In-demand producer/artist Junkie XL conjures a range of ’70s-inspired music on the in-game soundtrack to the Xbox racing simulator “Forza Motorsport,” which Microsoft will release on May 3. The artist (real name: Tom Holkenborg) worked in tandem with guitarists James A. Rota (Fireball Ministry) and Logan Mader (Soulfly, Machinehead) to create nearly 150 minutes of music for the racing sequences and off-track scenarios.
“The racing stuff is very energetic, high-octane music,” Holkenborg tells Billboard.com. “For inspiration, I listened to ’70s bands that made very dark guitar music, like Motorhead, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and very early Iron Maiden. The music I wrote is basically an homage to those bands. It’s not like it has been copied, but it sounds very familiar.”
For extended off-track sequences when users are customizing their vehicles, Holkenborg utilized “that same time period, but more of the trippy side, like the Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath ballads. There’s more acoustic guitars, guitars with a lot of reverb, acoustic drums and percussion.”
There are no plans to release the music separately from the game at present, but Holkenborg says, “That’s something that needs to be considered. The cool thing is, I own the music, so I could release it as an album and finish it with proper songs.”
Perhaps best known for his 2002 worldwide smash hit remix of Elvis Presley’s “A Little Less Conversation,” the artist has also been busy working on his next studio album, which he says is about 60% complete and will likely be released by late summer or early fall by Roadrunner International.
It will be the follow-up to last year’s “Radio JXL: A Broadcast From the Computer Hall Cabin,” which featured guest spots by the Cure’s Robert Smith, Gary Numan and Public Enemy’s Chuck D.
“The music is more organic than the stuff I’ve done before,” he offers. “It also has a lot of influences I’ve picked up in the last year, being in Los Angeles and working on movies. It’s more organic. It has tracks with a lot of energy, but it’s not a full club album. I’m also working on how I play this stuff out live. All the music lends itself really well for a different twist in the live shows.”
To that end, Junkie XL promises to unveil new tracks during his March 26 appearance at Miami’s Ultra festival and May 1 at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, Calif. “I’m so looking forward to that gig,” he enthuses of the latter.