Nina Kraviz is well-acquainted with the nightlife, but the world of afterhour sets are a far cry from the more violent midnight realm that the techno producer occupies in the new videogame, Cyberpunk, 2077. Out today (December 10) via developers CD Projekt, the game is set in the fictional metropolis of Night City, Calif., where chaos abounds.
It is amidst this virtual landscape that Kraviz appears in the game as a “ripper doc,” an underground type of plastic surgeon who fits people with less-than-legal cybernetics like robotic arms and robotics-enhanced eyes. One of the game’s primary ripper docs, Kraviz has major interaction with other players, fitting them with the same clinical precision that real life Nina used to clean teeth when she worked in dentistry, before her DJ career skyrocketed.
“She has this metal thing on her hand,” Kraviz says of her character, “and it looks like the dental drill that I know so well.”
Recording her lines in English and her native Russian, the producer also made five original tracks for Cyberpunk 2077, contributing to a soundtrack also featuring Run the Jewels, A$AP Rocky, Grimes and more. Her contributions include, she says, “Italo-disco, another murky, trippy techno track, one proper dance banger and… abstract soundscapes.” Watch IRL Kraviz play a live set featuring her music from the game below.
With the game launch, Kraviz joins the list of DJs moonlighting as video stars, with Moodyman, Keinemusik and Palms Trax appearing as resident DJs in the new in game nightclub of Grand Theft Auto V and Diplo showing up as a player in FIFA 21’s Volta Football series.
Here, Kraviz talks about Cyberpunk, music and why she’s been careful to not get too obsessed with gaming.
What compelled you to get involved with this project?
When Cyberpunk approached about collaborating on the in game music, I immediately said “yes.” The idea to compose music for such a special computer game was a dream come true. I felt like the aesthetic and vision of Cyberpunk fit in line with what I’m doing, sound-wise. Later on, we discussed how I could get a bit more involved with the game, and the idea of the in-game character was born.
Are you a gamer yourself?
I feel like I’m a potentially obsessive gamer, so I’m being careful with that. I have to adhere to reasonable disciplinary standards in order to finish my new album.
How collaborative has the process of inserting yourself into the game been?
The look of my character was a total surprise to me! A pleasant one! This was one of the rare occasions where I let loose of control. I have been taking maximum pleasure in my part though: from making the music and dubbing my character in the studio to witnessing the creation of it.
How similar is Cyberpunk Nina to real life Nina?
Did you see that chair in the ripper doc clinic where she works? It’s so reminiscent of a dentist chair in the hospital where I worked. It’s mental. She also has this metal thing on her hand, and it looks like the dental drill that I know so well. It’s thrilling that my former profession was somehow implemented in my character.
There is also this one little detail that I noticed: when you talk to Cyberpunk Nina, she kind of shifts from one foot to another and looks away every now and then. Perhaps it’s because behind this storm-beaten woman dressed in kitschy clothes hides a shy, child-like person. I found it really sweet.
What mood were you attempting to create with your songs on the soundtrack? Was producing for a game in any way different than making music otherwise?
In some tracks, the vibe is very dark and scary, in some very dreamy, but more on the hopeful side. The only difference in terms of production was that on some of the tracks I had the game in mind. I imagined Night City and how it would feel walking or driving there.
Anything else you want to say?
I haven’t been this excited in a very long time. I can’t wait to play the game myself and drive around Night City listening to my own radio station in the car. I heard the city is quite big, and by the time I get to one of the six ripper doc clinics in the game I would probably get the chance to test all my songs on the radio. Mental!