Bill Elm/ Friends of Dean Martinez

Bill Elm/ Friends of Dean Martinez

Fortunately, video game music, there is life beyond the chiptune and orchestral music so, to recreate the atmosphere of both sides of the border of the american west, filled with sand and blood, Rockstar hired Bill Elm, an experienced musician from Arizona with a large musical background in the back. Elm, along with his former band mate Woody Jackson, created an impressive soundtrack for Red Dead Redemption, combining elements of western classical music with harmonicas, whistles and horns, with current arrangements, such as the rock treatment on drums and bass.

For people who still don’t know you, could you talk a bit about your musical background and career?

“I started playing in Tucson Arizona with Naked Prey and Giant Sand. I was a guitar player at first, then picked up lap steel and moved on to steel guitar. I formed my own band – Friends of Dean Martinez-in 1994 with the rhythm section of Giant Sand who then went on to form Calexico after leaving friends of Dean Martinez.”

“Friends of Dean Martinez was an instrumental band initially based on some western-ish soundtrack 4 track recordings I had done accompanied by some Santo and Johnny covers.”

As a soundtrack composer, Bill possesses a unique ability to appreciate and respond to complex emotional or aesthetic influences and translate them into a musical dialogue. Whether it’s a 100 million dollar project like Red Dead Redemption or a low budget independent documentary like Plagues and Pleasures On the Salton Sea his attention to detail remains constant and is reflected in the integrity of his work, consistently delivering the appropriate score on time and within budget.


  • Machinima Inside Gaming Awards: Best Original Score
  • Spike TV’s Video Game Awards: Best Original Score
  • Game Developer’s Choice Award: Best Audio
  • Gamespot: Best Original Music
  • GANG (Game Audio NetwNetworkok Guild): Rookie of the Year
  • GANG (Game Audio Network Guild): Best Interactive Score
  • GANG (Game Audio Network Guild): Music of the Year
  • GANG (Game Audio Network Guild): Audio of the Year


  • In-Justice, Directed by Sam French, BBC, 2011
  • The Man From Blackwater, Fox Television, Directed by John Hillcoat, 2010
  • Behind the Mask: Lucha Libre, HD Television, Directed by Jeff Springer and Chris Metzler, 2009
  • La Caminata, Documentary Short, Directed by Jamie Meltzer, 2008
  • Fast Food Nation, Fox Searchlight, Directed by Richard Linklater, 2006
  • Plagues and Pleasures On the Salton Sea, Directed by Jeff Springer and Chris Metzler, 2005


  • The Shadow of Your Smile, Sub Pop Records, 1995
  • Retrograde, Sub Pop Records, 1997
  • Atardecer, Knittingfactory Records, 1999
  • A Place In the Sun, Knittingfactory Records, 2000
  • Wichita Lineman, Glitterhouse Records, 2001
  • Live At Club 2, Glitterhouse Records, 2001
  • Under the Waves, Glitterhouse Records, 2002
  • On the Shore, Narnak Records, 2003
  • Random Harvest, Glitterhouse Records, 2004
  • Lost Horizon, Glitterhouse Records, 2005
  • Fast Food Nation Soundtrack, Park the Van, 2006
  • Red Dead Redemption Soundtrack, Wax Poetics, 2010
  • Undead Nightmare Soundtrack, Wax Poetics, 2010