Jared Emerson-Johnson

I make music for video games.

Hi there. I'm Jared Emerson-Johnson. For the past decade or so I've been the music man at Bay Area Sound—writing music, creating sound design, directing voiceover and acting in all sorts of games and occasionally in other media.

You may know me from my scores to the Sam & Max series from Telltale Games, or perhaps you have found yourself here because of my more recent work on The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, Tales From the Borderlands, and/or Game of Thrones (also from Telltale).

Regardless of what brought you here, welcome! I hope I can provide you with whatever you're looking for.

THE VAULT is a repository of my back catalog tunes.

Check in every Wednesday for a new piece (or pieces)!

More Wallace & Gromit music! These three are from the second episode: "The Last Resort." Listening back to these after all this time, I'm struck by how many character and location specific alternate versions of each piece of music we had in the game. I think W&G is still the most audio-interactive title Telltale Games has ever shipped. If you don't know what I mean, check back in next week, where we figure out how to include the 12+ different alternate arrangements of the fair tune.

My score for Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures may very well be the one the public knows the least. I have a definite fondness for it, though; and, I hope you all enjoy these offerings from the first episode: "Fright of the Bumblebees." It was really fun to be able to work with such a nice, large, live ensemble of excellent musicians for this project.

Here are a few more tracks from Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People. Since the tunes in this game were generally very short, I'm including a nice little sampling of the various incidental things I did for the game. Next week: Wallace & Gromit!

Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People didn't have a lot of custom music (most of it was pulled directly from the Homestar Runner cartoons; but, there were a few, really fun tunes that I got to write for the project. This was probably the most fun for me. The lyrics were collaboratively written by Mike Stemmle, Matt Chapman, and Mike Chapman, and the vocals are sung by Matt Chapman.

A scratch version of this exists with me singing the vocals, but I'll never share it. Well, maybe if people ask very nicely.

For something different this week, I've decided to feature a piece of music that I wrote for an animated short film that was produced by Jantze Studios, written/directed by Michael Jantze (creator of the Sunday morning comic "The Norm").

The film, Mr. Lux: At Your Service, was an official selection at the 2008 Cannes Short Film Corner.

This was a really fun collaboration and a nice, linear change from my usual interactive, looping tunes. The retro style was right in my wheelhouse, and Michael Jantze is a top notch director.

I've included the film below, for those who have never seen it and are curious. The animation was done by Kelly McNutt and the sound design by Jory Prum.

Because it's coming on a day late, and because it's hard for me to choose just one, I'm including 3 tracks from What's Up Beelzebub?, the finale episode of Telltale Games' Sam & Max Beyond Space & Time (season 2). Twilight Eternal is one of my all time favorite compositions, just because it's so fun to groove along with. 4:59 is probably the most fun/peppy piece from the game, and the Fugue/Dies Iræ is a nice, dark arrangement of some of the main themes of the series, including the Office and Street themes. Enjoy this trifecta of Sam & Max tuneage. It will be a few months before we're back to Sam & Max here in The Vault.

With lyrics by Chuck Jordan, and vocals sung by the one and only Roger L. Jackson, the Mariachi Song from Chariots of the Dogs is one of my favorite pieces from all of Telltale Games' Sam & Max Beyond Space & Time (a.k.a. season 2). It's just the most hilarious possible reveal that could come at that point in the story. "What's behind this locked door?" "Oh, it's a time traveling space mariachi." Of course.

Night of the Raving Dead gave the world Jürgen the emo vampire. This is the piece music that accompanies the hidden lair deep within his zombie nightclub. It builds, and builds, and builds, and builds some more. I had a lot of fun making this one, and was heavily influenced by folks like the Boban Marković Orkestar and DJ Typsy Gypsy (specifically his Balkan Hot Step mega mixes). If you haven't ever heard their stuff, it's really fantastic.

At the end of Moai Better Blues (the second episode of Telltale Games' second season of Sam & Max games (Sam & Max Beyond Space & Time)), our heroes find themselves at the bottom of the ocean, accompanied by this piece of music. At the time it was probably the most semi-orchestral cue in the Sam & Max series.

It's almost as if I planned it. We've arrived at December 24th, and the next game in my back catalog is none other than Ice Station Santa—the debut episode of Sam & Max Season Two (Sam & Max Beyond Space & Time).

As a special treat for the holidays, I decided to feature not one, not two, but five tracks from this memorable game. I have extremely fond memories of working on this particular episode, probably because it was so big and eclectic, and offered a fun chance to revisit themes from the first season, and to create some new material for old characters (not to mention all of the demonic christmas-y music).

T.H.E.M. holds a special place in my heart—it was written for my good friend Michael Whitwell, who performed the trumpet parts in most of the first two seasons of Sam & Max games. He was fighting cancer throughout the duration of the season and unfortunately lost the battle shortly after production wrapped. I am so happy to have had the chance to work with him, and to write a special trumpet tune specifically for him in this episode.

I could go on all day about the music for this episode, and I will if anyone wants to hear it. If there is anything you'd like to ask me about this or any other game, feel free to comment in the news section of my site (there is an entry for this installment of The Vault), and I'll reply in as much depth as you desire.

Happy Chanukkah and Merry Christmas Eve everybody!

In 2007 Sega and Totally Games rebooted the old Alien Syndrome franchise (20 years after the original game appeared in arcade machines and on the Sega Master System). This piece was the main titles track for the new game, and it encapsulates the dark, synthesized character of the whole score.

"To the moon!"

This piece was written for the exterior sequences on the moon in Sam & Max season 1, episode 6: Bright Side of the Moon. I remember deliberately branching out into some different, darker jazz sub-genres for this cue, to give it an otherworldly vibe. This was something I would do much more of in season 2 and especially in season 3 of Telltale Games' Sam & Max series.

Listening to it again after all these years, I think parts of Bernard Hermann's score to Taxi Driver were vague influences on this piece. Even if they weren't conscious reference points at the time, I can certainly hear the influence now, so why don't we say it was intentional, shall we?

This wraps up Sam & Max Season One's selections on The Vault. Tune in next week for a non-Telltale selection from my back catalog!

Reality 2.0 was one of those rare games where I was able to reimagine everything I'd already written for the series in a new context. The score wasn't 100% chiptune reimaginings of the existing season music, though. "Useful to Boot" was an all new song, specially crafted for the C.O.P.S. (all of whom I voiced, by the way).

We are useful! We are fruitful! Everything that boots is beautiful!

The War Song is arguably the musical centerpiece of the first season of Telltale's Sam & Max games—a big song & dance number in Abe Lincoln Must Die!

The lyrics are by Chuck Jordan (unless I'm remembering incorrectly).

It's the cat's meow!

"N O M A F I A, Oh Baaaaby..."

There are four songs in Sam & Max Save the World, and this is number two. It appeared in The Mole, The Mob, and The Meatball (episode 3), and the lyrics were penned by David Grossman (unless I'm remembering it wrong...it's been awhile).

There should be more songs with vocals in games!

This piece was the big new theme for the second episode of Sam & Max Save The World (Situation: Comedy). It blankets the whole TV Studio environment, and really gave the instrumental soloists a chance to show off their improvisational chops. Shoutouts to Jordan Wardlaw on the saxophones, Jesse Wickman on drums, and the late, great Michael Whitwell on trumpets!

Okay! Here is the first is what will eventually be a whole mess of music from all of the various Sam and Max episodes I've scored over the years. This one is the song from the end of "Culture Shock," the first episode of season one (also known as Sam & Max Save the World), by Telltale Games. "More Than Jerks" is the theme song to the in-universe 70s TV sitcom featuring the Soda Poppers. Funny stuff. I believe the lyrics were written by the one and only Dave Grossman.

This is a piece I did back in 2005 for Secret Level and Ubisoft's "America's Army: Rise of a Soldier." The score was a collaboration between myself and Dave Levison at Harmony Machine. He handled all of the guitar and rock instruments, and I did the orchestral elements—it was fun. This little piece was 100% me, though.

Here's the second installment of "The Vault." This is from the second Telltale Game I scored, Bone: The Great Cow Race. This is the track that plays as you wander around the Spring Fair.

This is the first entry in what will eventually be a large collection of pieces I've written for older games. This was the first cue I wrote for Telltale Games, back in 2005.