Local underground rockers also play the commercial-music game | Music | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Local underground rockers also play the commercial-music game 

Plenty of people -- and especially musicians -- have a side job to pick up a little extra cash. Take, for example, Corey Layman and David Bernabo: Office workers by day, lauded local rockers by night, and video-game composers in between.

In 2008, Bernabo (of Assembly and Vale and Year) and Layman (of the Karl Hendricks Trio and his own project, Developer) formed Woolslayer and Main Production Studios, named for the streets in Lawrenceville where each lived at the time. While plenty of indie bands have their existing songs licensed by video-game studios and television producers, Layman and Bernabo are musicians with their own bands who also work together to compose specifically for commercial venues.

Woolslayer and Main is open to most any type of contract: Last year, the duo recorded a "Ghostbusters" spoof for an "active lifestyle" television PSA that ran in Delaware (search YouTube for "couchbusters"). Layman points out that while they endorse an active lifestyle, he and Bernabo aren't necessarily anti-couch -- a politically safe choice, since the duo's main output involves music for video games.

Their first game was Saku Saku Animal Panic; the job came through a college friend of Layman's who was working on the WiiWare game for Epicenter Studios. The next big thing for Woolslayer and Main is Epicenter's Rock of the Dead, a game for Wii in which the player utilizes Guitar Hero controllers to kill zombies. (It's not unlike the keyboard-based game The Typing of the Dead.) The game, with its novel hardware use and celebrity voice-acting (Neil Patrick Harris and Felicia Day star), is poised to make a splash on its release in late summer.

Composing metal riffs based on classical tunes and commercial spoofs of the Ghostbusters theme is a way for Layman and Bernabo to put their musical talent to work, though it's not what either would consider a full-time gig: "I don't think I could ever be sated creatively doing just this," notes Layman.

But the work does help their main musical interests. "It certainly pays better than playing any venue [in Pittsburgh]. The money I've made from [these projects] has helped fund all of the Abstract on Black releases," Bernabo notes, referring to the experimental-music label he runs with Raymond Morin.

The pair has occasionally taken on help from friends, such as local guitarist Paul Novachinski and drummer Will Dyar. "I think what makes us unique, though, is the range we have between us," Layman points out. "Between Dave and myself, we can cover almost every instrument we need."

For more info, visit www.myspace.com/woolslayerandmain


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