Karen O is teaming up with Lara Croft.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman, who was nominated for a best original song Academy Award last year for “Moon Song” from Her, has created a new theme song for the video game heroine that will be featured in Rise of the Tomb Raider, the forthcoming follow-up to the 2013 title that rebooted the action series.
“I think they wanted to bring on the melodrama with this song,” said Karen O during a recent interview. “They wanted something emotional with a dramatic build. It’s kind of the theme of Lara’s creation myth, the moment that defines her becoming an icon. It was really juicy stuff for me. I’m really into making melodramatic songs.”
The track, titled “I Shall Rise,” will be released digitally and featured at the end of Rise of the Tomb Raider, as well as in an advertising campaign for game, out Nov. 10 for Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Karen O, who also created the soundtrack for Where the Wild Things Are, said working on the tune was not unlike creating music for films.
“I just focus on the material I’m given and tune into the emotions of the piece,” said Karen O, who is joined by guitarist David Pajo on the track. “I’ve always been inspired by films and storytelling. I was in film school before the Yeah Yeah Yeahs became my career. I’ve always connected with mixing narrative and music together.”
When she originally set out with producer Tristan Bechet to make the song, Karen O hoped to create an anthem similar to Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” Despite making a song for a Tomb Raider game,” she was more inspired by changing diapers then hunting for treasure. Karen O became a first-time mother in September.
“I’m in this massive transition where I just brought a life into the world,” she said. “It’s redefined my concept of myself. I kind of got reduced to rubble in the process of it. I feel like I can relate to a heroine who is up against all kinds of physical and emotional adversity. I have this new perspective on women and motherhood.”
Karen O said she’s solely focused on raising her son at the moment, so it’s unlikely the Yeah Yeah Yeahs will be getting back together in the near future. The rock band released their last album, Mosquito, in 2013. She also probably won’t be playing Rise of the Tomb Raider, though her brother might take a crack at it.
“When we were young, I used to watch him play games that had more of a story, like Final Fantasy,” she said. “I would actually get really emotional invested in them. I would cry when he would win. I’ve never played games, but I really respect the artistry of them. Nowadays, it just seems like they’re on a whole other level.”