of the Campo Santo Quarterly Review, ombudsman Duncan Fyfe unearthed/penned the tale of a salty former pirate who is tempted back to his seafaring ways with the promise of Campo Santo, a legendary treasure beyond imagining. As the member of Campo Santo (the development studio, that is) responsible for Firewatch’s audio, I figured it was incumbent upon me to bring this yarn to arguably-pointless life.
So I did that. All the music and voices you hear in “Set Sail for Campo Santo” were composed and performed by me, using Duncan’s words.
I originally intended to record simply one voice, but as I did a few extra takes I found myself getting louder and hoarser (Nels and Will were in the adjoining room, and I can only imagine what that must have sounded like). It seemed appropriate to slam some of those takes together to create an ersatz pirate chorus. I filled in the spaces between the lyrics with some vocal interjections, and pitched those voices down slightly to create the impression that they had come from gruff, rum-soaked sailors’ throats.
For the music, I started with a base of acoustic guitar strumming out the chords I chose. On accordion, I doubled those chords and added some melody in between verses. Finally, to liven it up a bit more towards the end, I overlaid some piccolo embellishments for the final verse and choruses.
At that point I figured I should just go all out. I set the entire track on top of some sounds of ocean surf I found on the ever-useful freesound.org. Background noise intended to evoke a warped and creaking wooden hull was created by recording a loud spot on our audio room’s floorboards, pitching it down, and adding plenty of reverb. For color, some sounds of clinking bottles, shattering glass, and falling coins are also sprinkled in there.
So that’s that. I’m happy to have helped Campo acquire a company anthem that has basically nothing to do with the thing our company does. Around four hours of work on a Thursday evening. I hope you enjoy it. If you do, you can stream or buy it over on our Bandcamp page!