Like so much of Tony Hawks Pro Skater 1 + 2, the recently released remaster of the first two Tony Hawk games, the soundtrack captures the magic of the first two episodes and adds some improvements.
For a start, Vicarious Visions and Activision Blizzard, the developer and publisher of “Tony Hawks Pro Skater 1 + 2”, managed to get 22 of the songs back from the original soundtracks, as only a few tracks were missing due to licensing problems. Fans who are nostalgic when it comes to combining Naughty by Nature with “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” or chasing the letters from “SKATE” to Goldfinger’s “Superman” can do just that.
Unsurprisingly, getting back most of these original songs was “hugely important”
The end result is, as Joyner puts it, “basically the original soundtrack about steroids”.
“I had to understand the original games and the original soundtracks first to get a good feel for the genres that went into the original game,” he says diversity. “And then it was basically 20 years fast forward and if this game came out today what kind of music would we have? My whole philosophy was, well, let’s just add more of that and bring in some more current stuff as well. “
Joyner, a musician himself, says he doused “probably thousands” of tracks trying to find the perfect ones for players to go to in the old skate parks. He scoured the internet, he explains, using everything from skate videos on YouTube to algorithms on streaming platforms like Spotify. He also kept an Excel spreadsheet that categorized each song he selected to ensure he had a wide range of musical genres.
But it was also important that the soundtrack includes not only heavy hitters like Machine Gun Kelly but also a lot of young talent. This also corresponds to the original game, which Joyner calls the “music discovery platform”. Just as young players discovered their love for grunge and 90s rap through Tony Hawks Pro Skater, those who pick up the remaster can immerse themselves in dozens of newer acts.
One of those groups playing the new soundtrack is Rough Francis, a rock band from Burlington, Vt., Whose hard hitting punk track “Deathwire” sounds like something that wouldn’t be out of place in the original 1999 release at all. So it shouldn’t be too surprising that Tony Hawk himself picked the song for the remaster, as brothers and bandmates Julian and Urian Hackney tell diversity.
Urian explains that Hawk was a fan of her father’s band, Death, which was featured in a previous Tony Hawk game. After Hawk saw Urian Skateboard in a documentary about her family “A Band Called Death,” he tweeted about Rough Francis’ report, and the two casually began sharing directly about their mutual tastes in music. When Rough Francis was preparing to release new music, Urian sent him a blocked Soundcloud link for “Deathwire”.
Hawk loved it – and then Activision emailed him. For a second, Urian was afraid that the song had leaked, but Hawk had just personally recommended that “Deathwire” be included in the new soundtrack. For the brothers who grew up on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and have childhood memories of in-game skating for groups like Dead Kennedys and The Suicide Machines, it was a “surreal” experience from start to finish.
“Play [‘Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2’] And when our song comes along, I kind of forget that I’m playing this classic game that Jules and I fought over a long time before an N64, ”says Urian. “Then our song comes and every time it’s like ‘Woah! It’s really weird. It’s really, really, really strange. ‘”
“There’s a part of me that doesn’t believe it,” adds Julian. “In order to come full circle, I don’t know what to say. It’s just amazing. “
Merkules is another artist joining the new soundtrack who has fond memories of growing up playing skateboarding games. His fast-paced “bass” with Hopsin and Tech N9ne gives the rotation a fast beat and confident lyrics, and the rapper is still getting used to hearing himself play.
“I mean, no one in the shadow of the soundtrack, but I definitely went into the settings and made it so that only my song was played for an hour,” he laughs. “It’s a surreal thing and crazy. As a person who found most of the music that I got to know through this game, it’s really cool now that I’m a part of it. “
Merkules remembers hearing her first heard of Rage Against the Machine in Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2 and diving into other groups like Papa Roach, Anthrax, and Public Enemy. Getting included on the new soundtrack 20 years later, he says, “is definitely a thing for me.”
“There is no other game I want to play in more than ‘Tony Hawk’ because that’s all I’ve played,” he says. “I put so many hours into this game.”
Both Rough Francis and Merkules have seen new fans through “Tony Hawks Pro Skater 1 + 2”. Rough Francis has gained 13,000 listeners on Spotify, Julian says since the soundtrack was released in late July, and Merkules says that his fan pages are already filled with congratulations and new fans, even though the game has only been released since September 4th.
In addition, Urian and Merkules got the chance to enjoy the game – in fact Urian says that he is already 100% done, defeated all levels and collected every item. And both got on the soundtrack, with Urian highlighting new additions like Screaming Females and A Tribe Called Quest and Merkules highlighting Token, CHAII and even Rough Francis. But Julian doesn’t have a console and waits until he can play to listen to all the new songs and get the desired effect.
“To be honest, I’ve just been listening to ‘Superman’ repeatedly,” he laughs. “I feel because I don’t have the game yet, that’s the best I can do to make me feel like I’m playing.”
Tony Hawks Pro Skater 1 + 2 is now available for Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Listen to the soundtrack below.