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How Life is Strange: Before the Storm’s music brings out Chloe’s emotions

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Indie folk trio Daughter’s take on composing the episodic prequel

British indie folk band Daughter just released their sophomore album last year. That didn’t stop them from taking on a new challenge — composing the score for Life is Strange: Before the Storm.

“We were traveling a lot and playing a lot of shows,” lead singer Elena Tonra said in an interview with Polygon, “So we were kind of craving some time in the studio and craving some time at home [...] It was a refreshing kind of work.”

Daughter’s music makes a wonderful pair with Life is Strange. Both have grappled with the frustrating contradictions and internal struggles of being young. The game’s first single, “Burn it Down,” hints at someone who is strongly admired, but feels as though they are not being listened to. The lyrics “I can’t be bothered with the teachers/ Always trying to shape the way I act” bring out a youthful — and possibly immature — defiance.

These words mirror the journey of Chloe Price, Before the Storm’s main protagonist, who must deal with the loss of her father and best friend. When composing the game, Daughter took inspiration from Chloe’s multi-faceted personality. “On one hand she’s very aggressive,” Tonra said, “and on the other she’s incredibly funny and also very caring and emotionally intelligent. She has very many things that we could then portray through sound.”

Daughter chose to use different instruments to match Chloe’s moods. Somber piano highlights her isolation, electric guitar strums bring out her rebellious side. They also found a fascinating way to represent her budding friendship with Rachel Amber: “We used a lot of vocal layers,” Tonra explained, “Two vocal parts in harmony to get the feeling of that; a meeting of two women, or two girls.”

Tonra feels that the soundtrack’s main theme is grief, but added that the player’s approach could alter that. “The game can be interpreted in different ways,” she said, “There could be a stronger sense of one emotion depending on how you play it, or maybe your state of mind as you’re playing it. At the time of reading the script initially, that was what jumped out at me.”

Daughter’s soundtrack, Music from Before the Storm, is currently available to pre-order and will be released on Sept. 1. The first episode for Life is Strange: Before the Storm will launch on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One the day prior, on Aug. 31.