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Employee Spotlight: Rachel Hartanto

Hi, I’m Rachel.

I am a composer/arranger at Harmonix, however in this role I’m not limited to only creating music, but I make content in all regards to game audio, including sound design, audio programming and implementation. I started as an audio temp right after graduating from Berklee College of Music in May of 2018. Since then I worked on a contract basis and then I became full time in September.

I am currently working on Harmonix’s upcoming release FUSER and I work as a main composer and audio designer for the game. I’m quite passionate about EDM music and I think I was taken onboard because of this. With FUSER I’ve been able to produce my own original electronic dance tracks for the game and also craft instruments to further have the player feel like a headliner for a music festival. There are so many great EDM music festivals in the world, and I wanted to make sure that my music resonated with what you would actually here at them.

What were you doing before Harmonix, and how did you find your way here? 
Right before working here, I was getting my bachelors from Berklee College of Music in electronic production and design. I was also working with indie game companies in my spare time as an audio designer and did a few internships - so I was really orientated toward a career in video games after graduating. I went to a few game audio conferences during college and from there I was able to meet Steve Pardo (a previous audio lead) who invited me to tour the studio. After that I was recommended to Pete Maguire (a previous audio lead) and did work with him on Twitch Sings. Without these two I probably wouldn’t be here today - thanks guys!

What has been your proudest accomplishment or your favorite Harmonix moment? 
One of my greatest accomplishments would be hearing my music played in one of our team meetings. It was nice hearing immediate feedback and getting a great response from the team.

Are you working on anything outside of Harmonix? 
In my spare time my fiancée and I (who is also a composer) like to work on our own little projects together. He works in film music, but he and I plan to make sample libraries and digital instruments together. Sound design is also something I’m very passionate about; messing around with synths and digital signal processing is always a fun way to create weird and interesting sounds.

What is your favorite Harmonix game and why? 
Probably Rock Band. It’s so iconic to Harmonix and I have great memories playing it with my friends in middle school.

Your favorite FUSER feature or song?
I like deadmau5 ‘Ghost N Stuff’. Like so many other electronic producers he was ahead of his time in his production. He’s definitely someone I would want to see at a festival.

Your favorite track you’ve made for an HMX game?
Rupture Academy for FUSER. I think this track out of all the ones I have written works best in the game just because it’s a nice contrast to a lot of the pop tracks. It’s a mid-tempo track with dubstep elements and can really turn a song on its head during the drop.

What’s your wfh set up like?

Is there anything special or fun on your desk?
I like collecting weird new snacks, Kit Kats, and chocolates (especially from Japan!)

You’re constantly creating original and unique tracks, where do you find your inspiration and how do you sustain it?

I get so much inspiration just diving through producers on SoundCloud - an incredible EDM community has formed on there. Electronic music has really transcended this past decade and alongside listening to great labels (e.g. OWSLA , Monstercat, Future Classic, Ultra Music) you can definitely find gems within the bunch. There are also some discord groups dedicated to sharing new music which is always inspiring. Also, some K-pop music is produced really well nowadays, definitely got to check it out.

What are you doing to stay sane these days?
I play a bunch of video games and watch anime. Right now, I’m playing SpongeBob Rehydrated, Virtual Virtual Reality, and Fallout 4. For animes, I have a few on my watchlist e.g. Black Clover, Seven Deadly Sins, Fire Force, sword art online, re: zero etc. I also have a guilty pleasure in reading mangas and WEBTOONs.

Do you have any secret talents?
I’m really fast at going down stairs. It’s kind of a mixture of falling but no one can beat me with this technique.