The person behind Tanooki is the Dutch musician George-Paul Henneberke who developed a love for music at the early age of 8 (1993) thanks to his Nintendo 8bit. The first time he played Super Mario Bros 3 he sang the tunes he heard for days and as games followed the same thing kept happening. This led up to exploring more music genres and listening to tapes and cd’s from his parents as well as sisters. Nina Simone, James Bond (Soundtrack), The Beatles, Dire Straits, Sting, Eric Clapton, Kansas, Blues Traveller and of course…a lot more game soundtracks eventually drove him into wanting to play an instrument. When he turned 13 his grandparents got him an acoustic guitar (1998). His grandfather tried to teach him but their musical interests (at that age) where to far apart and after a good year he just started playing the guitar himself.

George-Paul’s parents noticed he started to show less and less interest in the acoustic guitar and saw he started to gain more and more interest in artists like: Brian Setzer, Joe Satriani, Nirvana, Metallica, Korn, Limp Bizkit and a lot of other electric guitar based acts. Even though not really their cup of tea, they bought him an electric guitar when he was around 15 (2000) and well, launched a whole new chapter in his live. He started playing everyday again, playing tunes from games, bands and writing his own songs. This resulted in having enough material to start a band, so he and some friends did and “ADHD” was born.

After a few years of fun, other bands and basically playing around George-Paul formed a more serious band called “Chiraw” in 2006. This was a pretty brutal band that combined metal with pop, electronics and slight polyrhythmic grooves. They wrote a demo and got selected to play in a Dutch competition called: The Aardschok Metal Bash (2007). They won and years of touring, gigs, writing and recording albums followed.

Since George-Paul’s interested in music kept growing he decided to start learning more about music and went to study MediaMusic at the Artez Conservatory in Enschede, The Netherlands (2009). This was a terrific place where he got to learn a lot about music theory, composition and Logic Pro, which really opened up a lot of doors for him. Now his love for game music finally could be answered and a lot of experimental as well as traditional compositions and songs followed. Because George-Paul has always been a self-taught musician all the theory lessons where kind of a lot to take in and even though his composition where doing pretty good he had to leave because of failing the theoretic exams.

“I would do it all over again. That place really helped me out understanding the basics of music theory and above all working with DAW’s like Pro-tools and Logic Pro. Also made some friends for live and well…I’m just really grateful for the year I’ve had there”

So a new path had to be taken and he applied for the Rock Academy in Tilburg, The Netherlands. After an audition and some tests he got in and started studying guitar at the RockAcademy with “engineering” and “composition” as his learning routes. The Rock Academy really helped developing his technical use of audio as well as ears, theory, compositions and guitar skills.

During his study he wrote more and more songs and eventually got picked up by some friends who asked if he would like to write some songs for a marketing campaign their company was doing. This was a golden opportunity and he created a one-man company called: Musicbox Productions. Here he wrote a lot of corporate music and audio for marketing campaigns, explanimations, voice-overs, short movies, business presentations, commercials, jingles and a lot more.

But even though really fun and a very valuable learning experience, this just wasn’t his ambition and he decided to stop doing corporate audio and focus on his true passion: audio for games

He researched this field for the Rock Academy and did a minor “Game Design and Production” over at Saxion, Enschede, The Netherlands (2015). Here he learned the essence of coding your own music and asking the right questions concerning building your music/audio for games. He hooked up with some students and worked on his first game called “Fade”. For this project he recorded foley, environmental sounds, made ambient tracks and composed several songs, which he then all mixed, mastered and coded (F-mod).

This minor was a part of his graduation and along with a lot of other compositions he graduated with flying colours from the Rock Academy in 2016.

“The RockAcademy and especially the teachers I’ve had really taught me a lot about composition, use of instruments and feel. Combining that with the minor I did over at Saxion became quite the unique combination that was as well frustrating as mind blowing but above all, awesome! Again, very gratefull for that”

To learn more about creating audio for games he immediately got in touch with the SAE, Rotterdam, The Netherlands and signed up for the course: Audio for games (2015).

“I love making audio for games…it’s unique, creative and always inspiring me to do new stuff and keen on learning! Also working with all these people that want to create something beautiful and awesome for others to enjoy is really amazing and a provider of unlimited energy. I don’t know…it’s just the best“

Some musical inspirators

Peter Mc Connell, Koji Kondo, Nobuo Uematsu, Ko Otani, Brian Setzer, Nina Simone, Kukeiha Club, Joe Satriani, Harry Gregson-Williams, Kelly Bailey, Hans Zimmer, Junkie XL, Bjork, BT, G.F. Haendel, Michael Kamen, Takashi Tateishi, Savant, Wes Borland, AC/DC and a whole lot more.

Personal Gems

Grim Fandango, Psychonauts, Half Life, Goldeneye, Shadow of the colossus, Ico, The Legend of Zelda Occarina of Time & Majora’s mask, Megaman 2, Sonic 2, Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario 64, Conker’s bad fur day, The Last of Us, Monkey Island, Simon the Sorcerer….and again a whole lote more.

Teachers that had a lot of influence
Ronald Seerden, Roel Verberk, Peter Bouwens, Richard Zoer

DAW: Logic Pro X, Pro Tools
Middleware: F-mod

Main gear at home studio
Interface: Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt
Monitors: Barefoot Micromain 45 (pair), Avantone Mixcubes (pair)
Main mics: Flea 47, Blue Kiwi, Neumann U87, Blue Hummingbirds (pair), Sennheiser MKH 416, AKG C414, Shure SM7B, Shure SM57, Shure SM58
External gear: UAD Satellite with various plugins, Axe Fx 2
Main guitars: Smitty Type 3, Haar Telecaster, Haar Stratocaster, Daemoness Cimmerian, Eastman Acoustic, Takamine Acoustic, G&L L2000 bass.
Main plugins: FabFilter, Sculpture, Omnisphere, East West, Scinematic Strings and from UAD: Pultec, Shadow Hills, API.